Football: Diary

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The Independent Online
HUNDREDS OF youths went on the rampage at a detention centre in north-east Thailand on Tuesday after officials prevented them from watching a World Cup match on television. About 400 teenagers smashed furniture, television sets and windows at the Nakorn Ratchasima detention centre, about 150 miles from Bangkok, when guards ordered them to turn off their sets at the start of the Brazil against Morocco game. At least three people were injured in four hours of battles that followed as guards and 200 riot police tried to restore order. "The protest leader said the guards punched his face after he refused to switch off the television," a police major, Witaya Thongloh, said. The violence eventually ended after local reporters intervened to mediate between the two sides and report the youths' grievances.

FRANKIE HEJDUK decided drastic action was needed if the United States were to beat Germany on Monday, so he put his shorts on back to front. The ruse followed the custom of baseball players who often wear their caps backwards when trying to make a comeback. "It didn't work, though," the American wing-back, who came on as a substitute during the 2-0 defeat, said. "That'll be the last time I try that trick."

MOST HOTEL owners in France would love to play host to one of the 32 World Cup teams. But at the luxurious La Reserve resort in the south-western town of Albi, the hotel's director, Helene Hijosa-Rieux, fears the Romanian squad are costing her money. Security is so tight that diners are staying away in droves from the resort's restaurant, which has a single Michelin star. "Although the team has taken over all 25 rooms, the restaurant is still open. But no one is coming because they think it's closed," she complained. "There are guards at the entrance to stop people from coming in, so anyone who wants to eat has to reserve in advance so the security personnel know who they are. I have had to send some of the waiters on holiday because it's not worth having them hanging around here."

SUNDAY, WHICH is the date of the highly charged Group F tie between the United States and Iran, has been chosen as Fifa's second World Fair Play Day. "Believe me, it's just a coincidence," insisted the governing body's communications director, Keith Cooper.

PRINCE TAKAMADA, the son of the Japanese emperor, played in a training match at Japan's World Cup camp on Tuesday after he and Princess Hisako dropped in for a royal visit. Asked if he was looking to draft His Imperial Highness, the patron of the Japan Football Association, into the team for the crucial Group H match against Croatia in Nantes on Saturday, the coach, Takeshi Okada, diplomatically replied: "I'll think about it."

RUPERT METCALF

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