Football around the world: Venables' rampant Socceroos stay unbeaten with Tunis triumph

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The Independent Online
Australia

Terry Venables' n side completed their warm-up for next month's World Cup qualifying play-offs by strolling to a straightforward 3-0 win over Tunisia in a friendly in Tunis on Wednesday.

It was the Socceroos' 12th match without defeat since the former England manager took over as coach of the national team. He gave a full debut to the Leeds United midfielder Harry Kewell, who set up the third goal for Matthew Bingley. The other goals came from Tenerife's Aurelio Vidmar and Mark Viduka of Croatia Zagreb, who is back in favour after declining to play in the Oceania Zone qualifying games.

Tunisia are one of five African nations who have already qualified for the finals, but they were well beaten by an n selection missing several regular players, including Aston Villa's Mark Bosnich and West Ham's Stan Lazaridis.

Venables' men face a two-leg play-off against still undecided Asian opponents for a place in France. Kevin Muscat, John Aloisi and Robbie Slater were other English-based players in his line-up.

Colombia

The Colombians, who have already qualified for the World Cup finals, may have a familiar face in their team in France next summer. They have recalled the eccentric goalkeeper Rene Higuita after an 18-month absence for Wednesday's friendly in Norway.

Higuita has been absent from the team since pulling out of the squad shortly before the start of the qualifying campaign early last year, claiming he was not fit enough for international football. Since then he has been sacked by the Medellin club, Atletico Nacional, for repeatedly missing training, while last year his house in Medellin was bombed by unidentified attackers; he was not at home at the time.

A move to the Mexican club, Veracruz, appears to have restored Higuita's form, despite his club's poor results. Farid Mondragon, his replacement in the Colombian side, has suffered a miserable run of form this year, hence the recall for Higuita.

United States

This is a busy weekend for the former Everton and Portsmouth player, Predrag Radosavljevic. The Yugoslav born midfielder is now a naturalised citizen of the United States, and was due to play for his adopted country in last night's World Cup qualifier against Jamaica at the RFK stadium in Washington DC.

Tonight his destination is the Arrowhead stadium in Kansas City, where he will play for the Wizards against Colorado Rapids in the first round of the Major League Soccer play-offs. "It's tough. I'm going to have to find the energy for both games," the 34-year-old said on Thursday.

France

Fabrizio Ravanelli will make his Marseilles debut at home to Toulouse tonight, but the Italian is unlikely to play the full 90 minutes. "We're not going to ask too much of him, because he's not at his peak physically," the coach, Rolland Courbis, said of his pounds 5.35m signing from Middlesbrough.

"A lot is expected of me - notably that I should immediately score a first goal," Ravanelli said.

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