Sudden death

Help from above

VIENNA: Joerg Haider, the notorious far-right governor of Carinthia in southern Austria, invited

the Swiss Guards’ football team to visit his province during the Euro. “That way the Vatican state will take part in a European Championship for the first time, at least indirectly,” he said on a recent trip to Rome, during which he met with the Pope. Perhaps he was hoping to garner a little heavenly support for the Austrian team? — AFP

Hard day’s work

VIENNA: The Euro 2008 will be all work and no play for the Swiss government in June. Ministers will each have to attend at least one match, whether they like it or not. Their mission: to meet with their counterparts from various countries in the stands. Swiss President

Pascal Couchepin has already announced he will attend four games, starting with the opening match on June 7 in Basel. It’s hard being a politician. — AFP

Power hungry

VIENNA: The array of spotlights, giant screens and loudspeakers installed in the stadium and public viewing areas around Vienna during the Euro will consume a total four gigawatt hours of electricity... the equivalent of a small town of 2,500 people over an entire year. Pity those who have to pay the bill. — AFP

Surprise, surprise

VIENNA: Sweden’s veteran player Henrik Larsson, 37, will be back in service for the Euro in June, and he was as surprised as anyone to learn he had made the cut. “Of course, I was hoping they’d call me. But since (Swedish coach Lars) Lagerbaeck and Roland (Andersson, assistant coach) hadn’t called, I didn’t call them either.” Keeping mum paid off. — AFP

Doing it right

VIENNA: Faced with a growing number of lexica and language classes offering less-than-serious, if not plain comical, explanations of football rules, the European football association UEFA has decided to strike back. It is now releasing its own official trilingual football dictionary, with over 1,800 football terms explained in French, English and German. Spaniards and Italians were apparently born with that knowledge and need no dictionary. — AFP

Petit ready to retire

VISEU: Portugal’s Petit said he expects to retire from international football after Euro 2008 as injuries take their toll on the 31-year-old midfielder. Petit made the announcement in Viseu, where his team are preparing for the finals. He said: “We have players with a great future ahead of them in the Portugal midfield, so I think it’s time... this will probably last matches for my country.” — Agencies