CAGLIARI, Sardinia - Hours after the England-Ireland match was over last night, after the 1-1 tie at Stadio Sant'Elia, rival hooligans from England and Italy spilled into the historic streets of Cagliari to wage a battle for control of the railway station.
The Italian youths, most of them from a local Sardinian gang that calls itself the Ultras, charged a group of about 500 British supporters from gangs such as the West Ham ICF, the Calgary Football Club and the Arsenal Gooners.
One of the Ultras pulled out a chain, swung it around his head and struck an English fan. Four Ultras were arrested by police, who separated the two warring sides after a British hooligan pulled a knife.
The English supporters sang ``Rule Britannia'' into the early-morning hours, racing around the perimeter of the station while shouting obscenities at the Italians.
According to the riot participants, this was just a warmup. The British hooligans are preparing for two ultimate showdowns: a scheduled war Friday against the Dutch, and a battle for the Bronx in 1994.
The hooligans told the New York Daily News they intend to commit similar acts of violence against blacks in New York City in 1994, when the United States plays host to the World Cup.
``We're heading straight for Harlem and the Bronx,'' said a British hooligan named Tyler, from West Ham ICF, who was dressed in Union Jack and shorts. ``British fans are the only fans in the world
that can go anywhere and not be afraid.
``These Italians are just boys,'' Tyler said. ``We don't want to get nicked (arrested) with them. With the Dutch, no one cares about jail. If England loses to Holland, the hooligans win. We just get wilder.''
Tyler said the English fans have switchblades, tear gas, Mace and chains. ``We couldn't smuggle guns in,'' he said.
Meanwhile, in Milan, five German fans were sentenced today to two years in prison for their participation in the violence preceding Sunday's West Germany-Yugoslavia match. They were released on bail but ordered to stay away from the 12 Italian cities where matches are being played.
The charges - including resisting arrest, causing bodily injury and vandalism - resulted from clashes that began when Germans throwing rocks, firecrackers and bottles attacked a group of Yugo-slavs waving their flag on the steps of the Duomo, Milan's spire-topped cathedral.
Belgium 2, South Korea 0
-- VERONA, Italy - Striker Marc Degryse and defender Michel De Wolf broke down the tough South Korean defense to lead Belgium to an opening-round victory today.
Costa Rica 1, Scotland 0
-- ROME - Costa Rica, making its World Cup debut, pulled off the second stunning upset of the first round yesterday. Almost as lightly regarded as the United States in the soccer world, Costa Rica got a goal by Juan Cayasso and outstanding goalkeeping from Luis Conejo.
Ireland 1, England 1
-- CAGLIARI, Italy - Kevin Sheedy scored in the 74th minute as Ireland earned a tie in a Group F match yesterday. Gary Lineker, the leading scorer in the 1986 World Cup, scored just eight minutes into the game for England.
-- U.S. midfielder Eric Wynalda was suspended for one game and fined $7,025 for ungentlemanly conduct in the U.S. World Cup opener against Czechoslovakia. Two Cameroon players received the same punishment for rough play in their game against Argentina. Wynalda will be out when the U.S. plays Italy tomorrow.