World Cup 2002 becoming more controversial than Salt Lake city

Here is the latest news from the Russian football team: the players had a training match in Bor (the Moscow region), visited a church there, and were blessed for the participation in the forthcoming championship. The players are to have a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin today, who is coming to Bor to give the players his own blessing. The squad is leaving for Japan on May 25. The problem with the flight has been successfully settled. We would like to recall that Japan refused to accept the Il-62 airplane due to the fact that it was too noisy for local requirements. However, Japan is not North America, so it was possible to solve the problem.

The head coach of our adversaries in the group (the Belgian team) criticized his own countrymen, journalists, for their biased attitude toward the team. Robert Waseige thinks that reresentatives of the mass media do not at all wish to support their national team. The coach claimed that the Belgian press had always reported about the team negatively and pessimistically, trying to find faults with everything. “I have been noticing that the atmosphere around national teams of other countries is enthusiastic. They criticize the national team in Germany too, but on the whole, Germans are chauvinists. The situation in Belgium is completely different,” – said Robert Waseige.

The football controversy is gathering steam with every day. Captain Roy Keane, of Ireland, beat up his team's goalkeeper, as well as coach Pat Bonner for “lazing around” (Keane thought that goalkeeper Alan Kelly was training in a slipshod manner). The coach laid down the ultimatum to the captain afterwards: either apologize, or....

There has already been a dope scandal. The half-back of the Portuguese team, Daniel Kenedy, has been sent home for testing positive to a dietary supplement. The Portuguese hastily refused Kenedy’s services, afraid of possible consequences, and found him a substitute.

Sport-Express reported with reference to Reuters that the legend of the world football, Diego Maradona, might not arrive to the World Cup due to the visa troubles. This may seem a stupid reason, but pursuant to the laws of Japan, Maradona can be deprived of a visa because of the fact that he was arrested for drug use in 1991. Maradona’s agent, Guillermo Coppola, became furious: “What a shame! They grant visas to the people who dropped the A-bomb on Hiroshima, but they do not give the right to Diego to watch football!” Maradona was going to come to Japan not as a viewer but also as a commentator for Mexican television. So which side will the Japanese take: Diego’s or law’s?

Sergey Stefanov PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Dmitry Sudakov

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