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WORLD CUP DAILY REPORT

World Views

How France 98 Is Playing in Publications Around the Globe

June 23, 1998

FRANCE

From L'Equipe:

"German hooligans weren't drinking from a trough, but they were purely violent. A gendarme is in a coma after their passage to Lens. This drama ended a superb weekend of football, marked by a Germany-Yugoslavia game of great range and formidable victories of the Netherlands and Argentina. . . .

"They were neo-Nazi groups well organized and trained for battle in the streets. [Sunday] at Lens, they came for confrontation. They never had any intention of attending the match. In small gangs, they defied the forces of order and lit fuses here and there, they caused provocations and then they banged people around.

"A mobile gendarme, struck in the back of the head, is perhaps about to pay with his life for this monstrous stupidity of these animals. The animals attacked for no reason. A man is in a coma because of the World Cup. With each new drama the players and the fans of football, of which we are part, must ask themselves what mistake they have made to arrive at such barbarity. . . .

"Normally we would use again the classic couplet: life, football and the spectacle continue. What else is there to say? What else is there to do? Let's not be hypocrites. The World Cup is stronger than everything. Millions of people are going to have the same passion for it, ourselves first."

GERMANY

Nationwide tabloid Bild, on hooligans:

"What a shame! What is going on in their heads?"

CHINA

From an article in the China Youth Daily World Cup Special Section titled "Soccer, the Economy--Both Crises?"

"The dominoes of Asian soccer have accomplished a series of most lamentable movements. That an entire continent's soccer can in this way have its whole system drown-- it's really unimaginably bizarre.

"The South Korean won has depreciated, the Japanese yen has depreciated, and soccer has followed by depreciating too. In the joyous and splendid World Cup, for Asia's soccer--just like its financial system--danger lurks on every side. As the victims of the Asian financial disaster lie moaning all about, our nation's government pledges with complete confidence to the world that our renminbi will not be devalued. When will we have the chance to hear soccer association officials stand forth and say to us that Chinese soccer, like the renminbi, will be strong?"

ISRAEL

From the Yediot Ahronot, on the Iran-U.S. match on Sunday:

"There was a lot of noise about this match all around the world, but here we had a special reason. Aside from the two involved countries, we had the most explicit interest in this international match between the Western 'Satan' and the dark Islamic Republic. . . .

"On paper, it was pretty clear who had our sympathy. But this is Israel and paper doesn't count for much. We are an ungrateful people if not altogether crazy and therefore many Israelis were sitting [Sunday] and crossing fingers for the mustached people [Iranians].

"The USA is good to us, it sends us green dollars . . . but for some reason, we prefer those who burn our flag and threaten to erase us from the face of the Earth. . . . TV announcer Meir Einstein even identified an Israeli flag in the sea of Iranian flags in the stadium."

Correspondents Helene Elliott in Paris, Christian Retzlaff in Berlin, Jason Dean in Beijing and Batsheva Sobelman in Jerusalem contributed to this report.

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