TRANSFER & OTHER DOMESTIC RUMOURS
Chelsea are poised to offer England midfielder Frank Lampard a £40,000-per-week pay rise to persuade him to reject any bid from Barcelona. (The Sun)
Crystal Palace chairman Simon Jordan is poised to make Hull boss Peter Taylor the club's new manager. (Daily Mirror)
Djibril Cisse's broken leg could lead to Blackburn striker Craig Bellamy moving to Liverpool. (Daily Express, Daily Star, The Sun)
Newcastle are preparing a £4m bid for Fulham's transfer-listed midfielder Steed Malbranque. (The Sun, Daily Mirror)
Tottenham are preparing for Manchester United to make a £7m offer for midfielder Michael Carrick after the Old Trafford club made an enquiry this week. (Independent)
New Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate has approved bids for defenders Robert Huth of Chelsea and Standard's Liege's Oguchi Onyewu. (Daily Express)
But Boro could face competition from Premiership rivals Fulham and Reading to land the 24-year-old Onyewu. (The Sun)
Valencia and one other Spanish club have joined Barcelona in the race for Chelsea striker Eidur Gudjohnsen. (Independent)
However, Arsenal are also in the running as manager Arsene Wenger sees the Iceland player as a replacement for Dennis Bergkamp. (Daily Mail)
Arsenal defender Pascal Cygan could be on his way to St Etienne for £1m. (Daily Mirror)
Clubs wishing to buy Birmingham striker Emile Heskey have been told to stump up at least £5m (Daily Express)
Tottenham have been left a clear run in the race to sign Tunisia defender Hatem Trabelsi after Manchester City were priced out. (Daily Mirror)
Rangers will double their bid to £1.5m for Jeremy Clement to secure the Lyon midfielder. (The Sun)
Striker Roman Bednar wants to extend his loan deal from Kaunas with Hearts. (Daily Express)
Celtic have told Everton's Gary Naysmith they will only make a bid for his services if they fail to sign either former Manchester United left-back Quinton Fortune or Sparta Prague's Michal Kadlec. (Daily Record)
The doctor who gave the all-clear to Wayne Rooney only did so because the Football Association said they would accept full liability for any damages. (The Sun)
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was less than happy with the Rooney news and inflicted on Sven-Goran Eriksson a famous hairdryer dressing down over the phone. (Daily Mail, Daily Mirror)
Paraguay striker Roque Santa Cruz has warned England to expect a physical contest in their World Cup opener. (Daily Express)
Sweden's joint Under-21 coach Tommy Soderberg has begun the war of words ahead of the clash with England on 20 June by writing off Sven-Goran Eriksson's forward line. (The Times)
England skipper David Beckham admits that after spending three years in Spain with Real Madrid, he is more used to kissing his team-mates before a game than shaking their hands. (Various)
An amazing 25,000 people turned up to watch Brazil train in Frankfurt on Thursday. (The Times)
Former Germany captain Lothar Matthaus believes England are one of the favourites to win the World Cup - with the form of goalkeeper Paul Robinson the main reason for his optimism. (Daily Telegraph)
Almost one in five of the British public believes England will win the World Cup - which is a greater figure than for Euro 2004. (The Times)
England midfielder Michael Carrick is on standby in case Steven Gerrard cannot make Saturday's game with Paraguay. (Daily Star)
Football's authorities fear a spate of injuries to players at the World Cup will lead to an avalanche of litigation from clubs. (The Guardian)
WORLD CUP FUNNIES
If England players display Ronaldinho-esque ball control tendencies during the World Cup - a Swedish inventor is the man to thank, according to the Sun.
He has invented a boot cream that forms a sticky coating around the leather to improve ball contract and control.
The Sun also reports on a tale of two coaches in the Dutch camp. Holland manager Marco van Basten has expressed his concern about the giant logo emblazoned down the side of the team bus - "Orange on the way to gold".
Van Basten said: "We don't like it - this may be seen as provocation."
Of more concern perhaps is the amount of money paid to whoever came up with such a humorous ctachphrase.
The Sun completes its hat-trick with a story about "Germany's answer to Eileen Drewery" (the faith-healer employed by former England coach Glenn Hoddle).
Players including Michael Ballack and Jens Lehmann have apparently been to see "bizarre new-age therapist" Kurt Schweinberger, who specialises in attaching wires from a patient's pressure points into a glass of water.
Ripples are then studied to see whether the player's organs are "in harmony". The phrase water load of rubbish springs to mind.
Ecuador's Luis Fernando Suarez is the latest coach to impose the obligatory World Cup sex ban on his players - and he has shown solidarity by adopting the vow of celibacy himself.
"Oh that's good," said one female journalist, clearly impressed with Suarez's efforts.
"No. No, it is not good," he replied. "It is not good at all."
According to a recent poll, 6% of Russians are confident they will win the World Cup - even though they did not qualify.
Of the 1,600 people quizzed, Russia came just behind favourites Brazil, who got 10% of the vote, while 75% went for the "hard to say" option.
The British police force has already dispatched some of Her Majesty's finest officers to Germany - now it seems the motoring organisations are getting in on the act as well.
AA patrolman Nick Evers was sent over to Frankfurt ahead of England's game with Paraguay to remind drivers to use the right-hand side of the road and assist with any breakdowns.
"I saw one guy in an England top who had a problem with his
engine overheating so I walked up to him in full uniform and asked if needed a hand," said Nick. "He was gobsmacked!"