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Football: VOGTS GOES INTO BATTLE WITH RIVALS.

Byline: By MARK GUIDI

FIRED-UP Berti Vogts has declared WAR in Friday's 2006 World Cup fixture meeting with group rivals Italy, Slovenia, Norway, Belarus and Moldova.

The Scotland boss will go into battle in Rome determined to come away with his dream start of a home double header on September 4 and 8 against Moldova and Italy.

But he knows television money will be the deciding factor and that tips the balance of power heavily in the favour of Italy and their boss Giovanni Trappatoni.

Vogts said: ``This is not ameeting, it's a war. I did it with Germany but with them it was easier to dominate.

``We will all go to Rome with our own plans and I want Moldova and Italy at home in our first two games.

``But Italy might also want Moldova and they might get what they want because money talks with the television people.

``I have a plan and a good idea of what I'm looking for. I also want to have two of our last three games in the group at Hampden.

Computer ``In the Euro 2004 group we had three double headers and lost the second match, which was always away from home, every time.

``We lost to Lithuania, Germany and Holland. It's something I'm looking at and maybe I would prefer to do it differently.''

Vogts isn't a fan of meetings between countries to sort out fixtures and would prefer to bring in a rule like UEFA do for the Champions League by which a computer arranges dates and venues.

He said: ``It's easier for the big nations to get what they want and they should look at introducing the computer to sort it out. It would be the fairest way.''

Scotland's preparations start next month in a friendlyagainst Wales in Cardiff. Vogts will of course be without Paul Lambert who has retired from international football.

Scotland skipper Barry Ferguson broke his kneecap last month and no date has been set for his return.

Vogts hopes the Blackburn midfielder will be ready to play as soon as possible and hasn't decided who will take the armband.

He said: ``I will visit Barry the week after next. It's a bad injury and I hope he's back playing quickly.

``I know a couple of players in Germany who had the same injury one took three and half months to play again, the other eight months.

``Nobody knows yet for sure Barry's timescale.

``I will have to choose a captain and I don't know who. It could be Christian Dailly or Steven Pressley.

``I'm also thinking about Darren Fletcher to send out a signal to the young generation.

``I've no doubts Darren could handle it. He plays for Manchester United and can do special things.''

Vogts believes it's better that his squad missed out on Portugal this summer.

He said: ``We need time and experience and are not ready for three major games in 11 or 12 days.

``We will put all our efforts into getting to Germany.''

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jan 11, 2004
Words:513
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