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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

norway wary of 'new dutch'

OSLO, Norway -- Norway will be looking for a second consecutive home victory over the Netherlands when they meet in their European championship qualifier on Wednesday -- but fear they are up against an impressive "new" Dutch team.


"I believe the Dutch team is better now than what it was in the World Cup," Norway's coach Egil Olsen said.


The Dutch opened their 1994 World Cup qualifying campaign in Oslo in September 1992 with a 2-1 defeat, surprised by Norway's well exercised one-touch soccer.


But they did far better than the Norwegians at the U.S. finals in June and July, falling narrowly 3-2 to eventual winners Brazil in the quarterfinals.


The Dutch squad is now without 1988 European championship winning stars Ronald Koeman, Frank Rijkaard, Jan Wouters and Ruud Gullit, who have all quit international soccer. And Marco van Basten is still out with long-term knee troubles.


But Olsen said: "The Dutch have improved after replacing several players, unfortunately."


The Norwegians were in good form as they qualified for the World Cup finals for the first time since 1938, but they had a disappointing tournament despite beating Mexico in their opening match.


The Dutch attack is expected to be led by Inter Milan striker Dennis Bergkamp, only just recovered from an injury. Seven Ajax Amsterdam players, including 21-year-old defender and rising star Michael Reizinger, are on the 16-man squad.


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Aston Villa striker John Fashanu appeared in High Court on Monday accused of wrecking a fellow player's career on the soccer field.


Fashanu stands accused of reckless negligence and unintentional assault when he tackled former Northern Ireland international John O'Neill seven years ago, leaving him with career-wrecking injuries.


O'Neill is suing Fashanu and Fashanu's former club, Wimbledon, for $240,000 in compensation for right knee ligament and nerve damage. Both Wimbledon and Fashanu, 31, deny the charges.


Last June, the High Court dismissed a similar damages action by former Chelsea star Paul Elliott against Welsh international Dean Saunders.


Describing the Fashanu-O'Neill incident, in the 34th minute of Wimbledon's home game against Norwich on Dec. 18, 1987, O'Neill's lawyer Nigel Baker told the court that Fashanu came in for a tackle "with his right leading leg raised high with studs exposed.''


The defense argued that the incident was an inevitable byproduct of a high-speed game: Both players raced toward the ball to produce a collision in which both were hurt. Fashanu's injuries were minor.


O'Neill, now 36, underwent two operations after the game, but never played professional soccer again.


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German champions Bayern Munich, beset by internal disputes in recent weeks, can expect straight-talking from Franz Beckenbauer when he steps into the chairman's shoes.


Germany's former World Cup-winning captain and coach, who will run for chairman at a club members' meeting in November, said Saturday he would not be toning down his sometimes outspoken public comments because of the new challenge.


Asked if he would be capable of combining his job as a television commentator with the post, Beckenbauer said: "I can keep the two things apart. But one thing is certain. I am not going to express myself more diplomatically just because of the new job."


Bayern officials decided Friday that Beckenbauer, who led the Germans to their 1974 and 1990 World Cup triumphs as player and then coach, would be the only candidate.


(Reuters, AP)