Fans strip off lederhosen

MORE than a thousand Holland fans had to watch the match against the Ivory Coast in their underwear after being forced to remove orange lederhosen that had been supplied to them by a Dutch beer-makers.

The Bavaria brewery had provided the shorts free of charge in an attempt at ‘ambush marketing’ — they are not official World Cup sponsors — but security staff in Stuttgart were having none of it.

With their entry to the stadium barred, the 1,000-plus Dutch fans simply stripped off the lederhosen and went in just wearing their boxer shorts.

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THERE was a minute’s silence before Italy’s 1-1 draw with the USA in Kaiserslautern to mark the anniversary of the death of Fritz Walter, captain of the 1954 West German World Cup-winning side.

Walter is Germany’s equivalent of Bobby Moore and even now people talk of ‘Fritz Walter weather’ when it’s raining, because he always played better in wet conditions.

He died on June 17, 2002, age 81, and a statue of him is being unveiled in his home town of Alsenborn near Kaiserslautern.

Walter first played for Germany during the Second World War in 1940, and continued until 1958, winning 61 caps and scoring 33 goals.

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UKRAINE have found someone to blame for their dismal performance in the 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Spain — the frogs in a lake near their hotel.

Defender Vladislav Vashchuk said: “We can barely sleep at night because of the croaking. We have agreed to take sticks and hunt them.”

Experts say bullfrogs have a croak which reach up to 70 decibels, similar to a lorry driving by.

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CROATIA’S players were given permission to attend Friday’s gig by Deep Purple in Bad Bruckenau. The ageing headbangers were performing less than 48 hours before Croatia play Japan in a match which will be critical to their hopes of reaching the last 16.

However, team chiefs authorised the trip in line with what has been an easygoing policy by World Cup standards. The players’ wives have free run of the team hotel so long as they return to their own hotel by midnight.

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THERE have been no hat-tricks so far in the 2006 World Cup but the supporters have been indulging in some headgear that would draw gasps at the Galway Races.

Some Mexican supporters dressed up in the outlandish headgear of former Aztec king Montezuma although most settled for the traditional sombrero, sometimes customised in their national flag’s green, white and red.

Not to be outdone, many Ecuador fans are travelling around Germany in their own national emblem, the Panama hat which originates not in Panama but Ecuador.

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OLIVER NEUVILLE, the hero of all Germany after scoring the injury-time winner against Poland, needed a translator when he first joined the national team.

Neuville was born in the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland to an Italian mother and German father. He used to have dual Swiss and Italian nationality but opted to play for Germany – and then started to learn the language.

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MARADONA has been fined for speeding on an autobahn after police clocked him going 37 mph above the legal limit.

The Argentine legend failed to slow his Volkswagen van on Thursday in an area where road work was underway and special speed limit signs were in place. Normally, people can drive as fast as they want on Germany’s autobahns. Police said he was driving 87 mph in a 50 mph zone.

“He paid his $120 and the matter was taken care of, like it happens a million times a day,” said Guenter Noll, coordinator for the autobahn police in Arnsberg.

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