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Anorak | Brawl Sports

Brawl Sports

by | 13th, October 2003

‘LIKE after a playground squabble, England and Turkey are left squabbling over who started the half-time brawl that marred the countries’ Euro 2004 qualifier on Saturday.

Matt Dawson – one of England’s injured trio

But the English papers have no doubt who is responsible – Turk defender Alpay being variously described as “coward” (Sun), “disgraced” (Mail) and “berk” (Star).

All of which means that Alpay may be on his way from Aston Villa, where he has hardly endeared himself to the fans anyway.

He tells the Mirror that he is poised to quit the Midlands club after reading reports from supporters’ organisations that he is no longer welcome at the club.

Alpay incurred the wrath of English players and fans after taunting David Beckham for missing a first-half penalty in the 0-0 draw.

And he was then seen poking his finger into the England captain’s face as the two teams went off at half-time.

“Alpay’s thuggish half-time attack on Becks sparked a 50-man tunnel brawl in the Sukru Saracoglu stadium,” says the Sun.

And leading the charge for England was the youngest player on the pitch, Wayne Rooney.

The Mail says the 17-year-old Everton star, who was a boxer in his schooldays, landed a right-hand punch on Alpay’s nose during the fracas.

Ashley Cole also squared up to defend his team-mates, while Emile Heskey was said to have been incensed by a racist taunt.

However, no action is likely to be taken against either team by Uefa, despite the incident being described as “a mini-riot”.

The Mail says referee Pierluigi Collina “has mentioned it in passing in his report but has recommended no further action be taken on the basis that he had dealt with the incident at the time”.

As for events on the pitch, the point means that England will spend next summer in Portugal at the European Championship finals as long as their fans don’t misbehave between now and then.

And so will Sven Goran Eriksson, after he confirmed to the Star (at the fifth time of asking) that he would remain in charge of the team.

It was a mixed weekend for England’s rugby players, who thrashed Georgia 84-6 in their opening game of the World Cup, but managed to end up with all three of their scrum halves injured.

To make matters worse, reserve scrum half Austin Healey is also injured, meaning that coach Clive Woodward may have to call up fifth choice Martyn Wood for next week’s crucial game against South Africa.’



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