Early Doors

Egypt-Algeria: A proper rivalry

Early Doors

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It you are one of those insular types who thinks that
Blackburn v Burnley is the biggest rivalry in world football, or who excitedly
predicts 'it's
all going to go off' whenever one of
3,718 annual London derbies takes place, Early Doors advises you to watch today's World Cup play-off between Egypt and Algeria.

The two teams have hated each other for a while - at least
since 1989 when Egypt's doctor lost an eye after getting glassed in the
face by an Algerian player.

Today's game was rendered necessary by the Pharaohs' extraordinary 2-0 win on Saturday, featuring a crucial
95th-minute header by Emad Motaeb,
which left the two countries with identical records in their group.

The fixture in Cairo was marred by
violence. Three Algerian players were injured when the team bus was stoned, while
skirmishes broke out all over the place, including at a joint pop concert by
crooners Cheb Khaled and Mohamed Mounir, which is a bit like a Michael
Buble gig descending into chaos.

The shockwaves
were felt as far away as France,
where rioting took place in three major cities including Marseille, where thugs
set fire to, and sank, several boats in the harbour.

Rather than playing the game at a genuinely neutral venue
like Dubai or - here's an idea -
South Africa, CAF chose the most politically unstable venue they could find;
Sudan.

Why Sudan?
Presumably Somalia
was booked up.

A 15,000-strong police force will attempt to keep rival fans
apart, but if things do get out of hand you can rely on the two teams to calm everybody
down.

Oh, what's that?
You can't.

Algerian FA chief Mohammed Raouraoua blamed Saturday's violence on his Egyptian counterpart Samir Zaher,
whom he described as: "The
origin of all the events that have occurred, including the barbaric aggression
that injured our players."

Egpyt, meanwhile, denied the bus attack ever took place,
presumably accusing the bloodied Algerian players of some Harlequins-style fakery.

And if a chance to watch a live expression of pure hatred
were not inducement enough, let's
not forget there is a place at the World Cup for the winner.

All told, it rather knocks the European play-offs into a
cocked hat. Still, we've got live
coverage of the whole World Cup shebang, including all the build up from the Stade de
France where our resident Irishman Sean Fay will be donning his oversized
green, white and orange hat to cheer on Trap's
boys.

Watch Egypt
v Algeria
LIVE at 5.30pm on Wednesday on British Eurosport (Sky 410 / Virgin Media 521);
Also available on your PC via the Eurosport Player

- - -

Liverpool have risked
angering Alex Ferguson after apparently endorsing a film that portrays Gary
Neville and him in a somewhat unflattering manner.

Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher both make brief cameos in
a film that features a Fergie lookalike as a whisky-swilling 'McTaggart',
who phones up a Gary Neville character called 'Rat
Boy'.

Early Doors is fine with anything that stokes up tension
between the two clubs, but it was horrified by the less-than-razor-sharp wit.

In case the humour is too subtle for you, let ED explain. Ferguson has a red face and comes from Glasgow, hence McTaggart. And Gary Neville
looks a little bit like a rat.

That sort of puerile name-calling should be kept to the
playground, or possibly a morning football blog, not projected on to the big
screen.

ED hears Rio Ferdinand is planning to bankroll a response,
featuring Rafa Benitez as a fat Spanish waiter, and Carra and Gerrard as shellsuit-wearing
scallies with hubcaps under their arms.

Except United wouldn't
respond. It's nothing to do with
showing restraint or taking the moral high road - more an unshakeable belief
that their innate superiority entitles them not to get involved in tit-for-tat
name-calling.

The film neatly illustrates the difference between the two
clubs' mentalities.

Liverpool are bitterly adversarial,
determined to make everything about United, even when it isn't.

United are so arrogant, it wouldn't
even occur to them to think about Liverpool
during a European final.

Neither standpoint has any merit, but it's nice to think that England's
top clubs can find a variety of ways to be obnoxious.

- - -

QUOTE OF THE DAY: Wayne Rooney on Fabio Capello: "It's just little things. Like when he walks down the
corridor past you.  The way he holds
himself, the way he looks at you. You just know he's
a tough man - he has that aura about him. Sometimes he just walks by as if you're not even there and it can be quite intimidating.
When we get to the England
camp we're there for football - not
to discuss his private life or talk about art." That news again - Rooney
does not discuss art with Capello.

FOREIGN VIEW: Asian Cup holders Iraq face being
kicked out of world football after the country's
FA was disbanded by a rival sports authority.

"FIFA has learnt that the Iraqi Olympic Committee announced the
dissolution of the governing board of the Iraqi Football Association," a
FIFA statement said.

"The basis on which such a decision could be taken is incomprehensible
to FIFA. This stands in total contradiction with IFA and FIFA statutes."

The leaders of Iraq's Olympic committee and the Iraqi Football
Association have been embroiled in a power struggle for control of the sport
for at least a year.

Olympic committee members blame the IFA for a continuing FIFA ban on Iraq hosting
international matches due to lingering insecurity.

FIFA this year allowed Iraq
to host its first friendlies since the 2003 US-led invasion, and Iraq beat Palestine
in two matches played in the northern city of Arbil
and in Baghdad.
But the general ban remains in place.

The Olympic committee has demanded the IFA elect a new governing board but
the football federation has refused to do so.

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