Football: Diary

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The Independent Online
ONE POSSIBLE way of avoiding the red card mania suddenly seizing World Cup referees might be to follow Cameroon's lead and commit to memory the first name of the match official before taking the field. "The referee will respect a player more who says `Sir' and adds his name," explained the Cameroon coach, Claude Le Roy. However the Le Roy ploy did not help Raymond Kalla when the Cameroon defender was dismissed for a foul on the Italian goalscorer, Luigi Di Biagio, in Montpellier on Wednesday.

JUST FONTAINE, the Frenchman who scored a record 13 goals in the 1958 World Cup, believes his record will stand for all time, claiming modern teams are too defensive and coaches too cautious. "Today's coaches are too important, more important than the players," said the 64-year-old. "Coaches only use one or two forwards and prefer to play defensive players because they are easier to organise. Playing that way, my record could last another 50 World Cups. Look at Gabriel Batistuta in Argentina's first game with Japan. He had only two chances and scored one. I always had many more chances when I was playing."

PETER SCHMEICHEL is determined to miss nothing on the field - and nothing off it. The Manchester United goalkeeper, who equalled Morten Olsen's record of 102 Danish caps against South Africa on Thursday in Toulouse, is filming every moment of his first World Cup finals in and around the training camp on a camcorder.

A MISCHIEVOUS rumour is drawing a chuckle from those of the Celtic persuasion in the Scotland camp. It claims that Lou Macari has turned down the opportunity to take over as the Australian national coach - because they would not let him do the job from Stoke-on-Trent.