clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:


While the upsets continued on the field, the actions of some English soccer fans were upsetting the organizers of the World Cup.

The fear of violence both at the games and in the cities where they are held has made Italian authorities and FIFA officials nervous. Apparently, their worries have been well-founded.Even before England and the Netherlands - the two teams whose fans historically have caused the most problems - have played a game, skirmishes with police and several arrests have occurred. As Romania was registering the second surprise in as many days of the world's soccer championship, beating the vaunted Soviets 2-0 in Bari - in expected outcomes, Italy beat Austria 1-0 and Colombia took the United Arab Emirates 2-0 - the focus was just as much on the island of Sardinia, where play begins Monday.

In Cagliari, the capital of Sardinia, 14 English soccer fans were charged Saturday with criminal damage and resisting arrest after a bottle-throwing battle with police.

In the first outbreak of street violence at the World Cup, a gang of some 40 fans was involved in the confrontation Friday night, deputy police chief Antonio Pitea said.

Meanwhile, two senior British policemen considered experts in handling soccer violence arrived in Cagliari to provide intelligence details for their Italian counterparts. They brought a list of 1,200 known English troublemakers.

Some 8,000 English fans are expected to arrive on the island by Monday, when England plays Ireland. The Italian government has ordered 3,200 extra security police to Sardinia to cope with the violence problem.

Two more English fans, who had been detained in Genoa, were expelled from Italy when police found they were named on the list of reputed soccer rowdies.

Two other Britons, held by police in Genoa for carrying chains and knives, were to be flown out of Italy, according to news reports. Another two Britons arrested Friday upon arrival in Cagliari will stand trial next week on charges of drug possession, the Italian news agency ANSA reported.

Also in Genoa on Saturday, two Dutch soccer fans were arrested for possession of illegal drugs - nine grams of marijuana and 37 grams of hashish. The Dutchmen told Italian authorities possession of the drugs is not a crime in the Netherlands, and they did not know it was against the law in Italy.

Naples and Udine joined the growing list of host cities that have prohibited or restricted the sale of alcoholic beverages on game days. The Sardinian city of Sassari also ordered a limited prohibition on the sale of alcoholic beverages, even though it does not host any matches and is located on the opposite end of Sardinia from Cagliari.

Soccer-wise, the event is off to a rousing start. Romania followed Cameroon's startling victory over defending champion Argentina in the opener with an almost equally surprising result.

The Soviets were runners-up in the 1988 European championships, but they showed nothing against Romania, which was without its best scorer, the suspended Gheorghe Hagi. In his place, Marius Lacatus connected twice and the Romanian defense kept the Soviets in check.

Italy was held off until the 79th minute by the spectacular goalkeeping of Klaus Lindenberger, who made a half-dozen superb saves. But he could do nothing on Salvatore Schillaci's header off a perfect crossing pass by Gianluca Vialli.

That set off thunderous cheers in Olympic Stadium and celebrations throughout the streets of Rome and other cities. That, of course, is typical of the World Cup when the home team wins.

On Sunday, the United States returns to the World Cup for the first time in 40 years, playing Czechoslovakia at Florence.

The UAE looked strong for a half, but an early goal on a superb header by Bernardo Redin turned things in the second period. Carlos Valderrama, Colombia's creative forward, got the other goal with five minutes remaining.