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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jul 1, 2006

FIFA to probe Berlin shoot-out brawl

BERLIN, July 1 (Reuters) - FIFA will investigate the incidents that led to players and officials from Germany and Argentina clashing on the pitch after the hosts won a penalty shootout in their World Cup quarter-final on Friday.

Argentina's Leandro Cufre, an unused substitute, was shown a red card after the shootout and Germany team manager Oliver Bierhoff, caught in the middle of the melee, said he intervened after a substitute trod on German defender Per Mertesacker.

'Cufre got a red card on the spot -- this means there will be an investigation, like with any other direct red cards,' FIFA spokesman Markus Siegler told reporters at the world governing body's daily briefing on Saturday.

Photographs in German newspapers on Saturday showed Cufre kicking Mertesacker in the midriff.

Siegler said the committee would also look at whether any other players should face disciplinary action.

'On the basis of reports and video, the committee will examine whether other things could be the subject of proceedings,' he said.

'Of course, there is a certain urgency, particularly in the case of the German team, if anyone there was guilty of misconduct, as the German team is playing in the semi-final in Dortmund on Tuesday (against Italy),' he added.

FIFA officials and Slovakian referee Lubos Michel were all caught up in the chaos and punches and kicks appeared to be thrown in scenes which went on for approximately 90 seconds in front of a 72,000 crowd at the Olympiastadion in Berlin.

The trouble appeared to start when Germany midfielder Tim Borowski gestured towards the Argentina players to 'keep quiet' having scored his penalty to make it 4-2 in Germany's favour.

Several Argentine players walked towards him and when Esteban Cambiasso's final spot kick was saved by German keeper Jens Lehmann, giving the hosts a 4-2 shootout victory, defender Fabricio Coloccini approached Germany's Oliver Neuville.

Borowski said Argentine players had made 'certain movements' to try to provoke him before he took his penalty.

'I don't want to go into details but the movements were there and the Argentinians can't exactly declare themselves innocent,' he told reporters. 'They're not exactly saints.'

Bierhoff, who confirmed that FIFA had ordered Germany to put in a report on the brawl, put the blame firmly on Argentina.

'It was a pity that players couldn't keep their tempers and follow the example of the fans, who are celebrating this World Cup together,' Bierhoff said at a news conference on Saturday.

'I know temperament and emotion play a big part in Latin football. They work themselves into an emotional state.