Football: Crewe goalkeeper's dream of France becomes a nightmare

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FOR poor Ademola Bankole, the World Cup dream lasted just two days. Crewe Alexandra's goalkeeper was dropped from 's World Cup squad on Thursday - just two days after he had been picked in the provisional party for the finals in France.

On Tuesday 's coach Bora Milutinovic included Bankole in a list of 29 players, which will be reduced to 22 by the 2 June deadline for finalising squads. The Crewe player was one of four goalkeepers in a party which was without two experienced custodians: Ike Shorunmu, who broke an arm last week, and Peter Rufai, who was overlooked.

That same Tuesday night the ns lost 4-0 to Grasshopper Zurich in a warm-up match in Switzerland - and Bankole, who let in all four goals, including two scored by Manchester City's on-loan Georgian striker Mikhail Kavalashvili, carried the can.

"Bankole was sacked by Milutinovic from the squad for conceding cheap goals," Austin Mgbolu, of the n Football Association, said on Thursday. The coach has been under fire in for overlooking stalwarts like Rufai - who may now be recalled - and Samson Siasia.

Colombia

THE former Newcastle United striker Faustino Asprilla has threatened to pull out of Colombia's World Cup squad because of death threats made towards a team-mate.

Victor Hugo Aristizabal has insisted that he will not quit the squad despite having his life threatened by an anonymous telephone caller last weekend. The coach, Hernan Dario Gomez, also received a warning.

"I'm not going to back down. I love playing for the national team," Aristizabal said. He has not been a regular for his Brazilian club, Sao Paulo, and his selection for the squad ahead of other contenders from Colombian sides caused some surprise.

His fellow forward, Asprilla, who now plays in Italy for Parma, said: "If the threats to Aristizabal turn out to be true and he doesn't go to the World Cup, then I'm not going either."

Romania

THE Romania coach, Anghel Iordanescu, who is quitting his job after the World Cup to take over the Greek national team, is still squabbling with his football federation.

Iordanescu is currently closeted with his players in a training camp at Poiana Brasov in northern Romania. The venue was not the first choice of the coach, who had wanted to take his charges to a site in Switzerland, far from the prying eyes of the Romanian press. His request was refused by the federation, which said it did not have the money.

Romania are to play two friendlies in Bucharest against Paraguay on 3 June and Moldova on 6 June. Iordanescu has complained that these opponents are too weak to offer his team suitable preparation.

Brazil

MILLIONS of Brazilians watched their World Cup squad leave for France on Thursday, as television stations interrupted regular programmes for live pictures of the team's plane taking off from Rio airport.

There were no repeats of the previous World Cup's controversy, when the names of players were printed on each seat, upsetting Romario when he was placed between two other players. He insisted he preferred to travel by the window, sparking a controversy which required intervention from Ricardo Teixeira, the president of the Brazilian football confederation. This time the seat with "Romario" stamped on it was next to the window.

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