World Cup at a glance
Soccer became the last of the Olympic sports to fully accept the World Anti-Doping Agency code. The FIFA Congress voted 199-2 on Thursday in favor of accepting the WADA code, with individual case management.
FIFA applied the minimum two-year ban for first-time offenders. However, David Will, chairman of FIFA's legal committee, outlined three exceptions:
When a player accused of doping can prove the substance was not intended to enhance performance, FIFA can reduce the sanction to a warning in a first offense, a two-year ban for a second offense and lifetime ban in case of repetition.
If an accused player can prove he bears no significant fault or negligence for ingesting a banned substance, then the basic penalties can be halved (one year for a first offense; lifetime ban reduced to eight years).
If an accused person can prove that he was not at fault or negligent, then there's no ban.
German captain Michael Ballack will miss today's World Cup opener against Costa Rica because of an injured calf. Ballack was hurt in last Friday's 3-0 warmup win over Colombia, in which he scored one goal. The team was given the weekend off after the game and Ballack spent the time with his family at home. He did not seek treatment until the team reassembled in Berlin on Monday. Ballack will be getting treatment "around the clock," coach Juergen Klinsmann said.
Sweden goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson will miss his team's opener against Trinidad and Tobago because of a mild concussion. Isaksson was hit in the face by midfielder Kim Kallstrom's hard shot during Wednesday's workout. In Saturday's Group B opener, Isaksson will be replaced by either Rami Shaaban or John Alvbage.
Czech midfielder Pavel Nedved did not finish his team's training with a possible knee injury after he collided with teammate David Rozehnal. Czech doctors worked on Nedved's left knee for 15 minutes and the Juventus star then spent the rest of the second training session for the Czechs slowly running on the side of the field. Nedved's prognosis was not known. The Czech Republic faces the United States in its first game on Monday.
Germany, without captain Michael Ballack, faces Costa Rica in the opening match of the 2006 World Cup in Munich. Poland plays Ecuador in the second game Friday.
"This team has been through a lot. At times, God puts you to the test. This is a difficult moment, but we are going to continue on and prove ourselves on Sunday."
-- Mexico midfielder Pavel Pardo after teammate and starting goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez returned to Mexico to be with his family following the sudden death of his father.
"Today, the world of soccer, or football, is shrinking. You have players from all these countries in this tournament that play for big clubs that are much more experienced, and they bring those experiences to their national teams. These teams are not intimidated like they were many years ago. So I think you're going to see this tournament, in 2006, like you did in 2002, that some of the big boys are going home early."
-- U.S. coach Bruce Arena.
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