Latest terrorist outrages in London have prompted Bavarian Minister of the Interior, Guenther Beckstein, to announce stringent security measures for next year’s football highlight. Among other steps, the Schengen Agreement will be revoked for the duration of the competition, leading to the remanning of border posts.
The international press has expressed severe criticism at the scheduling of kick off times for the tournament – twenty-eight of the sixty-four games will not get under way until 9 pm (8 pm in England, Ireland and Portugal). Extra time and possibly penalty shoot-outs will mean that copy deadlines will not be met in time for the following day’s newspaper editions.
Australian hopes of 2006 finals participation are being firmly pinned on the broad shoulders of former Eindhoven and Holland coach, Guus Hiddink. Should the Dutchman accept the challenge, it will be his third consecutive presence at a World Cup finals following his periods in charge of The Netherlands and South Korea.
In the meantime, former German manager Rudi Voller is under police investigation following the discovery of a skeleton in the back garden of the house he used to own in Leverkusen between 1994 and 2003. A long-lost striker perhaps?
Finally, Portugal is preparing for its qualifiers against Luxembourg (September 3) and Russia (September 9) with a friendly against Egypt in the Azores on August 17.