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US forces struggle to get on terms

Written by: Staff
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WUERZBURG, Germany June 17 (Reuters) The 68,000 US troops stationed in Germany should blend in better with the millions of World Cup soccer fans thanks to a crash course on ''clean sheets'', ''nutmegs'' and ''bicycle kicks'' from forces radio.

For American Forces Network, sports news at this time of year would normally be a diet of basketball and baseball scores, but recognising the tournament taking place on the doorstep it is providing tips and phone-in discussions to help soldiers follow the games.

One quiz this week tested listeners' knowledge of soccer terminology that are to most more alien than the sport itself.

A bicycle kick for example: is it an overhead kick with the back to the goal (right answer) or a shot performed with a rapid pedaling motion of the feet? CLEAN SHEET Or a clean sheet: a match in which a team does not concede a goal (right answer) or a goal scored by a player who has dashed unimpeded from one end of the pitch to the other? AFN, which also broadcasts television to bases, will also begin showing fixtures live to soldiers overseas from today, starting with the national side's crucial Group E game against Italy tomorrow.

One thing the broadcaster can do little about, however, is the US team's performance.

Having reached the quarter-finals four years ago, they lost 3-0 to the Czech Republic in their opener on Monday and face elimination if they are defeated again. They meet Ghana in their final group match on Thursday.

REUTERS PDS PM1958

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