Fair Play Day had a nice ring to it at the featured matchup so far in the World Cup. There wasn't that feel-good sensation away from the field.
For every thrilling goal, for every show of sportsmanship in Iran's 2-1 victory over the United States on Sunday, there seemed to be a contentious or nasty development away from the stadiums to counter it.The worst came from Lens, where a French policeman was in a coma and on a respirator Monday after being struck on the head with an iron bar in clashes following Germany's 2-2 tie with Yugoslavia. Television footage showed the policeman lying on the pavement in a pool of blood. French police said the person who attacked the officer was a German and had been arrested.
And 96 fans, mostly Germans, were detained after skirmishes with riot police before and after the match. Six were immediately deported. More than 20 of those detained before the match were skinheads, thought to have neo-Nazi connections.
Ominously, regional prefect Daniel Cadoux said the hooligans were "perfectly organized" and "for the most part sober - not like the ones in Marseille," referring to English fans who rampaged in the southern French city last weekend before and after a match against Tunisia.
"They didn't come to support their team," Cadoux said. "They came to smash things up, to attack security forces."
The World Cup organizing committee called the latest violence "cold and gratuitous." And FIFA called an emergency meeting of its Cup Committee to discuss possible action against the hooligans.
In other games, Gabriel Batistuta scored the tournament's first hat trick and Ariel Ortega connected twice in Argentina's 5-0 rout of Jamaica. All three of Batistuta's goals came within 11 minutes in the second half. Argentina and Croatia advanced to the second round from Group H.
"We knew that we had to score several goals so as not to be at a disadvantage," Argentina coach Daniel Passarella said. "But sincerely, I didn't think we would score so many."
In a showdown between two of Europe's top teams, Germany rallied from 2-0 down in the second half to salvage a 2-2 draw with Yugoslavia.
Oliver Bierhoff's header in the 80th minute followed Michael Tarnat's deflected free-kick goal (off a Yugoslav defender) in the 74th to keep Germany in first place in Group F on goal differential. Dejan Stankovic and Dragan Stojkovic netted for the Yugoslavs, who have not beaten Germany in 25 years.
"We made possible what seemed impossible," German coach Berti Vogts said. "We turned defeat into a near victory. . . . They wanted to toy with us instead of trying to score a third goal, and they got punished for that."