Football: World Cup - Diary

Click to follow
FOR EVERYBODY not in France - and for many of those who are - the television set has become man's best friend. In the Australian outback, die-hard fans drove hundreds of miles for a television set when the World Cup coverage didn't reach them. "The guys on the Mir space station can watch it and we can't," grumbled a irate supporter. In Hanoi one shop owner, Nguyen Viet Hung, claims to have doubled his TV set sales to 50 a day while in the Peruvian capital Lima, television sets have even appeared in classrooms ... with Sir's blessing. Fearing a dramatic drop in attendance, staff allowed pupils to watch the action but, teachers being teachers, there was a price to pay and after the show from France came history and geography lessons featuring the competing nations.

FIFA ARE investigating whether the South African defender Pierr Issa was wearing a wire during his side's final game against Saudi Arabia. The latest sign of technology impigning on the people's game was exposed when a photo showed a device clipped over his right ear. The referee did not notice it and there is nothing in the rules to stop players being in direct contact with the bench. Not that it did him any good - he gave away two penalties.

BUSINESSMEN IN Bordeaux were so impressed by the behaviour of Scottish and Norwegian fans at last week's game that they paid for advertisements to express their thanks. "Thanks and see you soon... we're missing you already" was the message from the city's chamber of commerce which appeared in both Scottish and Norwegian newspapers.

The Romanians are planning a radical new look from now on after their coach, Anghel Iordanescu, agreed to shave his head on condition his team topped their group after the first round. Another condition is that all his players die their hair in the national colours. Meanwhile the Chilean defender, Javier Margas, has dyed his hair red for today's game with Brazil. "If we win I'll dye it another colour," he said.

THE PARAGUAYAN striker Miguel Angel Benitez may have struck gold with his goal against Nigeria timed at 52 seconds - the fastest goal of the tournament so far, well ahead of Brazil's Cesar Sampaio's effort against Scotland. If no one betters it, Benitez will win a solid gold Swiss watch.

IN NORWAY, Ragnar Lutcherath didn't have tickets for France so he did the next best thing, he built himself a wooden grandstand in his back yard so he could eat hot dogs with his friends, wave Norwegian flags and cheer wildly at the TV - simulating the stadium experience.

Compiled by Trevor Haylett