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Sunday, December 04, 2005

Hooligans may damage World Cup 2006

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Germany's fight to cut out hooligans ahead of the World Cup suffered a setback on Saturday when Hamburg's Alexander Laas was left with blood pouring from a head wound after being hit by missiles thrown from the crowd. Trouble flared when Cologne away fans threw several objects, including wooden drumsticks, onto the pitch in their 3-1 Bundesliga win.

Benjamin Lauth scored in the 54th minute to put hosts Hamburg two goals in front and it was during the post-goal celebrations that Cologne fans reacted angrily.

Plastic cups and drumsticks swamped the pitch and the 21-year-old Laas, a 17th minute substitute for Rafael van der Vaart, was pictured with blood gushing from his head.

"I went to celebrate with my teammates and got hit by a hard object," recalled the midfielder.

"I did not know what it was but the head still hurts now. That is obviously not part of football."

Referee Jochen Drees stopped play and Laas played on after being patched up by the Hamburg medical team but there are sure to be consequences with World Cup hosts Germany adopting a zero tolerance policy.

"That is the ugly side of football," explained Hamburg striker Sergei Barbarez.

"It should not happen particularly with the World Cup in Germany just around the corner."

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