Sports Briefs


Sun, Jul 02, 2006 - Page 23

■ Bangladesh
Angry fans attack jail

Hundreds of soccer fans in the capital Dhaka attacked a jail and an electricity office after power failures interrupted broadcasts of the quarter-final match between Argentina and Germany. A group of protesters threw stones at the gates of the central jail in Dhaka's densely populated Lalbagh district, slightly injuring more than a dozen jail security guards who attempted to prevent them from going to a nearby electricity office, Dhaka Metropolitan Police official Aminul Islam said yesterday. He said the protesters also threw stones at the home of a top official of the jail authorities during the melee. Later, another mob wielding iron rods attacked the electricity office in the same area, Islam said.

■ India

TV ratings soaring

Indians are turning into couch potatoes and guzzling beer like never before as excitement in the Asian country over the World Cup peaks, local media reported yesterday. The scenes in homes and pubs across the cricket-mad country differ little from soccer-playing countries. "A remote in one hand and brew in the other -- that is the general picture," the Hindustan Times said, reporting that beer sales had shot up by nearly 40 percent in New Delhi and Mumbai and that TV viewing in cities was up by 175 per cent on match days. Even though the Indian soccer team (ranked a lowly 117) has failed to qualify for World Cup time and again, people are becoming interested in the sport and are following the tournament closely. Soccer has taken over as the most-watched sport in India, pushing cricket into second place.

■ Tourism

Numbers exceed targets

The World Cup has triggered an influx of visitors exceeding tourism officials' expectations. By the time the tournament ends next Sunday, the number of visitors from abroad is expected to reach 2 million, said Petra Hedorfer, head of the German Center for Tourism. Officials originally forecast the World Cup would lure 1 million visitors. Hedorfer said her organization had commissioned a survey of 1,281 World Cup visitors. It found that more than 90 percent would recommend Germany to others as a destination and 91 percent felt welcome in the country.

■ Cards

Averages at record level

Going into the quarter-finals, the World Cup averaged 4.86 yellow cards a game, according to FIFA. That compares to 4.25 per game in South Korea-Japan in 2002, 4.03 in France 98, 4.52 in USA 94, 3.12 in Italy 90, 2.56 in Mexico 86 and 1.88 in Spain 82. The Germany tournament is averaging 0.45 red cards a game. That's up from 0.27 in 2002, 0.34 in 1998, 0.34 in 1994, 0.31 in 1990, 0.15 in 1986 and 0.12 in 1982.