Football: Small beer for Spain

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The Independent Online
JAVIER CLEMENTE, Spain's World Cup coach, said yesterday that smoking and drinking could co-exist with football. "Smoking, in moderation, yes. And drinking in moderation too," he said when asked whether professional athletes could still get away with it in the modern age.

Moderation and social responsibility were the key, he said, and added that the fact that England's Paul Gascoigne and Teddy Sheringham had been seen smoking need not necessarily mean that they were unable to play football at the highest level. "There's no problem, and besides Gascoigne and Sheringham are remarkable professionals on the field," he said.

Nwankwo Kanu of Nigeria sat out his side's first full squad practice in France yesterday with what was called a minor ankle injury. Kanu, 21, who led Nigeria to the gold medal at the Atlanta Olympics, was reported to have met one of the team doctors and had his ankle iced. The young player has been beset by a series of lingering leg injuries over the past six months, hampering his comeback from the heart valve surgery he underwent in 1996.

The Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, said yesterday that his Dutch striker Dennis Bergkamp may have a long wait to start hisWorld Cup. "I think he may miss more than just the first two games," Wenger said. "The fact that he hasn't played since our game against Derby will make the World Cup very difficult for him." Bergkamp missed Arsenal's run-in to the premiership title after suffering a hamstring injury in April.