Football: Diary

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The Independent Online
DESPITE SCOTLAND'S failure to bring home the bacon, their World Cup lives on with three Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs at Glasgow Zoo. The ugliest of a litter of seven born on the opening day of the finals has been christened "Egil" after the Norway coach, Egil Olsen, who allegedly suggested Scotland might prove the group's weakest side. Another runt is known as Martin, following Martin O'Neill's remark that they were "the worst team in the tournament". And a third is called "Jimmy", proving that Jimmy Hill's dismissal of David Narey's stunning goal against Brazil in 1982 as a "toe-poke" is still regarded by Scots as an unforgivable porky-pie.

THE NEXT challenge for the World Cup winners' will come from a team of robots - not this time round but a strong possibility for future champions. When France 98 closes, Robocup 98 - a five-a-side competition involving robotic teams competing on a table tennis table - will be up and running with a team from Cambridge University taking part. Using techniques Glenn Hoddle might envy, the robots are able to track and follow the action, pass and shoot - all with the aid of a video camera suspended above the table. Teams from 15 countries are taking part and Dr Antony Rowstron, the Cambridge spokesman, said: "To give the robots the same basic abilities as humans is a major challenge. However, we have an advantage over Glenn Hoddle by ensuring our players are always match-fit - we switch the robots off at night." If only that England had had that facility with Teddy Sheringham...

Compiled by Trevor Haylett and Phil Shaw

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