Germany Shaken by Soccer Hooliganism

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The German soccer hooligans who left a French policeman in a deep coma on Sunday so shocked their country that Germany offered to withdraw from the World Cup -- an offer unlikely to be accepted not only because it would badly hurt the World Cup, but also since German fans are by no means the only offenders. "Although the offer reflects German sensitivity to the image of skinheads in combat boots wreaking havoc abroad, it is also connected with the 2006 World Cup," says TIME Bonn bureau chief Jordan Bonfante. "Germany wants to host that tournament, which makes them bend over backward to show contrition over this hooliganism in case it affects their bid." Because it won't much help Germany's case that the German thugs -- in contrast with their English counterparts -- were reportedly sober and well-organized.