World Cup Gossip - England given controversial ref for USA game

07 June 2010 12:31

In the first of a new daily feature, brings you all the latest gossip coming straight out of South Africa.

Today - England's dodgy referee, Benni McCarthy's late night party and more.

- World Cup mini-site

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The biggest and most controversial story of the day centres around the referee for England's opening Group C game.

Brazilian official Carlos Eugenio Simon has been confirmed as the man in charge for Saturday's crucial clash with the USA, despite being suspended by his national federation amid accusations of bribery and incompetence.

Simon, who has officiated at the last two World Cups, was stood down for the final six weeks of the Brazilian season after a number of high-profile errors led to the president of Palmeiras calling him "a crook and a scoundrel".

Flamengo also reported him to FIFA last year, sending both a letter and accompanying DVD to highlight his decision to send-off striker Diego Tardelli for diving.

If England are on the end of a dodgy decision come Saturday evening, the conspiracy theorists are sure to have a field day.

- World Cup fixtures

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On a lighter note, Benni McCarthy's shock omission from the South Africa squad may not have been purely down to footballing reasons.

Despite coach Francisco Gonzalez stating that "Benni's body fat percentage is high", following concerns over his fitness, reports now claim the West Ham striker was caught entertaining women in his room while the team were at their training camp.

Apparently Benni held a joint party with goalkeeper Rowen Fernandez which lasted until 4am. Manager Carlos Alberto Parreira was shown CCTV footage of the pair and quickly ejected them from the squad.

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After being ruled out of the World Cup with a knee injury, Ghana midfielder Michael Essien looks set to stay with the Black Stars as they bid to fight their way out of Group D.

The Chelsea man has told the rest of the squad he'd like to stay on in a 'Beckham-like' role for as long as they remain in the tournament.

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Finally, South African breweries, the largest brewery in the country, have revealed that they expect to sell around 600 million bottles of beer to thirsty football fans during the World Cup.

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Source: DSG