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SCORECARD
Edited by Craig Neff
December 18, 1989
CURRYING DISFAVOR
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December 18, 1989

Scorecard

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Soundproof earmuffs were also rejected, because Bevo would shake them off. The speech and hearing clinic is open to other suggestions and has already made one to Bevo's handlers and the cannon crew: that they wear something to protect their ears, too.

THE A TEAM

SI's Clive Gammon on last Saturday's draw in Rome for the 1990 World Cup:

Ever since Nov. 19, when the U.S. soccer team qualified for the World Cup finals for the first time in 40 years, there had been speculation that the Americans would end up playing in the same first-round group as the championship favorite, Italy. Lo and behold, at the celebrity-studded, internationally televised draw at Rome's Palazzo dello Sport, Sophia Loren, the Cup's designated madrina, or godmother, picked a plastic ball out of a glass bowl and confirmed just that.

FIFA, soccer's governing body, has a knack for making the draw turn out the way FIFA wants. In this case, as a trade-off for being served up as an hors d'oeuvre to the Italians on June 14 in Group A, the U.S. will get the kind of exposure it needs to boost interest in its hosting of the Cup in 1994. The Americans will play in the high-profile venues of Florence and Rome.

That trade-off seems to have been lost on U.S. coach Bob Gansler. "We know we are dead ducks against Italy," he said after the draw. Gansler isn't quite as daunted by the other two Group A teams, Czechoslovakia and Austria. However, he exaggerated some in saying that the Czechs had had "a great qualifying run," and he compared Austria's style to that of powerful West Germany. In truth, Austria is probably the weakest of the second-level European teams to qualify.

The draw divided the field into six groups of four teams apiece. The top two finishers in each group plus the four third-place teams with the best records will advance to the round of 16. Not surprisingly, FIFA seeded England in Group F, which will play its games on the islands of Sardinia and Sicily. FIFA hoped that these relatively isolated sites would be out of reach of much of England's hooligan following. But a complication developed. Out of the bowl, along with Egypt, came the names of Ireland and the Netherlands. The Irish and English aren't exactly genial neighbors, and the Netherlands' soccer hooliganism may actually be worse than England's. Ajax, the most prestigious Dutch club, recently was banned from European competition for one year because of fan rowdiness. England and the Netherlands will meet on Sardinia on June 16, proving, perhaps, that FIFA's magic with the draw doesn't always work.

AT LAST, THE SOUTH POLE

A beleaguered Will Steger finally reached the South Pole on Monday, half a month late. The six men and 30 remaining dogs of his expedition, which set off in July on the first unmechanized crossing of Antarctica (SI, July 31), had hoped to hit this midway point of their 4,000-mile trek by Thanksgiving, but they have been beset by adversity.

In September the team was tentbound for 11 days during a ferocious storm that created a white-out of blowing snow. Temperatures dropped to—45�, winds gusted to 100 mph and the windchill hit a marrow-freezing—110�. The expedition finally resumed its journey but encountered several weeks more of continuous storms, which left every member of the team frostbitten. Three of the 10 food caches staked out in advance between the starting point and the Pole were buried by snow and never found.

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