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Team UNICEF Would Be a Powerhouse

May 19, 2006

If ``Team UNICEF″ was playing at the World Cup, it would have a pretty good chance of winning the tournament.

UNICEF, the United Nations children’s program, is teaming up with FIFA to show how soccer ``can create self-esteem, self-confidence and trust among children.″

``UNICEF and FIFA share a common commitment to transforming young athletes into upstanding citizens,″ UNICEF executive director Ann M. Veneman said in a statement.

Fifteen players who are participating in the World Cup have joined the ``team,″ led by UNICEF goodwill ambassador David Beckham, the England captain.

Besides Beckham, ``Team UNICEF″ includes Didier Drogba of the Ivory Coast, Francesco Totti of Italy, Edwin van der Sar of the Netherlands, Lionel Messi of Argentina, Hidetoshi Nakata of Japan and Tim Howard of the United States.

``FIFA is pleased to be working with UNICEF to carry the message that sport _ and particularly football _ is a peace-building exercise and the core of childhood, and one that can contribute to making the world a better place,″ FIFA president Sepp Blatter said.

FIFA also signed an agreement with Kobalt Music Group to be the exclusive administrator for the World Cup’s ``Official Melody.″

The 30-second melody, written by Nadir Khayat and Bilal Hajji, will be incorporated into several other songs, including the ``Official Single″ and other pieces of music to be used throughout the tournament.

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SEX SELLS: Sex sells, and Beate Uhse AG is hoping to capitalize on that at the World Cup.

Germany’s biggest erotic retailer will be selling products geared toward visitors who travel to the country for next month’s soccer tournament.

The company will be selling items such as women’s clothing, including underwear and tight-fitting shirts, in team colors, and a sport-themed pornographic film.

The underwear will be sold in plastic soccer balls, and the film is about a group of men who neglect their girlfriends because the World Cup is going on.

``We will attract both women and men, and especially the tourists who come to visit Germany on the occasion of the World Cup,″ Beate Uhse spokeswoman Assia Tschernookoff said. ``They will visit the shops because of curiosity, and then probably take home some of our products made for the World Cup as souvenirs.″

The company will also sell female sexual aids with ``Spielfuhrer,″ or ``Team Captain″ and ``Heimspieler,″ or ``Home Team Player″ written across them.

Beate Uhse was a pilot in Germany in the 1930s, and she later became a captain in the German Luftwaffe flying fighter planes.

After the war, with her husband dead, she entered the erotica business. She died in 2001 at age 81, but the company continues to thrive.

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FOOSBALL WORLD CUP: The competitors from the United States are the favorites to win the World Cup this year in Germany.

Not the soccer World Cup, though. The Americans are the dominant force in foosball, or table soccer.

Americans have won more than 20 international titles, and they are expected to add another at the International Table Soccer Federation World Cup next week in Hamburg.

The U.S. team boasts many of the top foosball players in the world, including captain Robert Mares and Billy Pappas.

The main competition is expected to come from top-ranked Frederico Collignon of Belgium and Rob Atha of England. Other top teams include Italy, France, Denmark, Austria, Canada and Costa Rica.

The tournament will feature teams from 20 countries, with each team comprising eight to 10 players.

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GOING, GOING, SOLD: The soccer shirt worn by George Cohen when England won the 1966 World Cup title will be auctioned by Christie’s on June 27.

The long-sleeved red shirt with No. 2 on the back is expected to fetch about $37,600.

England beat West Germany 4-2 in the 1966 final, and Cohen exchanged his shirt with winger Lothar Emmerich after the match. Emmerich has since died.

The red shirt has a three lions badge on the left breast, and slight tears on the front and right sleeve.

``It is not in the best condition, but it shouldn’t really affect its value,″ said David Convery, head of sports memorabilia at Christie’s. ``It is the right time to sell. It is the 40th anniversary, the World Cup is in Germany, and England have got a really good chance of winning.″

Another England shirt from 1966, when England won its only World Cup, is being sold. The spare No. 16 shirt for midfielder Martin Peters is expected to get $1,900-$2,800.

The shirt Pele wore at the 1970 World Cup, when Brazil won its third title, sold for $297,000 at auction in 2002.

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