Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Sports

Algerian coach lets players decide about fasting

PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil — Algeria's players are being left to decide if they will observe the Ramadan fast during today's game against Germany.

Muslims avoid food and liquids from dawn to dusk during the month of Ramadan but can skip it if traveling or doing physical labor. Today's game begins about an hour before dusk.

Coach Vahid Halilhodzic, who is Muslim, said fasting was a "private issue."

"When you ask this question, you lack respect and ethics," he said in response to repeated questions about fasting. "I would like this to stop. Talk about football. Otherwise, I will get up and leave."

History lesson: In 1982, Algeria was playing in its first World Cup while West Germany was the reigning European champ. The Germans didn't watch game film and coach Jupp Derwall, said if Algeria won, he would "jump on the first train back to Munich." Algeria won 2-1.

"We haven't forgotten," Halilhodzic said. "We talk all the time about the match."

In the last group game, West Germany and Austria conspired to let West Germany win 1-0. That kept Algeria out of the second round, drew worldwide condemnation and led to the final group matches being played at the same time.

Referee chosen: FIFA picked Djamel Haimoudi for Tuesday's U.S.-Belgium game. The Algerian worked the Netherlands' 3-2 win over Australia and Costa Rica's 0-0 tie with England.

Unhappy presidents: The presidents of Cameroon and Ghana called for investigations into their team's elimination in the group stage. Cameroon's Paul Biya gave his prime minister one month to submit a report on the "inglorious campaign." Ghana's John Mahama already has fired his sports minister.

Investigation: FIFA is considering action against the Brazilian confederation's spokesman over a confrontation with Chile forward Mauricio Pinilla at halftime Saturday. Rodrigo Paiva said he shoved Pinilla in self-defense but didn't throw a punch. The scuffle was sparked by Brazil striker Fred slapping Chile striker Gary Medel on the back of the head.

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