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Coliseum Soccer Matches Feature 4 of World's Best

January 22, 1988|RICH ROBERTS | Times Staff Writer

Pele, the most famous player in soccer history, will kick the first ball when four of the best teams in the world compete for the Pacific Cup at the Coliseum tonight and Sunday.

He will also make a presentation to Michel Platini of the French Bordeaux team, who is retiring after receiving the Golden Boot as Europe's best player for five consecutive years, 1981-85.

Dynamo Kiev of the Soviet Union will play West German League leader FC Cologne at 7 tonight, followed by a match between Bordeaux of France and Mexican champion Guadalajara at 9.

On Sunday, Dynamo Kiev and Bordeaux will meet at 2, followed by Guadalajara and Cologne at 4.

Promoter Henry Sroka of the Interamerica Soccer Club of Los Angeles hopes to demonstrate that the city would support the World Cup tournament in 1994. Brazil and Morocco are also bidding for the '94 tournament, but Pele is backing the U.S. rather than his native Brazil, at least while he's in this country.

One reason, he said, is the strong support soccer received during the 1984 Olympics, when games were played at the Rose Bowl.

"Some of my people get mad at me because I give my support to the U.S.," Pele said this week. "But I say, 'See what happened at the ('84) Olympic Games.' Then some of them understand. We had a World Cup in Brazil, two in Mexico, one in Argentina and one in Chile. We've never had one in the United States."

Also, he said, "Brazil has an economic problem. If some private company offered to do the World Cup, it's OK, but the government is unable to support it."

That, however, is in direct contrast with what Pele reportedly said last month in Brazil. There, he was quoted as saying: "Like any Brazilian, I personally believe it would be best if the World Cup were held in Brazil."

He also said there that he was misinterpreted in previous recommendations that the World Cup should be held in the United States.

Besides Platini, players this weekend include John Tigana of Bordeaux, Lit Barski of Cologne and former L.A. Aztec Xavier Aguirre of Guadalajara. Dynamo Kiev has nine World Cup players.

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