It's a mad, mad, mad World Cup: Zaire missed the bus, Diana missed the goal

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The Independent Online

JACK COLL, the USA trainer in the inaugural 1930 World Cup, is the tournament's first recorded drug-user. As he came on to the pitch in the semi-final against Argentina he dropped a bottle of chloroform from his bag and had to be led off in a daze.

ADOLF HITLER didn't much like football, and Austria's fans didn't like him either after his annexation of their country in 1938 prevented Austria from taking their place in that year's finals. True to the spirit of Anschluss ,though, the Germans co-opted seven Austrian players into their squad.

ILUNGA MWEPU was a worried man when he faced a free-kick at Gelsenkirchen in 1974. Zaire had already lost 9-0 to Yugoslavia, and President Mobutu had threatened trouble if they lost by more than 4-0 in their next game. Their opponents? The holders, Brazil. Which may explain why Mwepu shot out of the wall and booted the ball upfield. Brazil won only 3-0, though the Zaireans' attempt to drive their BMW-provided team bus home ended on German soil.

SOREN LERBY played for two different teams in two different countries on 13 November 1985. Lerby (left) started in Dublin as Denmark faced the Republic of Ireland in a vital qualifier for Mexico 86. In the 58th minute, with Denmark leading 3-1 (they won 4-1), he was substituted, flying by private jet to Bochum to come on at half-time for Bayern Munich in a German Cup game. Bayern drew 1-1 and went on to win the final.

DIANA ROSS'S role at the opening ceremony of USA 94 required her to kick a ball a couple of yards into a goal designed to collapse spectacularly under her weight of shot. She missed. "Ain't no goalposts wide enough."

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