Football: Bergkamp's first start

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The Independent Online
ARSENAL STRIKER Dennis Bergkamp yesterday confirmed that he will make his first start of France 98 in the Netherlands' Group E game against South Korea on Saturday.

The English Footballer of the Year began the Netherlands' opening match against Belgium on the bench last Saturday, but came on during the second half of the goalless draw for the Leeds striker Jimmy Hasselbaink.

With Patrick Kluivert suspended for two matches after being sent off at St Denis, Bergkamp's return to full fitness is particularly timely.

He said: "I feel really good. I'm going to start the match, although I don't know yet whether I'll be able to finish it."

German midfield players Thomas Hassler and Jens Jeremies returned to training yesterday, giving the European champions a boost before Sunday's tough Group F game with Yugoslavia.

Jeremies was unable to train on Wednesday because of an ankle strain. But he returned to some light jogging in the morning session.

Hassler, who has also injured an ankle, trained with the rest of the squad at their camp on the Cote d'Azur. Defender Jurgen Kohler, who has been suffering with a bruised calf, also took a full part in training which included a short game.

The Germans want to finish top of the group and avoid a possible showdown with the Netherlands in the second round.

A "secret number'' to order World Cup tickets, given by a French newspaper yesterday, is wrong, the French organising committee (CFO) said.

"We have checked with [French telephone operator] France Telecom and the number is wrong," said CFO spokesman Bruno Travade.

A student named only as Frederic told Le Parisien daily newspaper that a friend working for France Telecom had given him a secret direct number for tickets.

Yesterday, a taped voiced answered the number given by the newspaper, saying: "Welcome to our services. For any inquiries or reservations, please call back later."

Two executives working for the French affiliate of Fifa's marketing partner were placed under formal legal examination on Wednesday by a court investigating allegations of a World Cup ticket fraud.