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England, France and Germany Stumble

Posted February. 13, 2003 22:57,   


The ball is round. February 13 was `A-match` day set by the Federation International of Football Association (FIFA). 27 international matches were held throughout the world and big football clubs such as France, England, Germany and Argentina all suffered a loss.

The second-ranking France met with the Czechs at home. Even with its best line-up including Zinedine Zidane and Tierry Henry, however, it lost to the 15th-ranking visiting team by 0-2, experiencing another humiliating defeat following the disqualification during the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup.

The 8th-ranking England, the suzerain state of football game, also suffered a humiliating defeat as it lost 1-3 to the 50th-rated Australia. Toy Popovic and Harry Kewell scored early goals for an easy win.

Germany, the second runner-up in the 2002 World Cup, which boasts its Golden Ball-winning goalkeeper Oliver Kahn, lost 1-3 to Spain, and South American favorite Argentina lost 0-1 to the Netherlands.

26-year-old Spaniard Raul was one of the best players for the day, heading his team with two goals. He set a new record for the most-scoring players in the history of A-match with 31 goals in the past 59 matches.

Wayne Rooney, at 17 years and 111 days, became England`s youngest player ever, breaking the previous record set by Scottish James Prinsep who debuted in a global match at 17 years and 252 days.

Former Brazilian head coach Luise Scolario, who led the team to the top in the World Cup last year, made his debut with the Portugal team unsuccessfully as the team lost to Italians by 0-1. Italian head coach Jovanni Trapatony, on his part, breathed a sigh of relief as the team got over with the big loss to Koreans last year.

Soon-Il Kwon stt77@donga.com