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Top 10 World Cup bans

ESPN staff
October 18, 2013
Fabio Capello put a stop to England's WAG-fuelled circus © Getty Images
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With news that the Italy squad will not be allowed to use using social networking sites during next year's World Cup, ESPN delves into the archives to find ten other examples of World Cup bans.

10. The Caxirola, 2014


Ah, the vuvuzela. Just the mere mention of the blasted horn still sends a shiver down the spine.

So what will we be subjected to in Brazil next year? Meet the caxirola - a plastic instrument which you bang together.

Yep, that's really it. (And the inventor won an award for it.)

But REJOICE! They've been banned - and we have the fans of rival Brazilian teams Bahia and Vitoria to thank after they were hurled onto the pitch during one particularly fiery encounter earlier in the year.

"The secretariat of major events decided that from a public safety standpoint, it would not be appropriate to allow it inside stadiums," Brazil's justice minister Jose Eduardo Cardozo said.

Hear, hear!

9. Mexico, 1990


Mexico managed to get themselves banned from Italia 90 after using players over the age limited allowed by FIFA in the 1989 World Youth Championship qualifying round.

The senior team looked like they might escape sanction but the but the suspension was extended from just the World Youth team to those going to the World Cup.

8. North Korea's bad moments, 2010


With Kim Jong-Il banning state-run North Korea TV stations from broadcasting live games during the 2010 World Cup, at least nobody back home saw Jong Tae-Se blub like a baby © Getty Images
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Remember Kim Jong-Il, the North Korean leader who once claimed he carded five holes-in-one in a single round of golf - his first ever - en route to breaking the world record by some 25 shots?

Well, he also banned the state-run television stations from broadcasting live games during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, with only heavily-edited highlights of North Korea victories allowed to be shown back home.

Unfortunately for the country's 29 million population, North Korea were beaten 2-1 by Brazil in their opening game.

They were then absolutely hammered 7-0 by Portugal - spare a thought for whoever put those highlights together - and went down 3-0 to the Ivory Coast as they crashed out at the group stage in spectacular style.

We can't help but wonder if anyone in North Korea knows who even won that World Cup…

7. England fans from mainland Italy, 1990


English football was arguably at its lowest ebb shortly before the World Cup 1990; ministers had even considered pulling England out of Italia 90 in the aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster, according to government reports.

English clubs had been banned from Europe for five years following the Heysel stadium disaster in 1985, while the English game was in the middle of an identity crisis as violence on and off the terraces began to dominate both the back and front pages in the build-up to the tournament.

After qualification for Italia 90, Spain had a stronger claim for seeding but FIFA opted to name England as the seeded team in Group F. Reason being, they wished to contain all England fans - blighted by a reputation of hooliganism - on the island of Sardinia. Other teams in the group played on the island of Sicily, while all games which involved England were held in Cagliari.

With an underlying worry that England fans would create headlines for the wrong reasons, Sir Bobby Robson's men went on to provide one of the most captivating World Cups the English national team had ever been involved in. David Platt's volley against Belgium, Paul Gascoigne's tears and general trouble-free behaviour from the travelling supporters ended their best World Cup turnout since 1966. The extended run meant England fans got to see games on the mainland after all, in Bologna, Naples and Turin.

6. Brazil players having sex, 2002


Sex bans are common among squads during tournaments. But none have been nearly as entertaining as the antics of Brazil in recent years.

Last time out, manager Dunga denied he had banned sex, saying he would leave it up to the players to decide whether they abstained. Bizarrely, he concluded his decision with: "Not everyone likes sex."

Four years previous, Carlos Alberto Parreira had no problems with his players getting' jiggy wit it in Germany.

"I don't think that sex one day before the game will have any harm on the player. The problem is, they don't eat, they don't sleep, they smoke and they drink. Sex? No, sex is always very good - always welcome."

In 2002, Luis Felipe Scolari was far stricter, banning sex for all 40 days from the start of the training camp until they lifted the trophy.

Legendary striker Ronaldo said: "The manager would tell us that any player who cannot control his penis is not a man, but an irrational animal. The World Cup in 2002 was a wonderful memory but I will always remember the ache down below just as much as lifting the trophy."

But, it turns out, Ronaldo was a bit of a naughty boy - because nine months later a Japanese waitress gave birth to his fourth child.

5. Nicolas Anelka's 18-game ban, 2010


Patrice Evra led a mutiny among the France squad in South Africa after a bust-up with Raymond Domenech over Nicolas Anelka's expulsion © Getty Images
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France brought the hammer down on four players who incited a mutiny against manager Raymond Domenech at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. The players refused to train after Nicolas Anelka was expelled from the squad for verbally abusing Domenech in the dressing room at half-time during the 2-0 defeat to Mexico. Having been told he wasn't playing very well, Anelka told Domenech, "Go f*** yourself, you son of a whore." As you do.

Moments before the public training session, Domenech had to separate captain Patrice Evra and fitness coach Robert Duverne, who stormed away and threw his accreditation badge to the ground. The players then left the pitch and holed up in the team bus where they held a meeting with Domenech behind closed curtains.

"I am disgusted, I am quitting my post," FFF managing director Jean-Louis Valentin said before speeding off from the training ground in his car. "It's a scandal for the French, for the federation and the French team. They don't want to train. It's unacceptable. As for me, it's over. I'm leaving the federation. I'm sickened."

Anelka was later suspended for 18 games, with even French president Nicolas Sarkozy having a pop at him. There were also bans for Patrice Evra (five games), Franck Ribery (three games) and Jeremy Toulalan (one game). Eric Abidal got off scot-free.

4. Ireland send their captain home, 2002


Roy Keane secured his exit from the Republic of Ireland's 2002 World Cup squad in typically timid fashion by telling manager Mick McCarthy to "stick it up your bollocks" as they prepared for the tournament in Saipan.

Ireland captain Keane got the hump after the players had to sit in second class on the plane over while the FAI officials laughed it up in first-class luxury. He was also outraged at having to eat a cheese sandwich before a qualifier against the Netherlands because pasta was off the menu. Keane's fury was only exacerbated by what he perceived as shoddy field conditions at Ireland's training base. Oh, and because he thought McCarthy was incompetent.

The management saw Saipan as an opportunity to rest after a long season, but Keane, who told his Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson he was going to the World Cup "to win it", had slightly higher expectations for their preparations.

With a row brewing over an interview Keane gave to the Irish Times, McCarthy accused Keane in a dressing room meeting of faking injury when Ireland were playing Iran in the second leg of their play-off.

"Mick, you're a liar … you're a f***ing w***er," said Keane. "I didn't rate you as a player, I don't rate you as a manager, and I don't rate you as a person. You're a f***ing w***er and you can stick your World Cup up your arse. The only reason I have any dealings with you is that somehow you are the manager of my country! You can stick it up your bollocks."

And on May 21, Keane took his ball and went home.

3. Scotland ban themselves, 1950


FIFA were desperately trying to fill 16 spots for the 1950 World Cup in Brazil, the first staging of the event since the end of the Second World War.

So desperate, in fact, that they told the British teams that the winners and the runners-up of the Home Internationals would be allocated a spot in the finals. But the secretary of the SFA, George Graham, said Scotland would only accept if they became British champions.

England and Scotland both waltzed past Northern Ireland and Wales before the final showdown at Hampden. England snatched it thanks to a goal from Chelsea's Roy Bentley and the begging began.

Unfortunately for the players, Graham stood firm and Scotland stayed at home - effectively banning themselves from the tournament.

Incidentally, the qualifying arrangements were exactly the same four years later and Scotland again finished runners-up. This time, they decided to go. The fact that the World Cup was hosted far closer to home in Switzerland surely had nothing to do with it.

In 1998, Scotland reintroduced this ban on themselves competing at a World Cup. What's that? That isn't self-imposed? Oh...

2. England's WAGs, 2010


Sven-Goran Eriksson's decision to allow the players' wives and girlfriends - affectionately known as WAGs - to stay in the same German spa town as the 2006 squad led to a paparazzi frenzy.

After the tournament, defender Rio Ferdinand admitted that "football became a secondary element" and it was "like a circus".

Four years later, Fabio Capello laid down the law in South Africa - presumably having heard all about the previous antics - and only allowed his players to see their beloved for a few hours after each game.

The Italian told anyone who objected to the ban that they were "more than welcome to stay at home".

1. Cheating Chile, 1990 & 1994


The only entrant on the list to be banned from TWO World Cups. Trailing 1-0 to Brazil in a 1990 World Cup qualifier in Rio, Chile goalkeeper Roberto Rojas staged a cunning plan in a bid to have the opposition booted out of the tournament.

With 70 minutes gone, a flare was thrown into Rojas' penalty area. The No. 1 collapsed to the ground and, using a razor blade hidden in one of his gloves, sliced his head open. The Chilean players walked off, refusing to return to the "unsafe" field of play.

Unfortunately for Rojas and friends, his unthinkable actions were caught on camera and Brazil were awarded a 2-0 victory - eliminating Chile from the 1990 World Cup. They were also banned from the 1994 edition in the US, while Rojas never played professional football again.

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