Football / World Cup USA '94: Cantona backing Brazil

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ERIC CANTONA has joined the the growing band of admirers of Roberto Baggio after the Italian scored a late goal against Spain to take his country into the World Cup semi-finals on Saturday.

But the Manchester United player is still backing Brazil to win the tournament. 'You have to admire Baggio. He has fantastic skill, a good temperment,' Cantona said. 'He can do nothing for a whole game and then one touch, one goal. That is the mark of a great player.

'But Brazil is my hope to win the World Cup. They play the game the way I love, they play to win instead of playing not to lose. It would be good for football for Brazil to be champions.'

Arrigo Sacchi, the much-maligned Italian coach, finally earned some praise from the the Italin press. La Voce argued it was the best performance yet by Arrigo Sacchi's team, a point backed up by La Repubblica. Corriere della Sport said the match marked 'the resurrection of Sacchi' after he had been roundly condemned for his tactics throughout the tournament.

The Netherlands' 3-2 quarter-final defeat by Brazil triggered off ugly scenes in The Hague yesterday where 20 supporters were arrested. This came only days after rioting and looting in the Dutch seat of government marred the win over Ireland. In contrast, Brazilians took to the streets in joy in Rio de Janeiro after their success.

'Brazilian team shines in reaching semi-finals,' was the Jornal do Brasil's front-page headline. 'Brazil's gala performance against Holland was this World Cup's best soccer to date,' wrote Armando Nogueira.

Three European leagues, including the Diadora, will experiment with kick-ins instead of throw-ins next season, Sepp Blatter, the general secretary of the game's world governing body, Fifa, said.