The Guardian from London, Greater London, England on June 21, 1994 · 18
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The Guardian from London, Greater London, England · 18

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Tuesday, June 21, 1994
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18
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18 SPORTS NEWS THE GUARDIAN Tuesday June 21 1994 J Group B: Brazil 2, Russia 0 OS Brazil ease quickly omtto ttheSr stride American cpsiffiti Paul Wilson In Palo Alto DT IS Brazil's destiny never to be able to fulfil everyone's expectations, and the sea of green and yellow that was Stanford stadium yesterday filed out quietly content rather than deliriously happy. Russia were not the most testing opponents, and it took a second-half penalty to give the scoreline a convincing gloss, but there was enough from Ro-mario, Bebeto and company to suggest better to come. Brazil had made impressive openings and indifferent ones in recent competitions and still made quiet exits later. Their real test comes in the secondary stage. Perhaps it was the mellow sound of Carlos Santana beforehand, perhaps the complacent assumption that a depleted Russia would cause them few problems, but the first quarter was almost too laid back. Brazil lost possession an embarrassing number of times, often through the misplaced notion that turning backwards to shield the ball from an opponent would prevent a tackle under the new rules, and Russia found themselves coming forward on several occasions with yellow shirts scurrying to get back into defensive positions. A better equipped side than Russia might have capitalised on this profligacy, but a well-hit shot from Tsymbalar that flew straight at Tatfarel was as close as the underdogs got. By that stage, Romario and Bebeto had already missed a couple of perfectly acceptable chances, the former failing to get in a shot on time and the latter attempt Bugs, tugs and water torture Cynthia Bateman In Orlando THERE is a true story going the rounds at the Republic's training camp, about the Irish columnist who owed the Inland Revenue . 183,000.35p. "I'll give you the 35p to be going on with," he offered. Fifa are proving as miserly with their concessions in the row. over water during matches, the lack of which is a life-threatening hazard causing Jack Charlton serious concern over his players' welfare. The Irish made an official complaint , to Fifa yesterday about the post-match treatment of the striker Tommy Coyne, who was picked for the random drug test after the game against Italy, but was left sitting in a room for three hours until he could produce a sample. "He was left for an hour in the same kit he had played in unable to have a shower," said Charlton. "He was dehydrated and totally exhausted and -unable to give a ;oiol,MiJtirlhriro;i CffiH 11 an n 'II. ing to score the volley of the century when a more prosaic chest-down and tap-in would probably have produced a goal. Tsymbalar's shot appeared to shake Brazil from their trance, and a powerful, surging run from defence by Maura Sttva signalled a new urgency, immaculate chest control from Leonardo presented the fullback with a half-chance on the left which he fired wide, but after the same player had the Russian defence stretching to cut out a cross after 27 minutes Brazil scored from the corner. The Russian marking was suspect as Romario stuck out a foot to steer Bebeto's inswinger across the line at the far post for an apparently simple goal, though there was something in the lightness with which Romario skipped clear from his marker to suggest it was not quite as simple as it looked. Bebeto flashed a free-kick over Kharin's bar five minutes later as Brazil kept the action at Russia's end. The only serious threat to Taffarel for the remainder of the first half was an extraordinary back pass by Marcio Santas from halfway, which the stranded goalkeeper was relieved to see fly beyond the unguarded goal. As the defender was under no pressure at all to pass backwards, least of all to his goalkeeper, he could consider himself lucky not to concede one of the most spectacular World Cup own goals of all time. Taffarel watched a long and hopeful shot from Gorlukovich go by his post at the start of the second half, but before Russia could mount a proper attempt to get back into the game they went nirtner behind to a penalty. sample for three hours. "Tommy had to be wheeled on and off the plane in a chair, he was in such a state afterwards. We had five players who never got a drink during the first 45 minutes. We were told by Fifa we could send someone to the touchline opposite the bench, and then the stadium security guards wouldn't let them near the pitch. ' "This can't happen. I am not prepared to put players at risk. Flayers daren't take the risk of' comlngtothe- tonchline because they risk losing their shape. "We're not asking for any favours. We just need play stopped for 10 or IS seconds two or three times in each half to give the players water. That's not unreasonable," said Charlton. Fifa rejected Charlton's complaints however and suggested that the Irish manager concentrate on coaching. "The Irish seem to overdo this," said the Fifa general secretary Sepp Blatter. "They were complaining about drinks before the tour 1 I I It was not an undeserved, goal. Romario had put himself Into a scoring position with a-clever turn past a defender and a deft flick beyond Ternavsky.. yet the' latter's clumsy challenge was one the Brazilian could surely have rode had he wished. He did not so wish, and the referee obligingly pointed to the spot, from where Rai scored; sending Kharin the wrong way. With a two-goal cushion the. Brazilians at last began to play with the forceful fluency the crowd had clearly come to see, only for the Russians to put a cold European damper on such hot-blooded passions by resorting to physicality. Nikiforov and Khlestov were booked within the space of four minutes for ruthlessly scything down opponents, and Kuznet-sov. joined them 10 minutes from the end. Brazil almost had a third goal when Bebeto, brilliantly found by Romario, forced a scrambling save from Kharin, but Russia survived. After this result and having lost six key players in a pre-toumament rebellion against the manager Pavel Sadyrin, Russia face a tough task to qualify for the next stage from a group that also includes Sweden and Cameroon. DAAZILi Taffarel (Hegglana): Jorglnho (Bayern Munich). Leonardo (Sao Paolo), Morcio Santa (Bordeaux), Rfoafdo Aocha (Vasco. da Gama; JUdalr, Roma, 73mln), Ounw (Stuttgart; Naxtntto, palmeiras. 86). Maura Sttv (Doporttvo La Coruna), ftal (Paris St Germain). Zfoho (Palmalraa), Se-bete (Oeportlvo La Coruna), Romario (Barcelona). HUSSlAi Kharlna (Chelsea): Khloatov (Spartak Moscow). Qoriukoirlen (Bayer Uer-dlngen), NIMtorae, Tomanky, KNsta (all Spartak Moscow), KatpJn (Real Socle-dad). Pyatntteky, Taimbalar (bath Spartak Moscow). Redehenfco (Racing Sanlendor; Sorodluk, Freiburg. 78). Vuran (Benllca: Solenko. Valencia, 56). Rofereer Urn Koo Cheng (MaurJfiua). nament had even started. Charlton should perhaps attach more importance to his second game than to details which have been taken care of." Most of the glorious 12, apart from Bonner and McA-teer who wanted to train, were taking it easy yesterday after Saturday's victory. Tony Cascarino is the only member of the squad not completely fit, although several players are covered in rashes having discovered that insect repellent is more of a pest than the pests themselves. Andy Townsend is worst hit with an allergic reaction, but is fit to play. Serious training begins again tomorrow in the hopes the players have had enough time to replenish energy-sapped bodies. Charlton sees Mexico, beaten 1-0 by Norway, as a side whose "work rate is very high and who have been unlucky round the 18-yard box. They know they have to win to stay in the competition. But we know if we win, we will go through to the next stage." tfcJafeBfflfiJfflgidliffifo 1 ill" 1 ' J tJ 1 mm afTv . Seven heaven . . . Russia's Andrei Pyatnlsky jockeys Brazil's Bebeto last night. The Brazilians, favourites to win the World Cup, performed well within themselves to overcome a weakened Russian side at Stanford photograph: thomas kienzle Group F: Holland 2, Dutch David Lacay In Washington 00! OLLAND's World Cup ambitions began to look like so much water in the desert last night as Saudi Arabia, playing uninhibited and imaginative football in the RFK Stadium here, took a first-half lead and continued to expose a pgi destriatfdefence. A long shot from Jonk brought the scores level early in the second half but still Holland struggled to find a proper rhythm. Nevertheless they won the game three minutes from the end when a substitute, Gaston Taument, headed into an empty net after Al Deayea, the Saudi goalkeeper, had failed to intercept a centre from Prank de Boer. Ekoku back to his David Conn on the Norwich City and Nigeria striker for whom school soccer was taboo T MIGHT seem like a Jack Charltonesque trick of parentage that the Manchester-born, Liverpool-bred, Norwich City centre-forward Efan Ekoku is a member of the Nigeria squad. But Ekoku's African roots run deep: his father, a Nigerian tribal chief, came to London in the late Fifties, intending to stay only a few years. "Every time he planned to go there was some political upheaval which stopped him," says Ekoku, the third of four brothers. "Eventually, in 1982, he decided the time was right, so he sold up and went." Efan spent four years in Benin, 200 miles east of Lagos, during which time he rarely kicked a football. "Some people are questioning why I should play for Nigeria," says Ekoku, a self-assured 26-year-old. "But if the football had been well organised when I was there I would never have come back to England." After Liverpool College, a rugby-playing boarding school, Ekoku rejoined the family in 1983, aged 16. "Soccer was practically taboo at school," recalls Ekoku, a winger in the Lancashire under-16 rugby squad. Maradona returns to limelight with record in sight DIEGO MARADONA completes his international rehabilitation tonight when he leads Argentina out for their opening Group D match against Greece in Boston. The man who utterly dominated the tournament in 1986, and despite being well below his peak dragged his side to the final in 1990, has struggled on a slippery slope since then. He was banned for cocaine abuse, lost his fitness, and attracted regular controversy, recently attacking journalists with an air-gun. If he appears in three games, he will break the record for World Cup appearances. Saudi Arabia 1 survive Saudi The Saudis' reward simply for qualifying had been 100,000 each plus a Mercedes so at least they could tilt at windmills in some style. And in some hope, as the astute move which led to Majid Mohammed outjumping the Dutch defence as he headed Al Dosari's right-wing cross wide demonstrated after only 80 seconds. SwtfUyrecovering from their shaky start, Holland swept down on the Saudi defence with Overmars and Roy giving their movements speed and width and Bergkamp and Ronald de Boer working in tandem through the middle. The quick, accurate cross was always going to bother the Saudi defence and Rijkaard, presented with a free header by Jonk's free-kick, should have done better than nod the ball In Nigeria, where he gained a business studies diploma at Benin Polytechnic, he trained with one of the top teams, which was sponsored by the New Nigeria Bank. At 20, he returned to England alone. "I wanted to make it as a professional footballer," he says, though he had not played seriously for six years. He found a job in London at a double-glazing company and wrote to Wimbledon, who had just won the FA Cup, informing them he was available. "I thought a club like that might have had a look, at me. My brother thought I was mad, but I said what the hell, it's only a stamp." It cost Wimbledon the same to turn him down. Instead Ekoku answered an advert in a local paper and joined the London Borough of Merton in the Southern Amateur League. After only 12 games, he felt sure enough of his fitness to present himself to Sutton United, then in the Vauxhall Conference. Impressive in training and a couple of reserve games he signed for Sutton during their 1988-89 Cup run in which they beat Coventry. "I knew I was good enough," he "He's still the best player in the world," said the Argentina striker Claudio Caniggia, also back from a drugs ban. "We'll be waiting for the balls from Diego's magic left foot to score." The Argentina manager Alfto Basile, heavily criticised for defensive tactics, will play an . attacking line-up knowing a victory in the opening game against the group's weakest side is crucial. Despite a 1-0 defeat by Belgium, Morocco showed enough quality to suggest they could be a real force in the tournament. The Morocco coach Abdellah straight at Al Deayea. This was soon to prove an even worse miss than it appeared at the time, for Saudi Arabia continued to exploit the frailty on the Dutch left they had discovered in the opening half-minute, and eventually it brought them a goal. .., In the 18th minute Jonk brought down Al Bishi, whose free-kick found Amin darting in from behind the defenders to head past De Goey's stretching left hand. This was not in the script; it might have been in the Koran. With Koeman frequently pushing forward and unable to get back on Saudi breakaways. Van Gobbel was apt to find himself having to cope with the speed and mobility of Mohammed and Owairan on his own. Just before half-time, after roots says. "It was just getting my fitness up," A season and a half, and 33 goals later, Ekoku turned professional, signing in 1990 for Bournemouth for 100,000. For three years there he was hampered by injuries, but he came back in January 1993 to score in the FA Cup. against Blackburn. "Then the speculation started. Norwich came in with a firm offer and I joined." Clemens Westerhof, Nigeria's Dutch coach, first noticed Ekoku after Norwich's new 760,000 signing scored four goals in a 5-1 win against Everton at Goodlson Park on September 25 last year. Westerhof tracked Ekoku's progress in Norwich's Uefa Cup run, and drafted him into the squad for the African Nations' Cup in April, which Nigeria won. Ekoku, injured in training, was restricted to the quarterfinal against Zaire. With African football on the rise, Nigeria are tipped to at least get through the Group D matches against Argentina, Greece and Bulgaria. But Ekoku is unlikely to make the starting line-up for the game against Bulgaria tonight. "It's better to have too much confidence than not enough. And you have to be realistic, take chances when they come along." Bllnda was justifiably disappointed with the result. "A draw would have been fairer," he said. "We made all the play in the second half." Of interest to the Republic was the sapping Orlando heat. The game was played at 4pm in the Citrus Bowl, where Ireland meet Mexico on Friday, in temperatures of 100F. The Republic's game kicks off at midday. "The .humidity is the real problem," said the Belgium manager Paul van Himst. "It's a killer." He agreed that Morocco have been underrated. "They were a much stronger team than we had expected." surge the pair had exchanged passes, Mohammed held off the Dutch defender in the penalty area and might have increased the Saudis' lead had De Goey not grabbed the ball before he could turn and shoot. Soon after this Mohammed gave way to Fala-tah.-who proved.an even more, lively presence in the Saudi attack. Holland often looked like scoring in the first half but shots were going awry when they were not bouncing off bodies. Within five minutes of the second, however, they were level. Roy laid the ball square and Jonk drove it past Al Deayea from 30 yards. HoKaMfa De Goey; Van Gobbel, Koaman, F Oo Boar. Rijkaard. Jonk. Woutora, Overman, Bergkamp, R De Boor, Roy. Cauda Arablai Al Deayea; Al Doaarl, Jawed, Modanl. Al Khlaw), Amin, Al Blab, Jebreen. Al Muwaiiio, Mohammed, owairan. M Diaz Vega (Spain). Results Group B Cameroon (t) 3 Sweden (1) a Embe 30, Blylck 47 L una a 63.959 oahlln 7' (Rote Bowl Stadium. Los Angeles) Oroup E Norwey (0) 1 Mexico (0) O Rekdel AS 52,359 (Robert F Kennedy Stadium. Waahlngton) TODAY'S rlKTURUi Oroup Ci Germany v Spain (9.0. Soldier Field Sladlum, Chicago). ItVi (6.30-11.15). Oroup Ot Argentina v Greece (5.30, Faxbaro Stadium, Boston); Nigeria v Bulgaria (00.30, Cotton Bowl, Dallas). HCIl 111.25-2.30). IWoild Cup live on luroeperl throughout each day). e HotlRnd will not call for a replacement tor John De Wolf, whoaa World Cup ended bo-tare It had begun. The dolonder damaged hla right calf muscle In training and fjew home on Sunday. "It fa a bad Injury and will take lour to six weeks to heat," the coach Pick Advocaat aald. "We are not taking another player because they are all on vacation now and It would be another three or four weeka belore he would get Into the right condition." P W D L F A He " -" 110 0 10 3 Rap of 110 0 10 3 Italy I 0 0 I 0 1 0 laeHcn 10 0 10 1 O Greece Age: 74 that's how lone the side has been around, although itne original urazy Gang) were top of the Mediterranean league 2,000 years ago. Past record: They don't have one. You don't mean? Yes. This is their first time in the Finals. So this Is their best-ever team? Probably not. Their qualifying was made easier bv Yugoslavia's witnorawai. still, tney topped the group, unbeaten, ahead of the fancied Russians. Sounds pretty good. Unfortunately, their warm-up games have not augured well: losses to Cameroon (3-0) and England (5-0). And they're in a tough group it will take a Herculean effort to see them through. The key players? Midfielders oavoa rwuuis ooj. Ancient Greeks, then? Their squad is one the oldest in World Cup, with an average age of 28 and a half. Their prospects? Expect a tragi You sound quite fond of them. It's strictly Platonic. Aren't you eoiniE to make a inkp nhnnr Socrates playing for Brazil, Martin Thorpe SO WHO is going to win the World Cup? Hang on, there is a message coming through. "Orange or red. I think that's the team that walks away with it." Dallas's Fran Baskerville is a professional ghost-buster, missing-person tracker, clairvoyant, levitation expert and winner of the "world's greatest psychic award" in 1991. "Something dramatic happens ... one is a real good team that is supposed to be there but the other one is not. I see somebody in long robes and a funny hat on his head. He seems to be fairly happy but there's mixed feelings around him." So that all points to the Irish then: orange on their shirts, obviously the final played in a downpour so Jack is in a sou' wester and mac. And mixed feelings because he immediately announces his retirement to enter the priesthood. HE ALREADY gets help from beyond the grave. Spotted in the back window of a hearse parked in Galway high street on Saturday, a sticker proclaiming: "USA 94. Here we go Big Jack." USA 94. Here we go Lo Chon-yin. The Macao coffee-shop owner has died of a heart attack apparently caused by fatigue after he stayed up for two straight nights to watch live World Cup matches on TV. HE SHOULD have read China's Communist Party paper People's Daily. It warns late-night soccer watchers: "You must show some control and not let it affect your work. You must especially guard against accidents happening because of lack of sleep." It also warns its readers: "Keep the TV down low. When you see a great goal, keep your emotions under control. Don't shout loudly or applaud." This consideration for others is catching, Dallas police have prepared booklets on the traits of supporters following the five teams playing first-round matches in the city so that the 800 officers on duty on match days will know how a typical fan is likely to behave. For -instance, among South Korean fans, "shoving is a com-. mon practice and not considered impolite", says Sergeant Jim Chandler. "Because they might shove you, it doesn't mean they're discourteous." Korean fans tend to be "very formal" and "respect authority" but may be surprised to see women police officers patrolling the Cotton Bowl. Spanish fans "will be loud" and tend to carry drums and tambourines to the matches. Bulgarian fans are "very reserved". Nigerian fans tend to be "very loud", paint their faces and wear very colourful clothing. They may be a little intimidated by US police officers because of violent television shows seen in their country. Argentine fans are also "very loud" and paint their faces but differ from Nigerians by being "big on throwing streamers and confetti in the stadiums". German fans also paint their faces but like to sing in unison, dance and sway. Watch for Germans moving in large groups to and from the stadium. All fans like to have pictures taken with police officers. In the event of an arrest, police must be careful of any flag a fan may be carrying. "It would be disrespectful to the country if the officer were to desecrate that flag," Chandler said. Officers are told to "take care, to fold it, or roll it up". national Sparta section Tassos Mitropoulos (36) and - comedy. not Greece? No i. . sr

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