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Vicious rumours

Japan’s coach, Brazilian World Cup winner Zico, has severely criticised Fifa for letting politics interfere with the competition’s draw. He believes that placing countries into “pots” for the seedings and sub-divisions favours the established footballing nations, while minimising the chances of new countries. Italian functionaries go even further, suggesting that a certain degree of manipulation was in play at the draw. The allegations resulted from the fact that former German captain Luthar Matthaus chose a ball, dropped it like a hot coal and drew another, pairing Italy with the US rather than a weaker opponent. All such charges have been refuted in the strongest terms. Meanwhile, Iranian television viewers were prevented from following the Leipzig proceedings live at all – Islamic authorities considered German model Heidi Klum’s attire “immoral” and delayed the broadcast to permit editing.