Republic of Ireland manager Brian Kerr has paid the price for failing to qualify for the finals. The Irish FA decided not to renew his contract at a 10 man board meeting in Dublin effectively sacking their coach. Both Villa’s David O’Leary and Sir Alex Ferguson have denied any interest in the job.Belgium’s Aime Anthuenis has also been dismissed for the same reason. Eric Gerets, Marc Wilmots and Denmark’s Morten Olsen are in the frame to replace him. Greece’s Euro 2004 hero, Otto Rehagel, still awaits judgement on his unsuccessful campaign to reach a play-off spot.
Five World Cup participants have already reserved bases in Germany for next year. Sweden will stay in Bremen, the United States in Hamburg, Iran has chosen Friedrichshafen in the southwest of the country, while Holland will just move across the border to Hinterzarten. The hosts will pitch their tents in the capital Berlin in the hope of reaching the final there. On present form, the five-star accommodation booked through to that date may have to be cancelled however!
In addition, the South American samba beat will be vibrating in Cologne, Dusselforf and Frankfurt. Although neither Brazil, Mexico nor Argentina have confirmed training camps respectively in those three cities, thousands of fans from these qualifiers have already secured accommodation there. Do they know something we don’t?
Australia have threatened to leave the pitch during their play-off with Uruguay should there be any repeat of the crowd trouble experienced at the same stage of the competition between the two countries in 2002. The first leg is scheduled to be played in Montevideo on November 12 with the return four days later in Sydney.
Juventus midfielder Pavel Nedved has become the latest superstar to declare his availability to return to the national team for the World Cup Finals. The former Czech Republic captain retired after the Euro 2004 tournament as did France’s Zidane and Portugal’s Figo, both now back for one last stab at glory.