England: England will stage a training camp before the World Cup in the Algarve tourist region of southern Portugal, the resort hosting the squad said yesterday. They will be based from May 15 to 20 at the Vale do Lobo complex, about 30 km west of Faro. "It is vitally important that the players have a very relaxing, enjoyable time during their first week of preparation," England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson was quoted as saying by the resort.

Maximum risk: Tomorrow's UEFA Cup quarter-final second leg between city rivals Steaua Bucharest and Rapid has been designated a maximum risk game. A record 2,500 police will be in and around the stadium. An alcohol ban in shops around the stadium will start five hours before kick-off. Last week, the first leg ended level 1-1 in front of 18,000 spectators. More than 45,000 spectators are expected for the second leg at the 54,000-capacity Lia Manoliu stadium.

Blanco: Mexico forward Cuauhtemoc Blanco is baffled by coach Ricardo La Volpe's decision not to take him to the World Cup. The volatile forward has been left out of the provisional 26-man squad from which La Volpe will select his final 23 for the finals. "La Volpe can't tell me that I don't fit into his system if I have played under the command of umpteen coaches and have adapted to all of their systems," Blanco said. Now 33, Blanco is considered by many fans as the only Mexican player capable of producing the unpredictable in attack.

Eguavoen: Nigerian Sports Minister Saidu Sambawa has cancelled the contract given to national team coach Austin Eguavoen. Eguavoen, a former Sliema Wanderers player, was reappointed to the position last month. A sports ministry statement said Sambawa had annulled the contract because all national team coaching jobs have to be advertised. Eguavoen took the team to the bronze medal at the African Nations Cup in Egypt in February.

Warnock: Sheffield United manager Neil Warnock has admitted a charge of improper conduct after making a V-sign at Norwich coach Nigel Worthington at the end of a second division game on March 18. Warnock has requested a personal hearing.

Four-match ban: Wolfsburg striker Diego Klimowicz was suspended for four matches by the German FA for elbowing an opponent. The Argentine, Wolfsurg's top-scorer, was sent off for deliberately elbowing Duisburg's Thomas Baelum in Saturday's 1-1 draw. Klimowicz will only return for the team's last two matches in their battle to avoid relegation.

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