Football: Brazilian fans fail to show Corinthian spirit as bus wars break out

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Brazil

This sort of thing just does not seem to happen in England... late on Tuesday night, on the outskirts of Sao Paulo, a coachload of Corinthians fans blocked a motorway, then ambushed and stoned the bus of their own team as it was returning from a game.

The Corinthians midfielder Neto said that, after forcing the team bus to stop, the fans attacked it with sticks and stones, following the team's 1-0 defeat away to Santos.

"For the first time in my life, I was scared," Neto said. "There were enormous sticks and enormous stones everywhere. I was afraid of dying."

Corinthians fans have become increasingly restless with their team's campaign in the ian League. Despite a host of expensive new signings, Corinthians, one of the biggest clubs in , are 21st in the 26-team league and only goal difference separates them from the relegation zone.

The fans used the coach in which they were travelling to block the road. The Corinthians' coach driver refused to open the door and the fans dispersed when police arrived. The team bus was given a police escort onwards.

germany

A funeral company has begun offering coffins in the colours of Germany's Bundesliga clubs - if fans want to stay true to their favourite team even after the "final whistle," as the company puts it.

The Ahorn company, which has 80 outlets nationwide, said it came to the idea when a fan of Bayern Munich demanded that his coffin be painted in team colours.

HUNGARY

Thousands of fans are set to miss the first leg of the World Cup play- off between Hungary and Yugoslavia because of an unfortunate venue switch.

The vital qualifying match on 29 October will now be played at Ferencvaros' Ulloi Ut stadium (capacity 17,700), as the much larger Nep stadium (capacity 76,000) is being renovated for next year's European Athletics Championships.

The Yugoslav football federation has received over 10,000 inquiries for tickets, but its Hungarian counterpart said that only 1,350 tickets would be made available to visiting supporters.

RUSSIA

The Russians are also having problems with the venue for their World Cup play-off first leg against Italy on 29 October.

Last weekend, when Russia beat Bulgaria 4-2 in a World Cup qualifier, the pitch at Moscow's Luzhniki stadium cut up disastrously in its first big match after a pounds 1.25m stadium renovation. "During this major reconstruction we somehow forgot about the turf quality at Luzhniki," Moscow city council's chief engineer, Vladimir Sorokin, said.

The Russians will now stage their encounter with Italy at the 51,000 capacity Dynamo stadium - where the pitch is also far from perfect but, as a Russian Football Union vice-president, Alexander Tukmanov, said: "It is still better than Luzhniki's turf."

ARGENTINA

Argentinian footballers have threatened to strike over doping rules which last week condemned the Independiente striker Albeiro Usuriaga to a two- year ban after testing positive for cocaine.

One of the players who claimed the rules were too harsh and needed to be rethought was, you may not be surprised to learn, Diego Maradona. "The law should offer the player a cure for his problems, not a revolver to kill himself," Argentina's former World Cup captain, who failed a drugs test in August for the third time in his career, said.

The law, passed in May, condemns any footballer who fails a doping test in Argentina to a two-year ban, then a life ban if he fails again. "It makes me angry that they blame football for all this country's problems," Maradona said. "They invent these rules... and never call us [the players] and ask us what we think."

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