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Spain's World Cup hopes get a bad break

April 1, 2010 | 12:11 pm

Cesc Fàbregas Spain may be without midfielder Cesc Fàbregas when it opens World Cup play in June in South Africa.

Fàbregas cracked his lower right fibula, or calf bone, Wednesday. He was playing for England's Arsenal in a 2-2 tie with Barcelona in a European Champions League quarterfinal.  He's expected to be sidelined for at least six weeks. Fàbregas, Arsenal's captain, had 19 goals in 36 games this season but is likely out for the rest of the year even if the Gunners reach the Champions League final, scheduled for May 22.

Despite his performance for Arsenal, Fàbregas has been an infrequent starter for Spain, which must submit its final World Cup roster June 1. Considered among the World Cup favorites, Spain opens the tournament June 16 against Switzerland.

-- Kevin Baxter

Photo: Arsenal's Cesc Fàbregas reacts to a leg injury as his teammate Theo Walcott tries to help him during the Champions League quarterfinal Arsenal and Barcelona at the Emirates Stadium in London on March 31, 2010. Credit: Tom Hevezi / Associated Press