Football / World Cup USA '94: Spectators give due care and attention

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

Statistics from the first-round matches at the World Cup have confirmed the impression that the American organisers have staged a peaceful and orderly tournament.

Although just over 300 people were arrested during the first round, more than half of the arrests were for ticket-touting and there were no reports of violence. Seven people were arrested as they tried to run on to fields at the nine stadiums.

'Fans have been seen to enjoy the matches peacefully with a positive and sporting attitude,' a Fifa spokesman said. Police made 312 arrests at the 36 games, which attracted 2.4 million spectators.

With limits on beer sales, Fifa also reported 12 arrests for drunkenness in the stadiums. The biggest problem has been the heat. Of 833 cases requiring medical treatment, 95 per cent were heat-related.

Back in Europe, however, things have not changed. Dutch fans in The Hague went on the rampage on Monday evening after their side's victory over Ireland in the second round. Shops were looted and cars set alight. Around 1,500 people massed in the city centre immediately after the 2-0 victory, but celebrations grew violent when a group of 150 supporters clashed with riot police.

Three policemen were injured and 20 people were arrested. Police and the city mayor are to discuss special precautionary measures before Saturday's quarter-final match against Brazil in Dallas.

Jonas Thern, the Swedish captain, will miss at least four days' training because of an injury to his right knee, but he is expected to take his place in midfield in Sunday's quarter-final against Romania in Palo Alto.

'I've played so much and I don't need more practice,' said Thern, who was substituted in the 69th minute during Sweden's second-round game against Saudi Arabia on Sunday. 'It's positive for me to rest. I'm not worried; I expect to be fully fit before the game.'

Thern, who has played for Benfica in Portugal and Napoli in Italy during his six years abroad, and will join Roma next season, was examined at Sunday's game at the Cotton Bowl but the X-rays were negative.

The Mexican manager, Miguel Mejia Baron, had his contract with the national team extended for a further four years.

Baron, who gave up his dental practice to coach full time, took over the national side in January, 1993 after the resignation of the Argentinian Cesar Luis Menotti.

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