Player gets yellow thrice!

BERLIN: English referee Graham Poll was lucky his oversight in awarding three yellow cards to the same player in one World Cup match did not result in Australia’s game against Croatia needing to be replayed. Poll will may lose future assignments but it could have been worse. If either Croatia or Australia had protested the 2-2 draw in Thursday’s match because of the error, organizers might have been forced to replay the match. That has happened in qualifying, but never at the tournament. Surprisingly, the referee, two linesmen and the fourth official did not notice or act when Croatia defender Josep Simunic’s second caution was not followed by a red card.

Neville resumes training

BUHLERTAL: Gary Neville resumed light training, hoping to prove his fitness ahead of England’s knockout game against Ecuador on Sunday. The 31-year-old, who won his 80th cap in England’s opening 1-0 win over Paraguay, has been struggling to recover from a torn calf muscle which has kept him out of the last two games. But a scan on Wednesday gave him the all clear to train again.

Hooligans intercepted

VIENNA: Austrian authorities said on Friday they had intercepted three known hooligans from Croatia who tried to enter Germany for their team’s World Cup match against Australia. Police in Salzburg said in a statement that the three people were on international wanted lists. Their names were not immediately released. Officials said the three were stopped on Thursday at the Walserberg checkpoint on the Austria-Germany border and forced to turn back. They were en route to Stuttgart for Thursday’s match, which ended in a 2-2 draw to eliminate Croatia.

De Rossi banned

BERLIN: Italy midfielder Daniele De Rossi was suspended for four matches and United States defender Pablo Mastroeni received a three-match ban after FIFA’s disciplinary committee reviewed their red cards at the World Cup. De Rossi elbowed Brian McBride in the face during the 1-1 draw at Kaiserslautern last Saturday. Mastroeni was sent off at the end of the first half after a late two-footed tackle on Andrea Pirlo. De Rossi was also fined $8,000, while Mastroeni was fined $6,000, FIFA said on Friday.

Mark may be recalled

STUTTGART: Guus Hiddink is expected to recall goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer for Monday’s last 16 match with Italy after his bold selection gamble with Zeljko Kalac almost ended Australia’s dream. Coach Hiddink made another of his daring selection calls bringing in Kalac for the match with Croatia only for Kalac to make a fumble and gift the Croatians a 2-1 lead with just over 30 minutes left.