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IMAGINE WHAT THEIR STORIES SAY

What happened to the rule about no cheering in the press box?

Nigerian journalists celebrated the Nigerian team’s 3-2 victory over Spain by singing a traditional warrior song, “Obi Kevereke Obi,” and dancing in the mixed zone, the area reserved for journalists to interview coaches and players after games.

Spain’s coach, Javier Clemente, returned to his team’s locker room, refusing to come out again until the dancing journalists promised to be quiet.

YOU CAN’T CALL HIM A HOMER

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Carlos Bilardo, coach of the victorious Argentine team at the 1986 World Cup, has been in France as a media consultant for an Argentine company. In what approaches blasphemy in his homeland, he said he doesn’t see Argentina as the likely winner, although he likes many elements of the Argentine team.

“Many teams can win this World Cup tournament,” he said. “But I haven’t seen one above the rest, even Brazil. I think Argentina will have something to say. It is a very attractive team. [Coach Daniel] Passarella has done good work. He can lean on a team that is young, enthusiastic and with decisive elements such as [Gabriel] Batistuta.”

HEY, HIGHNESSES, DOWN IN FRONT!

Princes Phillippe and Laurent and Princess Astrid of Belgium plan to attend each of the team’s three matches in the first round.

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Wonder if they’ll do the wave with the commoners.

START THE BIDDING AT . . .

For sale: one used soccer ball. Sentimental value.

Claude Abbes, goalkeeper on the 1958 French World Cup team that lost to Brazil in the semifinals and finished third, kept the game ball and later had it autographed by players on both sides. He’s now willing to sell it, with proceeds going to charity.

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INSERT VIAGRA JOKE HERE

The French sporting daily L’Equipe reports that a Japanese newspaper says Japanese players have been forbidden to have sex during the World Cup. They are given some leisure time, but there’s no question of bringing their wives or girlfriends to the team hotel. They’ve been given a recreation room equipped with videotapes to watch when they want.

HE CALLED HIS PSYCHIC HOTLINE

According to L’Equipe, German Chancellor Helmut Kohl visited the German team and made some predictions. He said Germany would defeat the U.S., 3-1, Yugoslavia by 2-1 and 2-0 over Iran.

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Said L’Equipe, “Is this a prediction or a dream?”


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