By AVI CREDITOR
Japan will be severely short-handed in Saturday's Asian Cup final against Australia after offensive catalyst Shinji Kagawa was ruled out of the match with a broken foot.
Kagawa, a star for Bundesliga leader Borussia Dortmund, was injured in the Samurai Blue's dramatic Asian Cup victory over South Korea. It is unclear how much time he will have to miss for Dortmund, which holds an 11-point lead over second-place Bayer Leverkusen through 19 matches.
Kagawa has scored two goals in the tournament so far for Japan, both of which came in the quarterfinal victory over host Qatar.
Here are a few more stories from around the soccer world:
AJAX SETS DEADLINE FOR LIVERPOOL
Liverpool has been informed by Ajax Amsterdam that it has until Saturday to meet the club's financial demands for the services of Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez.
Liverpool previously had a £12.8 million bid rejected, as Ajax is holding firm at its £21 million price tag. Suarez, who earned notoriety at the World Cup for his goal-scoring exploits and intentional handball in the quarterfinals against Ghana, has been linked to a move to Liverpool for the duration of the transfer window.
MESSI FINED, BOOKED FOR CELEBRATION
Barcelona star Lionel Messi was punished by the Spanish Football Federation for his actions after scoring a goal in a victory over Racing Santander over the weekend.
Messi dedicated the goal to his mother, who was celebrating her birthday the day of the match. After scoring, he lifted up his jersey and showed an undershirt with the words "Happy Birthday mami!" written on it. Although he wasn't booked during the match, he will receive a yellow card anyway in addition to a fine of up to €3,000.
RAFAEL OUT FOR FA CUP MATCH
Manchester United fullback Rafael will miss the Red Devil's FA Cup fourth-round match with Southampton this weekend after suffering a concussion in Tuesday's victory over Blackpool.
Rafael picked up the injury on a collision with Marlon Harewood and had to be stretchered off the field before going to the hospital for X-rays.
TRANSFER QUICK KICKS
Fulham has secured Chelsea and French U-20 winger Gael Kakuta on loan for the rest of the season.
West Ham shipped out Switzerland midfielder Valon Behrami to Fiorentina and signed Middleborough midfielder Gary O'Neil.
Emmanuel Adebayor passed his physical, paving the way for the completion of his loan from Manchester City to Real Madrid.
Who do you see winning the Asian Cup? Do you think Suarez will eventually end up at Liverpool? Agree with the punishment for Messi? Do you see Southampton springing the upset over Manchester United? What do you make of the transfer news?
Share your thoughts below.