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ATLANTA 1996 OLYMPICS | DAILY REPORT : SOCCER

U.S. Team Wants More Exposure

July 20, 1996|From Staff and Wire Reports

America's soccer team is angry at NBC's decision not to broadcast its sellout opening match against Argentina today.

"This [soccer] is the largest attended event in the Olympics. It's hard to believe that it's not newsworthy for NBC," U.S. Coach Bruce Arena said.

NBC spokesman Ed Markey said the network will concentrate on gymnastics, swimming, basketball and volleyball but added that its coverage plans for the rest of the Games were fluid.

The Americans play Tunisia and Portugal in their other Group A matches.

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Italian soccer player Christian Panucci, forced to fly home from the Games because of injury, said in Milan that last-minute luck saved him from death in the TWA airliner crash.

Panucci, who was to have captained Italy's side at the Games, said he had been advised at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport to catch Wednesday's TWA flight to Paris and pick up a connecting flight to Rome.

But he realized his baggage from Atlanta had been mislaid and when he went to report the loss, staff of Italian airline Alitalia told him they had a direct flight to Milan leaving later the same day from Newark, N.J. He took that.

"Previously I couldn't stop thinking how unlucky I had been to miss out on my Olympic dream," said Panucci, 23. "Now I can't stop thinking how lucky I was not to have caught that doomed flight."

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