ROME, JULY 3 -- While Argentina defeated Italy in Naples for a spot in the World Cup final, officials in Turin were getting ready today for an influx of English and German fans who carry a nasty reputation -- and an ugly recent history.

English fans have been involved in confrontations with locals and police on the island of Sardinia and the seaside resort of Rimini in the last month. West Germany supporters clashed with police and Yugoslav fans in Milan.

The situation is even more touchy because 39 fans, most of them Italians and rooters for Juventus of Turin, died in rioting caused by English fans supporting Liverpool during the European Cup of Champions final in Brussels in 1985.

Britain's Sports Minister, Colin Moynihan, toured the 80,000-seat Communale Stadium today and participated in plans to keep as many rival visiting fans apart as possible for Wednesday's game.

"We are conscious that there is potential trouble coming from both directions," Moynihan said. "We are as concerned about the Italian Ultras fans as about the West German hooligans."

And what about the English rowdies?

"It would appear that a lot of English fans are staying down in Sorrento tonight and, if Italy beats Argentina, the locals will be out in the streets celebrating," Moynihan said. "There was trouble involving English and Italians in Alghero {Sardinia} and in Rimini after Italy had played."

He also remembers the so-called "Battle of Turin" at the 1980 European Championships, when English fans wrecked dozens of bars after their team's 1-1 tie with Belgium.

Some 5,000 police will be deployed in Turin to monitor the fans' behavior.

Moynihan said English fans behaved "exceptionally well" during their five-day stay in Naples, where England gained its semifinal place with a 3-2 victory over Cameroon. He said he was encouraged that of the 5,000 to 6,000 English fans who had traveled throughout Italy for the competition, there had been only 55 arrests.

"Fifty-five arrests are 55 too many, and I deplore each and every one," Moynihan said. "But given the long time the English have been here, the security arrangements have worked very well."

As for the game itself, injury-plagued England faces a mountainous task when it tries to stop West Germany from reaching the World Cup final for the third straight time. The West Germans lost to Italy in 1982 and Argentina in 1986. West Germany, playing in a record ninth semifinal, won the World Cup in 1954 and 1974.

With striker Rudi Voeller returning to the West German lineup after suspension, Coach Franz Beckenbauer's team will be at full strength.

"I said at the beginning of the tournament that England is capable of winning the World Cup," Beckenbauer said. "I have not changed my opinion. But I do think we have the better team. I think we can progress if we continue playing as we have."

Certainly, the West Germans must be favored. They have displayed few, if any, weaknesses in their five games. England has been more lucky than good in many instances, particularly against Belgium and Cameroon in its last two games.

England lacks the West Germans' depth and has injury problems. Manager Bobby Robson is hoping sweeper Mark Wright and centerback Des Walker will be fit for England's first World Cup semifinal on foreign soil. Winger John Barnes is out.

Wright ended Sunday's quarterfinal victory over Cameroon with a bandaged head and seven stitches in a gashed eyebrow. Walker has a recurring ankle injury. England's captain, Bryan Robson, was sent home with a foot problem.