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Crouch dance proves a two-step too far at finals

Written by: Staff

LONDON, June 13 (Reuters) British gamblers in search of an oddball bet at the World Cup today mourned the decision by lanky English striker Peter Crouch to cut his cult robot dance.

In the build-up to the tournament, Crouch achieved instant notoriety with his unique goal-scoring celebration that stole the headlines from Wayne Rooney's broken metatarsal.

Even clubbers started ''Doing the Crouch'' on the dance floors of Britain, mimicking his routine that looked like a creaky version of the disjointed droid C3PO in Star Wars.

Prince William asked to see the dance when he visited the England training camp and for bookmakers the beanpole dancer became the top World Cup novelty bet.

But no more.

Crouch now wants to concentrate on the serious business.

''It was a bit of harmless fun at first which seems to have escalated,'' he told reporters as England prepared for its next Group match against Trinidad and Tobago on Thursday.

''If we win the World Cup maybe you will see the whole team do the celebrations but for the moment I don't think I will be doing it again,'' he said.

TOO GANGLY Graham Sharpe, spokesman for the British bookmakers William Hill, said ''It was a great piece of frippery in the build-up.

But it was always like to be a five-minute wonder.'' ''This was never much more than a diversion from the real business. Anyway if Mr Rooney is fully fit, we won't see much more of Mr Crouch,'' he told Reuters.

The 6ft 7in (2.04 metre) Liverpool striker, once booed and mocked by critics who said he was too gangly to be an effective striker, always took his instant celebrity status with a hefty pinch of salt.

''I was goaded into it by the rest of the lads,'' a bashful Crouch said of his impromptu pre-tournament display before William, second in line to the throne and honorary president of the English Football Association.

Crouch joined a long list of goal scorers whose jubilation spills over into riotous and sometimes calamitous celebrations.

Brazil's Romario did a rocking baby routine with Bebeto, Cameroon's Roger Milla danced with a corner flag.

Ireland's Robbie Keane somersaulted and pretended to fire a gun. Germany coach Juergen Klinsmann used to do a diving routine with his former Tottenham Hotspur team mates.

Nigerian striker Julius Aghahowa could always get a job in a circus if all else fails -- he celebrates with seven perfectly executed backflips.

But exuberance can cost strikers dearly.

Portsmouth's Lomana LuaLua does several somersaults -- and got injured last season with one of his trademark goal celebrations and missed the next key relegation match.

Reuters PM DS1345

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