Late red cards irrelevant
Red cards that are handed out after half-time do not have a negative impact on the penalized team, according to a new study by the German Institute for Economic Research in Berlin. The study, based on data from all World Cup matches played between 1930 to 2002, investigated how the expulsion of a player influences the outcome of soccer matches. "An early expulsion increases the winning probability of the non-affected team considerably," the study says. "However, if the red card is given after half-time, its impact on the final outcome of the match can be disregarded," it says. In the early days of the World Cup, red cards were extremely rare. In the five tournaments that took place between 1930 and 1954, an average of only one player per World Cup was sent off.
Goalkeeper to go home
Mexico goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez will leave the team at the World Cup following the death of his father on Wednesday of a heart attack. Felipe Sanchez, 50, died in Guadalajara, team spokesman Juan Jose Kochen said. He was preparing to fly to Germany to watch his son play, said a spokesman for Oswaldo Sanchez's Chivas club. Sanchez will miss Mexico's opening match against Iran on Sunday in Nuremberg, Mexican soccer federation president Alberto de la Torre told Mexico City's Formato 21 radio station.
■ Premier League
Huth sold to Middlesbrough
Chelsea have agreed to sell German World Cup defender Robert Huth to Middlesbrough for an undisclosed fee, the Premier League champions said on their Web site on Wednesday. The 21-year-old Huth will be the first signing for former England defender Gareth Southgate, who was appointed Middlesbrough manager earlier in the day. Southgate takes over from Steve McClaren, who will replace Sven-Goran Eriksson as England coach at the end of the World Cup. Huth has been with Chelsea for five years.
■ South Korea
Civic group curbs Cup fever
A South Korean civic group has launched a campaign to curb World Cup fever in the Asian country, saying it was diverting attention from more pressing needs and had become too commercial. The group, Culture Alliance, said in a message posted on a Korean World Cup Web site that its members would deface posters promoting the World Cup with stickers criticizing the sporting event as a massive diversion. The stickers carry phrases such as: "Aren't there things more valuable in South Korea than the World Cup right now?" and "World Cup marketing is taking away my passion for soccer."
Stupid face pays off
Former Germany striker Uwe Seeler said on Wednesday he was the only person he knew in his Hamburg suburb who had not been inconvenienced by the US World Cup squad training nearby under high security protection. "I don't have to show any ID. I've got a stupid face that everyone can recognize," Seeler said in Hamburg on the sidelines of a reception at city hall to formally welcome the US team. Seeler scored 43 goals in 72 games for Germany from 1954 to 1970. He played at four World Cups and was named second honorary captain of the German Football Association in 1972.
■ West Bank
Al-Aqsa calls for Cup truce
A senior Palestinian militant is urging calm in the West Bank and Gaza Strip for the next month so that everyone -- Palestinians and Israelis alike -- can enjoy the World Cup. Zakariyah Zubaidi, a commander of the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade, said a few weeks of peace and security was what was needed from both sides so that everybody could enjoy the soccer. "We are a nation that encourages sports and we, like other nations, like to watch and to follow the World Cup in peace and security," Zubaidi said in the town of Jenin. "We undertake to be committed to calm so that our neighbors, the Israelis, can also feel at ease watching the World Cup in peace," he said, adding that he hoped Israel would suspend patrols in towns in the occupied West Bank.