- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 7, 2010

DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA (AP) - The World Cup semifinal between Germany and Spain was interrupted briefly in the fourth minute Wednesday when an Italian fan carrying a vuvuzela ran onto the field to protest the exclusion of a player from Italy’s squad.

Italian news agency ANSA reported that the intruder is named Mario Ferri, who was wearing a blue T-shirt with a slogan protesting the absence of forward Antonio Cassano from Italy’s national team at the tournament.

Ferri pulled a similar stunt last November during a friendly between Italy and the Netherlands in Pescara.

The fan entered the field near Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer’s net and sprinted almost to midfield before he was caught by security.

His hands were clasped behind his back and he was quickly taken to the sidelines and lifted over the boards. Police then sprinted with the man to a tunnel as play resumed.

South Africa Police Service spokesman Vish Naidoo was unable to confirm the fan’s identity late Wednesday.

South African authorities have created special courts at World Cup stadiums to fast-track cases arising from soccer-related incidents during the tournament.

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