Newslines: Third coach sacked


Tunisia, eliminated from the World Cup after being beaten 2-0 by England last week and 1-0 by Colombia on Monday, yesterday sacked their coach Henryk Kasperczak. The Tunisian Football Federation said the Pole's deputy, Ali Selmi, would take charge for the side's last Group G match against Romania on Friday.

Kasperczak, who follows Saudi Arabia's Carlos Alberto Parreira, sacked on Saturday, and South Korea's Cha Bum-kun, dismissed on Sunday, came under attack for his tactics during the tournament. Slim Chiboub, president of Tunisia's champions Esperance, accused the coach of "spoiling Tunisia's football reputation".

Lothar Matthaus, whose international career looked over three years ago, will play for Germany tomorrow in their last Group F match against Iran.

Germany's coach Berti Vogts, who usually gives nothing away, confirmed that the 37-year-old libero-cum-midfielder would definitely play in Montpellier. Matthaus impressed Vogts when he came on as a substitute against Yugoslavia on Sunday and helped his side come back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2.

"Lothar is going to start the match," Vogts said. "I expect him to produce a passionate performance and bring organisation to the team."

Vogts would not say whether he would play Matthaus at the back or in midfield, but the signs are that he may start the match at libero with Olaf Thon moving forward into midfield.

A total of 21.6 million British viewers tuned into England's 2-1 defeat by Romania on Monday night. The match attracted an average TV audience of 19.4 million and a 71 per cent share of the available audience.

"This figure is simply phenomenal, particularly for a first-round match," said Brian Barwick, ITV's controller of sport.

The game had the highest viewing figures for a football match shown on a single channel in Britain during the past two decades and the third highest total audience.

England's 1990 World Cup semi-final was seen by 25.2 million viewers over two channels and the 1996 European Championship semi-final between the same two sides attracted a combined audience of 23.8 million viewers.