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Soccer-France's Mandanda to miss World Cup

Reuters

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PARIS, May 18 (Reuters) - Second-choice goalkeeper Steve Mandanda was ruled out of the World Cup on Sunday after cracking a vertebra in his neck playing for Olympique Marseille on Saturday.

Mandanda was hit in the face by Mustapha Yatabare's knee during OM's 1-0 win against En Avant Guingamp in their final Ligue 1 fixture.

OM doctor Christophe Baudot told the club's website (www.om.net): "Steve Mandanda is suffering from a crack in his first cervical vertebra and from a cervical sprain.

"It will require wearing a neck brace for three weeks and the same amount of time in physiotherapy."

Mandanda confirmed his withdrawal on his Twitter feed. "It is with great sadness that I announce that I will not be able to take part in the World Cup," he said.

Mandanda, who has 16 caps, is number two behind captain Hugo Lloris.

He is likely to be replaced by St Etienne's Stephane Ruffier, named by coach Didier Deschamps in a seven-man stand-by list.

The World Cup finals begin on June 12. France are in Group E with Ecuador, Switzerland and Honduras, who they face in their opener on June 15. (Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Clare Lovell and Tim Collings)

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