Football's world governing body has selected four players each from the Italian and Croatian football teams for drug tests, in what is believed to be the first time FIFA has carried out random checks before the start of a World Cup. In the past, players have been tested for banned substances after matches at the tournament. But FIFA communications chief Keith Cooper said on Monday that the aim in 2002 is for each team to be tested at least once between the qualifying and the finals.

Four players in Italy's and Croatia's training camps were selected to take the surprise urine tests. The results will come back in three to five days.

Other sports such as athletics and swimming have been using surprise training tests for years to catch cheats who use banned substances while they are preparing for an event, but make sure their bodies are clear of drugs when they compete.