Football: World Cup Diary

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FOR ONE group of Scottish supporters, making their way yesterday to St Etienne for today's decisive group encounter with Morocco, it was not the match ticket that was priority nor indeed the availability of overnight accommodation in the French town. What mattered most to this family of six was that they would be first in the queue for a first-class ticket for the Eurostar journey from London to Paris. It would set each of them back pounds 190 for the return journey but crucially it afforded them access to the bar and as much free drink as they could throw down their throats. In the case of this particular Edinburgh clan that proved to be a considerable amount of liquor. When they made the same journey for the Brazil game they drank their way through pounds 300 worth of the strong- and-stronger stuff. They plan today to sleep off their drinking session on the four-hour train journey between Paris and St Etienne and will watch the action on a big screen.

LOVE TRULY conquers all, even those hard hearts at Fifa who have agreed that tonight's confrontation between Brazil and Norway in Marseilles could be preceded by a match of another kind - the marriage of a Norwegian, Oivind Ekeland, and a Brazilian, Rosangela de Souza, out on the pitch with a Catholic priest officiating and not a red card in sight. Keith Cooper, the Fifa spokesman, said they had a change of heart after initially rejecting the request. "We always talk about football bringing people together in a spirit of love, friendship and fraternity so we thought why are we saying no? We asked them not to tell the press because we didn't want a flood of similar requests, of Moroccans marrying Paraguayans and goodness knows what."

THE STAR names will think long and hard before agreeing to undertake an advertisement for a certain boot manufacturer after what can only be described as the curse of adidas at this World Cup. In the build-up to the tournament TV viewers became familiar with a film showing in succession, Alessandro del Piero, David Beckham, Patrick Kluivert and Zinedine Zidane, all of whom have cause to regret the first two weeks of the competition.

Compiled by Trevor Haylett and Phil Shaw

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