It's ever so easy] All you have to do is study the following five international football stories and decide if they are true or false. OK? Here we go then]
1. In 1988 a mid-league Italian football team called AC San Michele was bribed to lose an important fixture against local rivals, Testa Verde. All the players in the San Michele team were in on the scheme. The only thing they didn't know was that the Testa Verde players had also been bribed to lose the vital match. The result was that every goal one side gave away was matched by a goal surrendered by the other side; with 20 minutes left to play the score was already 7-7, and goals were coming thick and fast. The crowd went frantic with disbelief when, in the last minute, as San Michele were leading 10-9, their goalkeeper Vicenzo backheeled a goal kick 'by accident' to give away an own goal, and make the final score 10-10.
2. Terry Constable was a young league footballer, who, in the mid-Eighties, was caught by a cruel tackle by the defender John Blutcher in a pre-season friendly. He never recovered and was forced to make his career outside football. However, being an astute businessman, he prospered, and the chain of clothes shops he now owns in the Midlands (called Fine Fettle) have an estimated turnover of pounds 3m.
John Blutcher, the man who crippled him, has not fared so well, and is at present playing on a free transfer for Batheaston Bypass Protesters, a successful, but amateur team. Now, in a case which could make legal history, Blutcher is suing the man he injured for a share of his fortune, on the grounds that if he hadn't driven him out of the game with the clumsy tackle, he would never have become rich.
3. Most teams have formations that are variants on the basic 4-3-3 or 4-4-2, but in the Seventies, the national team of Senegal tried something quite different. Under the management of a little-known German footballer, Dieter Kromm, they experimented with a 1-10-0 line-up. Kromm explained his intention: to capture the ball from the opposition and to surround the man with the ball. The tight mass of 10 people would then dash upfield and simply run the ball into the enemy's goal.
Results were impressive to begin with, as it was virtually impossible to get at the man with the ball. Senegal scored goals freely, even though they gave them away almost as freely due to the lack of cover. Their first three results were 11-7, 12-4 and 7-1 (monsoon stopped play). However, Fifa decreed that the tactics were illegal because someone in that bunch of 10 players must be offside. Senegal started losing, and Kromm was fired and drifted into obscurity.
4. During a crucial end-of-season match in the Turkish premier league, there was a pitch invasion after the award of a hotly disputed penalty. Police came on and cleared the pitch of the 200 or so angry spectators, but when the game resumed, there was no sign of the referee. It turned out that the police had taken him off the pitch with the spectators, and would not let him back on again on the grounds that he had been arrested for striking a police officer in the heat of the moment. The match was abandoned and replayed later. It is thought to be the only time that a referee has ever been sent off for retaliating.
5. In an international encounter between Spain and Paraguay in the late Eighties, the fiery Paraguayan striker Morbillo was shown the red card by the Danish referee Arnoldsen after striking the opposition's goalkeeper. Morbillo had never been shown the red card before. Moreover, he was a trained lawyer, and a mixture of resentment and professional curiosity inspired him to examine the writing on the red card. To his surprise, it said (in Danish): 'Central Taxis, Copenhagen. On the phone 24 hours: weddings and airport.' Morbillo refused to go off.
Arnoldsen later admitted that he had lost his normal red card and used one that he thought looked exactly the same. Morbillo was allowed to stay on the field but was later shown the yellow card, though not close enough to read it.
OK? Now, all you have to do is decide which of these stories is true and which false. And the sender of the first correct entry will win a magnificent trip to a country which has not qualified for the World Cup finals and has no further interest in them]
NB: If the winner already lives in such a country, eg, Wales, England, Scotland, etc, no prize will be awarded.