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A crash course in cursing

England’s notoriously hot-tempered Wayne Rooney was given a yellow card in an exhibition match this week for swearing.

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England’s notoriously hot-tempered Wayne Rooney was given a yellow card in an exhibition match this week for swearing.

RUSTENBURG, South Africa — Watch those mouths, boys. Same for fingers, elbows, fists and anything else that could be construed as, uh, universal gestures.

The sport's governing body, FIFA requires World Cup referees and assistants to be proficient in English, but the Brazilian referee and his assistants for Saturday's England-United States game are brushing up on the lexicon of English-language obscenities.

FIFA denied reports that match officials have been given lists of swear words. But one member of Saturday's officiating crew said they're boning up on English and American curses. Carlos Simon will referee the match in Rustenburg, assisted by Roberto Braatz and Altemir Hausmann.

"All players swear, and we know we will hear a few," Hausmann told Brazilian broadcaster Globo Sport.

But swearing a blue streak isn't the only thing that could lead a referee to toss a player from the World Cup. Obscene gestures and overly aggressive behavior are big no-nos, too, and the refs will be on the lookout.

Argentina: The team doctor said all 23 players in coach Diego Maradona's squad are in "optimal" physical condition, refuting rumors that Barcelona star striker Lionel Messi and some others are struggling with injuries ahead of the team's first match.

Speaking to reporters after a training session Thursday, Donato Villani said Maradona will be able to count on the full team for Saturday's match against Nigeria at Ellis Park in Johannesburg. Messi practiced corner kicks at the end of practice.

Italy: Two weeks of training in the Italian Alps has benefited the defending champion as it prepares for matches at high altitude. Team physician Enrico Castellacci said that compared with last year's Confederations Cup in South Africa in which Italy failed to make it past the group phase, players are no longer having trouble catching their breath or sleeping through the night.

Italy spent 15 days preparing for the World Cup in Sestriere at an altitude of 6,670 feet. Sluggish performances in friendlies against Mexico and Switzerland last week prompted fears they had overdone altitude training. Italy's South African training base in Irene, near Pretoria, is at about 4,600 feet.

Netherlands: The team was banned from using Twitter during the tournament after a player used a Dutch term insulting to Moroccans on a live streaming video. De Telegraaf reported that coach Bert van Marwijk barred players from using the social networking website and other real-time Internet media because of striker Eljero Elia's mistake. Elia will not be punished, the paper said.

The incident was recorded and has been reposted on YouTube. In the clip, several players were competing on a video game in their hotel room in front of an Internet audience. Elia appears to make the remark in response to a jesting insult a Moroccan friend made on a chat connected with the video.

The paper said Elia has apologized and that he used the term without racist intent.

The English and Spanish teams were banned from using Twitter by their coaches from the start.

A crash course in cursing 06/11/10 [Last modified: Friday, June 11, 2010 12:13am]

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