Beckenbauer told ZDF television that referee Coffi Codjia's yellow cards in the match between Ecuador and Costa Rica "were stupid." Codjia handed out five yellows, about average for the competition so far.

"As a referee in that situation, I have to go over to the player and let him know that next time he will receive a yellow card," Beckenbauer said. "If the players are booked again, they will miss a match -- and that is out of proportion."

FIFA has ordered referees at the World Cup to clamp down on time wasting by immediately carding offenders. Players were told about the harsher line in pre-tournament briefings.

The network averaged a 1.3 rating over the first 14 games, as opposed to a 0.6 from 2002, when games were aired in the middle of the night because of the tournament being held in South Korea and Japan.

ABC broadcast three games from the tournament's opening weekend. The network's broadcasts last weekend, none of which included the U. S. team, drew an average overnight rating of 2.8, a 65 percent increase over the network's average from two matches during the opening weekend of the 2002 World Cup.

Dutch insurance companies are being inundated with claims from soccer fanatics who have experienced World Cup-linked accidents -- from shattered sofas to orange hair dye stains, according to a Dutch newspaper.

Marije van Breugel of Interpolis insurance company told national daily De Telegraaf that the company's call center was flooded after the Netherlands' 1-0 victory over Serbia-Montenegro.

"They are strange cases. One family broke their sofa during the match," Van Breugel said. "After the goal they all leapt up only to crash through the sofa when they all sat down again."

Another family filed a claim after visitors who came to watch the match with them left furniture stained with their face paint and hair dye -- all in the national team's color of orange.

Other accidents included a man who sent plates crashing to the ground when he jumped up and another who smashed his wife's glasses in the excitement of the victory.

Michael Ballack, who missed the opening match of the World Cup because of an injury, will play for Germany against Ecuador on Tuesday in a game that will determine which team wins its group, Coach Juergen Klinsmann said.

A FIFA investigation into allegations that Paraguay sold hundreds of its allotted World Cup tickets to an unauthorized reseller has cleared the national association of any wrongdoing.

Brazilian star Ronaldinho, a two-time FIFA Player of the Year, said he's aware he has to play better after an ordinary first game in which he wasn't that big a factor.

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