World Cup Countdown: North korean striker must play in goal - International - Football - The Independent

World Cup Countdown: North korean striker must play in goal

7 days to go

North Korea's cunning plan to include a extra striker in their World Cup squad by concealing him as a goalkeeper has failed. Manager Kim-Yong Hun only named two regular goalkeepers in his 23, opting to name Kim Myong-Won, usually a centre forward, as third goalkeeper. However, Fifa have scuppered the plan: "The three players listed as goalkeepers can only play as goalkeepers during the Fifa World Cup and cannot play outfield."

Nelson Mandela met the South Africa World Cup squad yesterday in a bid to inspire the hosts before the tournament. The 92-year-old's stature was said to be a major reason why the tournament was awarded to the country, although recently he has appeared increasingly frail, causing speculation he will not attend the tournament. However, an ANC spokesperson, Jackson Mthembu, said: "The information we have from his office is that he will be attending the opening and the closing ceremony."

Brazil manager Dunga has renewed his feud with officials over the controversial Jabulani ball. Fifa general secretary Jerome Valcke, who implied this week that, in criticising the ball, Brazil were looking for excuses in case they failed to win the tournament, was sought out for a personal attack. "The guy has never gone on the pitch, never kicked a ball," Dunga said. "The only thing he knows how to do is talk."

France manager Raymond Domenech has called it a "scandal" after children were prevented from watching his team train in Saint-Pierre. Around 3,000 youngsters turned up to watch the session but 200 were rejected as security claimed the attendance had reached its limit. "The fact fans stayed at the door is unacceptable," Domenech said. "They were kids, not hooligans." Meanwhile, William Gallas is expected to be fit to face China in a warm-up match today, despite missing training on Wednesday due to illness.

Highlights of the day

Quote of the day

"I have lost five kilos since the camp started, I'm in the best shape of my career." South Africa's Katlego Mphela boasts about his fitness. Presumably Benni McCarthy won't be doing the same

Over-celebration of the day

"It's a special moment in my life – scoring this beautiful goal," Brazil full-back Michel Bastos celebrates his goal against Zimbabwe, a team ranked 110th in the world

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