Blowing my Vuvuzela : 2010 World Cup blog

6 August 2010

One month on let’s wrap up the 2010 World Cup with a link to this depressing commentary on the tournament from the New York review of books.

The Shame of the World Cup

As always a tournament that promised so much ended up as a disappointment. The only justice being that the shameless Dutch did not win.

12 July 2010

EK girls were at the medal ceremony after the final: yes they do employ male cabin crew though you would not know it from their marketing campaigns:

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The Dutch are still complaining that the Spanish goal was offside. Idiots.

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Here is a summary of the UK Sun newspaper’s view of the final:

They were the finalists who died of shame. The finalists who disgraced both a tournament and European football. The finalists who made the world fall out of love with Dutch football.

It is almost beyond belief it all came to this.

The only comfort is that Spain’s name is on the trophy for the first time, after Andres Iniesta spared the new world champions the lottery of a penalty shootout.

Brave, admirable Spain, who stuck to their footballing principles on the night Holland deserted theirs.

Had Vicente Del Bosque’s side not won, it would have been one of the greatest travesties of all time.

Had Bert van Marwijk’s cynical Dutchmen taken the trophy home, no one outside Holland would have been cheering.

Referee Webb ended up booking 14 players – including five in one mad, 13-minute first-half spell – and sending off Everton’s John Heitinga with 11 minutes left. But do not blame Webb.

The tackle from behind from Mark van Bommel that almost cut Iniesta in half after 22 minutes was bad enough. But the studs-up ‘challenge’ that saw Nigel de Jong’s boot rip into Xabi Alonso’s chest six minutes later was grotesque.

Villa, Ramos and Fabregas could all have settled it before, thankfully, Iniesta brought a late silver lining to one of the blackest clouds ever to descend on a World Cup final.

Full credit to Spain for saving us from an abomination.

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The ugly game:

Nigel de Jong – World Cup final: Holland betray tradition of flair in defeat to Spain

But the Dutch manager put the blame on the referee:

Van Marwijk suggested that Webb might have been influenced by Spanish media blaming him for Spain’s defeat by Switzerland in their opening match.

The Holland coach said: “I don’t think the referee controlled the match well.”

Van Marwijk has damaged the image of Dutch football for decades. Moron.

It was the Clogs of War – it was ugly stuff from the Dutch. Deliberate, pre-meditated. Win at any cost is killing the beautiful game. FIFA need to quickly work out how to help the referees. After last night I really don’t want to watch another game of football. I am so disillusioned with a sport that I payed for too many years. The endless protests. The abuse of officials. The denial of everything even after nearly beheading a player. Total football was replaced by total mayhem. It was an utterly depressing night for football – it leaves an appalling influence on kids watching and learning the game. FIFA dont care – made their billions. Sad.

11 July 2010

So Spain won the World Cup Given that I predicted the winning team I really need not have watched it.

But what a terrible final.

The Netherlands turned up to stop the Spanish from playing. And they did that, especially in the first half, by kicking anything that moved.

The game was settled four minutes from the end of injury time with a goal from the excellent Iniesta. But the Dutch were upset that a goalkick had been given at the other end rather than a corner after a large deflection off the defensive wall at a free kick.

Justice was done with the Spanish goal.

A Dutch win would have been a case of the end justifying the means; and would have (like the Uruguay celebration of the missed penalty after Suraez’s handball) been a sad indictment of the game.

So the right team one.

The Dutch turned up as cloggers.

FIFA needs to clean up football. Today it was the ugly game. First thing to do is to help the referees.

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Stars of the tournament:

Nelson Mandela for greeting the crowds before the final.

The children who came out with every team before each game.

Mueller and Iniesta and Diego Forlan.

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So how was the world cup for you? A bit average.

The actual soccer early on iin the group games was a struggle, as teams played cautiously and South Africa’s team, Bafana Bafana, became the first host ever to be eliminated in the opening round. Players blamed the ball, the conditions and tiredness for their mediocrity.

France, Italy and England left without leaving a trace that they are, or were, great soccer nations. Argentina flattered to deceive. Brazil fell trying to be more pragmatic than its traditional beauty foretells.

Which left Spain and the Netherlands as deserving finalists, each adapting to the surroundings.

And there was, a new Germany. Its ethnic diversity, drawn from the sons of immigrants from Africa, Asia, elsewhere in Europe and South America, was itself a revelation.

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How long before Van Bommel gets booked – he really does need to be.

How ling before Robben gets booked – for rolling around on the floor.

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World Cup Final Day – Spain and the Netherlands or Holland or the Dutch national team. Must be tough when you are playing three teams from the same country?

Spain have only scored 7 goals – in 6 games. Not too exciting this far. But they should have enough to win this.

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Former South African President Nelson Mandela and his wife Graca Machel

Former South African President Nelson Mandela and his wife Graca Machel wave to the crowd following the closing ceremony of World Cup 2010 at the Soccer City stadium outside Johannesburg.

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Al Jazeera have their first team out – Hoddle Venable and Grumpy – Souness. No Francis.

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Liverpool are claimed to have put a world record £100million price tag on Fernando Torres in a bid to hold on to their star striker after tonight’s World Cup final.

Torres cannot make the Spanish final team.

10 July 2010

Germany finish third with a 3-2 win over Uruguay in a decent 3rd/4th pace game in Port Elizabeth.

8 July 2010

England’s Howard Webb will be the referee for the World Cup final. The 38-year-old from Rotherham has been chosen for the final by Fifa’s referees committee.

Webb and his assistants Darren Cann and Michael Mullarkey will officiate in the final on Sunday between Spain and Holland at Johannesburg’s Soccer City.

He will become the first Englishman to referee the final since Jack Taylor in 1974.

7 July 2010

So it is a Spain and Netherlands final – as predicted here well before the tournament started !

Germany failed to show up today. Spain played some lovely controlled football. And won again 1-0. The third 1-0 win in a row through the knock out stages.

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Its almost over – just three games (now just two!) to go!

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In important news England striker Wayne Rooney has been voted the ugliest footballer on the planet on dating website www.BeautifulPeople.com

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The Netherlands are the first team through to the final with a 3-2 win over Uruguay which was not as close as it sounds. I do think the Netherlands have been a lucky team – they seem to have scraped in underneath the radar; referees seem to like them and ignore some ugly tackles (van Brommel is a sinner not a saint) and some questionable offsides – like last night’s second and decisive goal. And I don’t like Robben – and I don’t like van Persie.

5 July 2010

Good to see that football is being taken seriously in China!

Just one example:

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Forgot to report that Spain struggled 1-0 past a very hard working Paraquay team in a match that was a bit short on action apart form two minutes that contained three penalties and one that should have been given but was not.

Paraguay were also a little unlucky with an offside goal disallowed – where the offside player was arguably not interfering.

Spain were disappointing. They will need to step up a couple of gears to take on Germany….whose fans are, by the way, becoming predictably arrogant. Now I need Spain to win – a) because that is what I predicted and b) to shoot down the Germans.

3 July 2010

Germany just demolished Argentina 4-0. Makes the Engalnd result look almost decent – after all it should have been 2-2 at half time.

Messi was policed out of the game. And Argentina had no answer to the fact counter-attacking German side. Tactically that was naive. Marodona seemed unable to adapt his team’s set up to match a very different opposition and when Argentina fell behind it became a matter of how many.

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Hero or Zero?


Suarez saves on the line – pity he is not the goalkeeper.

Suárez is being hailed as a hero in his home country but the incident has provoked condemnation in other parts of the world. His action is also contrary to Fifa’s fair play code which states: “Winning is without value if victory has been achieved unfairly or dishonestly. Cheating is easy, but brings no pleasure.”

FIFA and a fair play code – they are joking I assume! FIFA encourages the cheats by refusing to use technology to stop them. Grrrr.

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Dunga has already been fired.

Capello keeps his job.

Funny old world.

2 July 2010

And the Netherlands will play Uruguay in a rather dull sounding semi final. Uruguay will be without Suarez – sent off in the last minute of extra time for a handball on the line which saved Uruguay when Ghana then missed the resulting penalty.

With two poor penalty misses in the penalty shoot out it was bye bye Ghana.

There must be a case for a penalty goal – like a penalty try in rugby. Suarez used his hand on the line to stop a certain goal. He was sent off. Ghana get a penalty. But penalties get missed. So in the end Suarez won the game for Uruguay, but it leaves a bad taste.

It was not much of a match.

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I bet that Dunga is not the Brazil manager within a couple of weeks. Brazil 1 Netherlands 2.

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Back for the quarter finals!

Brazil look stunned. They had the Netherlands on a plate; Holland were terrible for most of the first hour. But Brazil could not build a decent lead. And then they allowed them back into the game. Holland grabbed their chance and Brazil capitulated.

The Netherlands have a real chance of making their first final since 1978; they’ll face either Uruguay or Ghana in the semis!

Does anyone know when we should use the Netherlands, Holland or the Dutch ?

Kaka and Robinho were invisible second half. #BRA lost their discipline. It was a very different team from the team that was leading 1-0. That said you can understand why anyone would want to kick Robben.

30 June 2010

The quarter-finals are now set, and the matchups are as follows:

Uruguay vs. Ghana
Brazil vs. Netherlands
Argentina vs. Germany
Spain vs. Paraguay

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You know you have been waiting for this:

World Cup 2010: Brick-by-brick fussball – Germany 4-1 England

29 June 2010

Watching Al-Jazeera sport is like watching TV from the 1970s and 1980s. Talking heads telling us what they think. But it is all very conservative and has no public participation of any sort.

Compare this to Orbit Showtime’s Premier League coverage that encourages public email. Or news programmes in the UK that use twitter to allow short messages to be sent.

Or take the show out on the road. Dont just use studio broadcasts. Go out to the party venues where games are being shown.

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Japan lose to Paraguay on penalties after 120 dreadfully dull minutes.

And Spain put out Portugal 1-0. Spain did not really seem to get out of second gear.

And far too much play-acting from both sides. Cheating. Conning the referee. Quite depressing to watch.

And Ronaldo. Dived so much he should bet a PADI certificate.


Football World Cup 2010 – Out of Africa

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From the National in Abu Dhabi – Can we just admit that we’re not very good at football?

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Meanwhile in news from the idiot media – South African police have arrested a British tabloid journalist for helping a fan gain access to the England dressing room after a World Cup soccer match, national police commissioner Bheki Cele said on Tuesday.

Sunday Mirror reporter Simon Wright was arrested in Cape Town on Monday after closed circuit television footage indicated he helped 32-year-old fan Pavlos Joseph get into the England locker room after their June 18 draw with Algeria, police said. “The police have reason to believe this incident was orchestrated. The police believe the motive was to put the World Cup security in a bad light and possibly to profit from it.”

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FIFA president Sepp Blatter apologised today to FA for England’s disallowed goal against Germany – well that makes us all feel so much better.

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Turkey coach Guus Hiddink has accused German star Mesut Ozil of possessing an invalid German passport. The former Chelsea coach said, “The German passport of Mesut Ozil is false. The document was falsified to allow the player to play for Germany, but he has no such right.”

28 June 2010

Tonight’s results : Brazil 3 Chile 0 and Netherlands 2 Slovakia 1.

No great excitement Netherlands were in first gear. Brazil maybe reached second occasionally. Brazil and Netherlands now meet in what should be an oustanding quarter final.

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Whatever happened to Wayne Rooney? He is unnaturally talented and a talisman when playing for Manchester United. His bustling strength, attacking verve and sheer indomitable will are everything a winning team needs. When he plays in United’s fast-paced, multi-dimensional attack the world shrinks and falls under his feet.

For England at this World Cup, however, he has seemed uncertain, clumsy and constrained, like Superman surrounded by Kryptonite. By the end of it all, he looked disinterested.

He is the same man and player. He hasn’t lost his ability; England just haven’t found it.

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It is almost too sad. FIFA has a daily press briefing. And the first thing that they say is that they cannot discuss last night’s refereeing howlers because the press briefing in not the place to discuss it. If the press briefing is not the place to discuss cock ups of major dollar proportions what is.

It is the FIFA arrogance that makes me angry – not the referee f*** ups.

27 June 2010

Four hours after the end of the England match there are already over 1,000 comments after the Guardian newspaper’s match report:

A few choice comments:

Outpaced. Outpassed. Outclassed.

Congratulations to Germany. Absolutely outclassed a pitiful England.

When all is said and done, all the arrogance, all the chest thumping, all the talk of tradition and an exhaustive and pretentious knowledge of soccer, England forgot one thing… How to play.

An absolutely pathetic performance by an overrated, overpaid group of players who are living in the past.
A new chapter has indeed been written;
English soccer isn’t that great.

The FA needs to scrap English football, starting with itself, and someone else build from scratch. The talent available is woeful and the footballing skill and intelligence of most players approaching zero. Players like Gerrard and Rooney are aberrations, skilled despite the England football system. The defence is decades behind present-day, absolutely no idea how to mark a mobile attacking team. The midfield lacks any sense of distribution, pace, movement, control, creativity. And the attack was non-existent. And finally, none of the players were remotely upset at the loss – maybe because it was so one-sided and their performance so awful, maybe because they really just don’t care that much. A new EPL and Champions League beckon after a nice two month break and Mourinho to tell them what really matters in world football – as if anyone outside of the CL money bubble actually believes him.

Well, that was awesomely predictable. Terry, Upson and Johnson in a three way contest for worst defensive performance in the tournament. Rooney, Gerrard anonymous. Barry showing that he cannot provide any defensive cover. Milner willing but limited…..

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Why are Argentina so good? Maradona kisses each of his team before they go out to play! Argentina beat Mexico 3-1 by the way with two goals from Tevez.

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England were woeful. Worse They were woefully managed. So much was wrong. So little was right. The Germans were good. But not great.

The Sun – “Fabio’s flops are batterd in Bloemfontain”

Independent – “Woeful England suffer world cup heartbreak”

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The Guardian brick by brick lego version of Germany England will come soon and it will be horrible!

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In the meantime here is England vs Germany as I tweeted during the game:

Paul the Octopus was right again ! RT @RWhittall: I think what we’re all forgetting is that Paul the octopus is a genius.

Guardian summary “‘#ENG played well for 54 seconds out of 90 minutes.” The time between the Upson goal and Lampard’s disallowed “goal”

RT @jackschofield: England’s second goal was not in. Here is the photographic proof: http://bit.ly/aQ2Lvc

@AdamFlinter Listening to Souness and Sherwood is interesting. Blunt. Easy from the punter’s seat. But the analysis is solid.

Knives are out for Capello – good in qualifying and poor on the big stage. Too many mistakes from the manager.
about 1 hour ago via TweetDeck

Twitter does somehow make watching the rout a little less painful !! 🙂

Goal line technology matters less when the game turns into a rout ! Time for a drink ! England were battered in the second half.

Precisely. RT @jonrussell: #Eng side is the ironic victim of the success of the Premier League

England aging and poor. Not enough #ENG players in the premier league. What matters more – TV revenues or national team success??

Injustice will be an excuse, but a plodding #ENG have been demolished by a decent but not great team.

Capello to resign by the end of the week. #ENG Maybe he can find a quality team to coach !

This looks like the #GER side that took Australia apart. I like their pace and strength. But maybe it is just a very bad #ENG team

heskey for defoe – we really have given up !!!

#ENG are you north korea in disguise ????

Think John Terry had gone walkabout….Rooney looks like Heskey in disguise

The crowd may not be on the pitch – but it is all over now.

@mipesom I wish – get Crouch on for Rooney – Rooney has lead in his boots !

please!

and joe cole for milner – need some pace down the right

england have to chase the game now exposing a fragile back 4. time for crouch to replace rooney – crouch would cause problems

RT @tulsathit: HT rant: On bright side, the refs just gave Eng go-home-to-hero-welcome ticket. Absolute immunity against criticism whatever the result

great work from the german ‘keeper who grabbed the ball and threw it deep before the debate could start about the goal !

Not sure the ref will enjoy watching the tv replay at half time – to their credit the players have got on with it. Linesman was on holiday.

Better from Lampard – would be nice if Rooney turned up as well ! Upson is already Klose’s bitch but redeemed with a huge header !

Sepp Blatter is a wanker would be a better chant ! #worldcup

Oh the irony !!

Oh dear oh dear oh dear oh dear oh dear

@mipesom 4,500 feet of altitude helps – but it worked – great assist from the keeper! Klose has Upson every time!

Oops 0-1. Upson had to do better – it was his to play – not down to James. Maybe I should go back to watching the cricket. #worldcup

Souness theory – England were underprepared for playing at altitude #GER and #BRA better prepared. Plausible. #worldcup

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How about a rogue world cup :

Iran, Libya, N. Korea, Laos, Zimbabwe, Israel, Russia, Venzuela, Cuba, Sudan, Yemen, Mongolia& Syria.

Any others ?

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The Telegraph on “why England v Germany is more than just a game of football” including “We dearly want to beat the Germans today because deep down we have never come to terms with the fact that despite the efforts of Winston Churchill and the inmates of Stalag Luft III, Germany still became the economic masters of Europe who regularly beat us on and off the football pitch.”

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The Mirror plays the nationalism card. Including these gems:

“the Germans shamefully denounce captain Gerrard as a barroom brawler – a reference to an incident two years ago he was, in fact, cleared of. But his opposite number German captain Philipp Lahm is, you guessed it, a serious campaigner on AIDS issues and helps children in need.

John Terry is described as a man who loves to dabble with the girlfriend of another player while Miroslav Klose, the German striker, is described as a model footballer and keen angler.”

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1966 and all that. Which of course has to be in black and white – which is how we all watched it at the time.

And that is why today still matters !

26 June 2010

And today’s winners are Uruguay who beat Korea and Ghana who been the USA. Uruguay and Ghana meet in what could be a very good quarter final. both games finished 2-1.

Why we will all miss Korea:


South Korean fans wait for the live broadcast of South Korea’s 2010 World Cup second round football match against Uruguay in downtown Seoul on June 26, 2010. South Korea and Uruguay are to meet in a fascinating World Cup last 16 clash that few pundits would have predicted at the start of the tournament.

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This is wonderful. England v Slovenia. A camera watches England’s Italian manager, Fabio Capello. Now here is a guy who truly cares about his team. A great reminder why football is loved.

Also here:

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With, by coincidence, the six remaining European side all playing against eachother there will only be 3 European teams in the quarter finals. Do not be surprised to se 4 South American teams; the other one being either the USA or Ghana.

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To get my dear reader ready for Sunday – you should read this:

Two World Wars, one World Cup and the ‘Achtung!’ chaos – the complex and violent history of England vs Germany

25 June 2010

The Big Picture from The Boston Globe – just what does the World Cup mean? These pictures are spectacular. Television and web viewership has been setting records all over the world as supporters tune in to watch the events in South Africa and react along with the fans and players in the stadiums as they celebrate their wins and suffer through losses. Collected here are recent photos from the 2010 World Cup, as some of the players and their supporters have been experiencing it – in South Africa and around the globe.

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England v Slovenia – brick by brick – the third of the Guardian’s wonderful lego match summaries!

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So the last 16 line up as follows:

Uruguay v South Korea
USA v Ghana
Germany v England
Argentina v Mexico
Netherlands v Slovakia
Brazil v Chile
Paraguay v Japan
Spain v Portugal

So much for my predictions – I got 12 of the 16 teams correct but only one of the last 8 matches ! The two Asian teams – S. Korea and Japan both doing better than I expected.

Last 16: Europe 6, South America 5, Asia 2, North&Central America 2 and Africa 1.

So what happens next:

Predictions:

Quarters:

Uruguay v USA
Germany v Argentina
Netherlands v Brazil
Japan v Spain

Semis:

USA v Brazil
Argentina v Spain

Final – Netherlands v Spain – back to my original prediction with Spain winning!

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Would like to sit on my sofa and watch the football tonight but the Mrs (“I’ll stay up and watch it with you”) has been asleep on the sofa for the whole game. Grrrr.

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The dvd of goalkeeping blunders at this World Cup may need to be a boxed set.

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In today’s results :

Brazil 0 Portugal 0 – this was for 45 minutes a bad tempered affair and for the last 45 minutes dull.

North Korea 0 Ivory Coast 3.

Brazil go through as top of the group ahead of Portugal. Ivory Coast were a disappointment.

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Update time from yesterday: Japan were fabulous last night. Hero Honda led the line and scored the first goal with a great free kick. Japan’s second, also a free kick was even better. And despite a soft penalty for the Vikings, Japan beat Denmark 3-1 and will now play Paraguay.

Meanwhile the Netherlands cruised through as group winners with a comfortable win over the very disappointing Cameroons.

Italy were woeful for 70 minutes by when they were already 2-0 down to Slovakia. A terrific last 20 minutes saw Slovakia hang on to win 3-2. And the holders, Italy, are on the way home as bottom of their group.

Slovakia now play the Netherlands.

Paraguay drew 0-0 with a battling New Zealand side. New Zealand go home; by they were unbeaten after there draws and that for a while at least will have given football some profile in rugby mad New Zealand.

24 June 2010

Italy in retreat, France overrun, USA turn up late, NZ and AUS battle bravely and England are left to fight the Germans!

And while we are all watching over paid prima donna footballers complain about the ball altitude and pitch there were two phenomenal athletes, neither well known, battling out a fifth set at Wimbledon and still tied as darkness fell at 59 all !Fifty-nine. Remember it is the first to 6 or more with a two game lead that wins. And there is no tie break in the fifth set.

Here is the gob-smacked Guardian:

“Absolutely unbelievable. The longest‑ever match. The most games ever in a set. The most games in a match. The most aces by an individual and the most total aces. The first-round match between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut obliterated every record in the book and when the light faded at 9.09pm, after a 10-hour duel, the match still wasn’t finished, level at 59 games all in the final set. It was a wonder either of them was still standing.”

They will (hopefully) finish their match this afternoon. But the reality is that neither deserves to lose. Both will be forever in the history books.

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Denmark and Japan tonight – winners will qualify The Cameroons are already gone. Ghana looks like being the only African team in the last 16. Disappointing.

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At last : England win : Not convincingly but Slovenia were never really a threat.

England needed and should have scored a second goal; or more. A 2-0 win and England would have topped the group on goal difference.

The USA were going out of the tournament; with one goal in the 91st minute against Algeria the USA went from 3rd to 1st in the group.

The USA now plays Ghana; the winner plays Uruguay or South Korea. One of those four will be an unlikely World Cup semi finalist.

And England get Germany; with the winners playing Argentina or Mexico.

Perfect really. Germany – the old enemy. And if England win that then Argentina managed by the man with the Hand of God.

So here it is : just like WW2 – France have forfeited, the USA turned up late, and England are left to fight the Germans!

The French capitulated and went home in disgrace. The French President wants to meet with Thierry Henry and ask what went wrong – yet Monsieur Henry can say that he did not have a hand in it. Ask the Irish.

Germany beat Ghana to finish top of their group. And so play England.

Last night’s results:

England 1 Slovenia 0
USA 1 Algeria 0
Germany 1 Ghana 0
Australia 2 Serbia 1

23 June 2010

David James is so relaxed in an interview today. Happy to be playing in a world cup at last – so his kids are impressed.

He is a very articulate guy – I miss his media columns in the Guardian.

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OK – time to learn some Thai football phrases: 2 lessons from www.learn-thai-podcast.com

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Meanwhile TV coverage in the Middle East is still very patchy. Al-Jazeera has gone very quiet on its sabotage allegations.

Al Jazeera still facing World Cup problems

22 June 2010

Results tonight:

Uruguay 1 Mexico 0
South Africa 2 France 1

Famous win for South Africa to give them 4 points but Mexico go through to the last 16 with a better goal difference. France were awful; and are probably already in the way home.

In Group B:

Argentina 2 Greece 0
South Korea 2 Nigeria 2

Argentina won all three games and now play Mexico.
South Korea go through to play Uruguay – that could be a very close game.

Tomorrow – England……

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If you want to know what’s wrong with England this article tells you pretty well all you need to know.

This excerpt is sadly revealing:

“Look at the faces of the England players; look at their play. There is an absence of joy; an absence of connection with the rest of the tournament. Nobody smiles, nobody seems happy to be here.

When the United States played Slovenia last week, their captain Carlos Bocanegra, ran down the line of mascots in the tunnel with a hand out for a high five. Tim Howard then appeared and chatted with real enthusiasm and engagement to the child by his side.

As the camera moved along the line of Ghanaian players singing the national anthem before Saturday’s match with Australia, one smiled broadly into the lens and gave a wink to the people at home. These little moments may not spell victory but they demonstrate a simple human pleasure in being present at a World Cup.

This is what is missing from England, and from England’s football. Capello said spirit was absent against Algeria. Yes, but also love: for the game; for the tournament; for the challenge of being here.”

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If Uruguay and Mexico play out a very pleasant draw then they both go through and South Africa and France are out of the WC whatever their result. Which make a draw all to likely.

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Half way through the world cup – 32 games played – and 32 to go.

The next four nights are the final games in the qualifying groups – and will decide the last 16 for the knock out stages.

How good will my predictions be? I could be completely wrong in Group A !! Is this bye bye to France. The French captain Patrice Evra is out of today’s team.

The South American teams continue to do well. Maybe their qualifying group and games are harder than some of the European qualifying contests.

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Fabio Capello has condemned John Terry for making “a very big mistake” by publicly calling for senior players to stand up to the England manager after the side’s stuttering start to the World Cup

21 June 2010

England vs Algeria – brick by brick – love the booing crowd!

North Korea imploded:

I hope the Dear Leader was watching the free men of Portugal score seven today past a rather bewildered DPRK team. Democratic People’s Republic? They have to be joking.

And I lost track of the bookings between Chile and Switzerland.

Portugal 7 North Korea 0
Chile 1 Switzerland 0

France imploding even more:

French coach Domenech says it’s a possibility that some French players will not want to play world cup game v South Africa

England imploding:

During a press conference, the former England captain said he will hold an emergency meeting with the players and staff to work out the kinks in the Three Lions camp, even if it unsettles some.

Of course; nothing happened; and Don Fabio appears to continue his iron rod reign.

But Terry’s comments will have upset many; and suggest an arrogance among England’s over paid prima donnas that show just why the team is such a  mess:

1. Terry isn’t captain.
2. The players’s concerns should have never gone public. 3. Fabio Capello is in charge. A power struggle right now won’t help anything.
4. This is more about Terry’s ego than the good of the team.
5. Terry’s claim that he is a “born leader” just gives people more chances to bring up the fact that he had was bonking the girl of his friend and teammate.

France imploding more than the English:

Nicolas Anelka was sent home for refusing to apologize for his halftime tirade at coach Raymond Domenech. After Demenech told Anelka he needed to play higher up the pitch, Anelka said some not very nice (and not very printable) words, which someone relayed to the press.

Domenech claims the halftime outburst would have been fine except that it ended up on the front page of papers. Since Anelka refused to apologize in a similarly public fashion, the Chelsea man was sent home.

Anelka has since retired from international play. Again.

Captain Patrice Evra refused to criticize Anelka, instead calling out whatever “traitor” in the locker room squealed to the press.

That’s really when the fun part starts.

Led by Evra, the entire team refused to train yesterday as a show of solidarity for Anelka. Instead, Domenech was forced to read a written statement from the team in front of the press announcing the players’ disagreement with his own decision.

One nation delighted at the French falling apart – Ireland. Remember the French are only in South Africa due to the hand of Henri. Irish eyes are smiling !

Ivory Coast win the first 2010 theatrics award at the World Cup.

Kaka gets sent off. But lets hope Kader Keita gets a ban from FIFA for ridiculous play acting.

20 June 2010

A name to strike fear into Italian hearts for years to come – Shane Smeltz

And we all thought that England were poor – how bad were Italy ?

From the Guardian online commentary:

“Full time: Italy 1-1 New Zealand It’s the feelgood hit of the summer: New Zealand have held the world champions Italy. Extraordinary stuff. They put in such a resourceful display, and were led sensationally by the brilliant Ryan Nelsen. Italy’s World Cup minnowphobia continues, and they will need to get at least a draw against Slovakia on Thursday to qualify. But today is all about New Zealand, who have infused this World Cup with the sort of innocent, everyman charm that was seemingly lost to top-level football. After two games, they are on behind Italy on alphabetical order. Congratulations to them.”

Meanwhile:

Brazil 3 Ivory Coast 1
Paraguay 2 Slovakia 0

And from yesterday:

Netherlands 1 Japan 0
Cameroon 1 Denmark 2 (maybe the best game of the tournament so far)
Australia 1 Ghana 1

19 June 2010

Check out Landon Donovan’s first goal for the USA yesterday. The Slovenia goalkeeper actually ducked out of the way of the ball it was hit that hard !

Oh dear – The England squad had a get-together after the USA game and bought Robert Green a drink to commiserate. He spilled it.

My computer’s been infected by the Robert Green virus. Now I can’t save anything.

18 June 2010

Germany missed a world cup penalty today for the first time since 1982! And they lost to Serbia. Funny old game.

Serbia 1 Germany 0
USA     2 Slovenia 2
England 0 Algeria 0

My man – David James – back in goal for England becomes the first goalkeeper in this world cup to actually catch a corner.

England's goalkeeper David James comes under pressure
A nation expects – there are English flags all over Plymouth – the shops are selling world cup everything – even cupcakes !

I like the 1966 tee shirts – sad to think that this is the last time that England won anything that matters !

It is hard to imagine England losing tonite – but – in reality – this is an England team of limited talent and ambition.

The good news is that so many other teams are struggling. But a second round game against Argentina is one to avoid.

10 out of the Algerian starting 11 were born in France.

Ready for the game !

17 June 2010

That vuvuzela buzz gets everywhere!

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Bye bye France – I hope – they were truly awful today:

France 0 Mexico 2
Greece 2 Nigeria 1
Argentina 4 South Korea 1

and from last night:

South Africa 0 Uruquay 3.

There is some incentive to finish top of Group A. Second place will get you a match against Argentina – and they are playing well.

16 June 2010

This was the first day that I have not watched the games live as I was flying to London.

But I did catch up on the highlights including a bad day at the office for Spain and a very good day for Uruguay’s Diego Forlan who seems to have no problem with the new Adidias Ball.

Results:

Honduras 0 Chile 1
Switzerland 1 Spain 0
Uruquay 3 South Africa 0.

The tempo of the tournament should improve now. Lose the first game and it is hard to progress to the 2nd round. So football has been to defensive through the first few days.

Spain may struggle now.

15 June 2010

Today’s results:

Brazil 2 North Korea 1
New Zealand 1 Slovakia 1
Ivory Coast 0 Portugal 0

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Lets all applaud Kulula Airways for being creative. Already censured in the courts for infringing Fifa’s trademark by using the slogan “the unofficial airline of you-know-what,” they are back with full-page adverts that read: “We’re giving affordable flights to everybody except Sepp Blatter. He can fly for free”.

In fact, they invite Sepp to email iamseppbaltter@kulula.com to claim his free flights for “the duration of the thing that’s happening right now.”

FIFA’s legal team is probably the strongest team at the world cup as they protect the official World Cup sponsors against ambush marketing tactics and against local enterpreneurism.

Home-made chicken dishes and hot dogs, along with large quantities of beer of questionable quality, are a staple of football matches in South Africa.

However, marketing deals with the likes of McDonalds and Budweiser means that the area around the grounds are off limits except for traders with special licences.

With Emirates as their official airline, Fifa demanded that South African budget carrier Kulula withdraw an ad declaring itself “the unofficial national carrier of the you-know-what”, with images of a stadium and a footballer.

One newspaper said that South Africa had been turned into the “Republic of Fifa” led by a president who has set up shop at Johannesburg’s Michelangelo Towers, the most exclusive hotel in the upmarket Sandton district.

According to reports in the South African media, no expense has been spared to ensure a comfortable stay for Blatter – including ice cubes made out of Evian water.

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Results update –

Algeria 0 Slovenia 1
Serbia 0 Ghana 1
Italy 1 Paraguay 1
Japan 1 Cameroon 0
Netherlands 2 Denmark 0

and from the previous day and still the result and performance of the tournament:

Germany 4 Australia 0.

14 June 2010

Just to make Robert Green feel better here is a top 5 of english goalkeeping blunders!

The Al-Jazeera story is getting picked up by the UK media now. “Who’s sabotaging our World Cup coverage?” asks the Daily Telegraph.

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England vs the USA = recreated in Lego ! Brilliant.

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Just how good were the Germans last night!

13 June 2010

I do like Ali Bernabia – analyst on AL Jazeera and ex Algerian international. Honest, interesting and has a great accent.

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TV stations apparently want the vuvuzela to be banned from the stadiums due to the noise on TV.

Sorry – but football is for the fans – not for the convenience of the TV companies. the atmosphere in all the stadiums has been great. Keep them.

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How bad were England – Reuters gets their commentary about right.

“As in many recent World Cup tournaments, England were exposed as a team of limited technical abilities, inflexible tactics and little imagination — and manager Fabio Capello’s risky policy of late and, arguably, controversial team selection did them no favours.

At times, England looked as uncomfortable on the field, in possession and without, as they had in the tight-fitting three-piece suits they all wore for the short grim-faced bus journey from their hotel to the stadium.

His rigid adherence to a 4-4-2 system with two wingers and a pair of strikers left central midfielders Gerrard and Frank Lampard exposed in vast areas of space, often outmanoeuvred when the Americans had the ball.

The lack of pace in defence was one of the most evident problems, particularly after Ledley King, already suffering chronic knee problems, picked up a groin injury and was replaced by Jamie Carragher. King will miss Friday’s game against Algeria in Cape Town.

Rooney has now failed to score in any of England’s last seven games.”

Any team with any pace up front would take that England defence apart. It was horrible!

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Al Jazeera sport must be operating from London – their breakfast show may be breakfast time in London but it is nearly lunch in Doha and Dubai. And their media references are all from the UK press.

Al Jazeera’s panel includes former England managers Terry Venables and Glenn Hoddle, Chelsea assistant coach and former England captain Ray Wilkins, Algerian international Ali Bernabia, former Uruguayan international Gus Poyet, former Scotland World Cup manager Craig Brown, Trevor Francis, Peter Reid, Sam Allardyce and Tim Sherwood. Top referee Graham Poll will be also on the panel.

But the studio announcers keep up a pretence of being in Doha. It is not very convincing.

12 June 2010

England 1 USA 1. It has been a very poor game. Like watching two third division sides; mid table and no hope.

Compared to the quality of some of the Argentinian football earlier, this was a shocker.

Tonight’s results:

Argentina 1 Nigeria 0
England 1 USA 1

England and USA should still go through from this group.

Gerrard says that no one should blame the goalkeeper. It was a shocker. And had nothing to do with the ball moving. It was straight. It was easy.

Oh dear: goalkeeping 101 – get your body behind the ball.

Hands of Clod – the morning newspaper headlines!

RUSTENBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 12: Robert Green of England misjudges the ball and lets in a goal during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group C match between England and USA at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium on June 12, 2010 in Rustenburg, South Africa.

RUSTENBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 12: Robert Green of England misjudges the ball and lets in a goal during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group C match between England and USA at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium on June 12, 2010 in Rustenburg, South Africa.

England look short of ideas, quality, confidence and goals. Algeria and Slovenia will think they can get something out of their England matches.

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Is this the world’s coolest archbishop? Desmond Tutu – now retired:

Nobel Prize laureate and retired Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu waits for the start of the World Cup group A soccer match between South Africa and Mexico at Soccer City in Johannesburg, South Africa, Friday, June 11, 2010.

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Nigerian goalkeeper, Vincent Enyeama plays his club football for Hapoel Tel Aviv FC in Israel. You will not hear that from Al Jazeera !

He has been terrific against Argentina.

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Stuff Magazine in the ME has this contribution to its online site that might help explain Al-Jazeera’s problems –

“Criminal conspiracy is a clever and smart way to avoid the fact that this was simply an Al Jazeera error…it’s the compression. Al Jazeera sport has expanded their range of channels for this world cup, it would seem painfully obvious, certainly to anyone in TV, that they simply don’t have the BANDWIDTH to transmit so many simultaneous football games..

This is not a conspiracy it’s simple math, let say Nilesat allocate you 40MPS (mega bits per sceond) for your channels. OK so you initially have 4 channels each gets 10 each. Simple.

10 MPS is more than enough for 4 standard def sports channels.

Then you think OK I can launch more channels, and even some in HD and 3D. Nilesat may very well have pointed out that a 3D channel on it’s own would take 10MPS but now you don’t have 10 channels you have 12 or 13 (inc the 3D stream) Advice from Nilesat Ignored, I am guessing because bandwidth costs a LOT OF MONEY.

So you are left with 13 channels on 40 MPS and you need way more than that for football.

Add in Aljazeera decided to transmit repeats of old football games at the same time as the live World Cup games and you have a recipe for trouble.

Sadly knowing Al Jazeera and the set up they have this is more or less what happened. As soon as I saw what was going on I thought, some where someone is thinking back to a meeting where someone was told you SIMPLY don’t have the bandwidth for the amount of channels you are transmitting.

Also knowing Jazeera absolutely NO BLAME what so ever will fall at their feet, and they will claim till the end of days that this was not their fault.”

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Now Al Jazeera have invoked FIFA to give there explanation some credibility. But unless someone can say who is doing the blocking – and unless there are criminal charges this simply sounds like wishful thinking.

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Couple of great goals already – South Africa’s goal last night and Heinze’s diving header for Argentina’s first goal.

PORT ELIZABETH, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 12: A South Korean fan supports her team ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group B match between South Korea and Greece at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on June 12, 2010 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

Results so far:

South Korea 2 Greece 0
South Africa 1 Mexico 1
Uruguay 0 France 0 – that was a dull affair.

A South Africa supporter blows a vuvuzela ahead of the start of the opening ceremony of the 2010 FIFA World Cup on June 11, 2010 at Soccer City stadium in Soweto, suburban Johannesburg. South Africa and Mexico play in the opening match of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. NO PUSH TO MOBILE / MOBILE USE SOLELY WITHIN EDITORIAL ARTICLE.

The opening ceremony was fun. Music and noise and colour. And so many smiling faces.

This is the Africa we all want to see and is the real South Africa.

Rugby and cricket are still elitist and largely white. But in South Africa football is for everyone. And the opening ceremony was the start of a one month party. Great fun.

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So what happened to the broadcaster last night – Does anyone believe this nonsense from Al Jazeera:

Al Jazeera Sport, the Qatar-based TV channel which has transmission rights to show World Cup matches in the Middle East region, has condemned “the actions of those involved in the deliberate attempts to block its signal” during its telecast yesterday.

“We have evidence of criminal interference to disrupt our work, and we assure the perpetrators that we will not for one second tolerate this and we shall prosecute them to the farthest extents allowed by law to show that we are serious, and not here to play games. Those who caused this will pay.”

What happened was Al Jazeera screwed up. I suspect they did not test transmission signals. They looked very amateurish. And the opening game was ruined for spectators across the Middle East.

Of course Qatar is bidding for the 2022 World Cup. Ridiculous idea. But no one in Qatar will admit to mistakes in their first world cup broadcast.

11 June 2010

Terry Venable and Ray Wilkins in the Al Jazeera studio for the tournament – they must be getting well paid.

But where is the broadcast studio? Al Jazeera’s new English language sports channel is based in London – but the world cup studio talking heads sound like it is operating from Qatar.

Host is Angus Scott – who is he ? Answer – he is ex ITV and Setanta.

Trouble is as soon as the opening match started Al Jazeera lost the picture for most of the first half. And when they came back it was with a french commentary.

Having bought broadcast rights across the middle east Al-Jazzeera failed miserably.

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Sad news for the Mandela family as Nelson Mandela’s great grand daughter died in a car accident last night.

In mourning the great man will no be attending the opening ceremonies.

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Great coverage from South Africa on UK based Sky News – which is widely watched in South Africa.

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Lets hope Mandela will be there for the opening ceremony – Carlos Alberto Parreira, who coached Brazil to the title in 1994 and is guiding South Africa into this tournament, this week called Mandela “the greatest human being that is living in this world”.

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SA President Jacob Zuma used to play centre‑back in the Robben Island prison team.

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World Cup Day One. And welcome to the first world cup of the twitter age ! Even players are sending messages!

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The Vuvuzela blown well is 127 decibels. 94,500 people blowing the trumpet in Soccer City will be loud !

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South Africans are in party mood. Maybe the world cup should only be held in countries where a) it can make a real long term difference, b) all of the host nation’s people get to party and c) that provides great hospitality for all of its visitors.

South Africa looks like an inspired choice. Mexican mariarchi bands in Soweto – wonderful.

Brazil will be special in four years time.

But sorry – not Qatar in 2022. What on earth would hundreds of thousands of visitors do?

And not England in 2018.

South Africa 2010 should be great fun. Even retired archbishop Desmond Tutu is in the mood….

Retired Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa gestures during the opening concert for the soccer World Cup at Orlando stadium in Soweto, South Africa, Thursday, June 10, 2010. The Soccer World Cupkicks off on Friday, June 11.

Get used to the Vuvuzela – the sound of the 2010 World Cup:

A group of young resident of Soweto, a suburb of Johannesburg, blow the vuvuzela on June 10, 2010 a day before the start of the 2010 Football World Cup in South Africa.

But while the South Africans are having a blast the Brits appear to be thinking of booze and bashing: The Times today noting that ” Police forces and hospitals across England are preparing to deal with an increase in binge drinking, domestic violence and street crime during the World Cup.

As the British exodus to South Africa reached a peak yesterday, a senior doctor warned that A&E wards in this country are expecting a 15 per cent rise in alcohol-related injuries during the tournament.”

Sad.

10 June 2010

This is a fun story. Thailand has an alternative inmates world cup.

9 June 2010

Two days to go. Hot tip Spain demolished Poland 6-0 in a friendly. Peaking too early !

Rooney questioned the parentage of a local referee and had to apologise afterwards. The Americans will wind him up. Will he last 90 minutes?

6 June 2010

What does an Englishman do after his team wins the 2010 World Cup?
Switches off his PlayStation!

4 June 2010

Oh dear: England captain – Rio Ferdinand – has been ruled out of the World Cup after injuring his left knee in training.

New captain needed – Steven Gerrard.

Dont know if it hurts Engalnd too much. Ferdinand’s form has been a bit average.

Michael Dawson gets called up – and could partner Ledley King his club captain.

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One day in Bavaria, the seven dwarfs went off to work in the salt mine, while Snow White stayed at home as usual to cook their lunch. However, when she went to the mine to deliver their lunches, she found there had been a cave-in, and there was no sign of the dwarfs.

Tearfully, Snow White shouted down the mine shaft: ‘Hello – is anyone there. Can you hear me, Bashful, Doc, Dopey, Happy, Grumpy or Sneezy?’ (She knew it would be no good calling Sleepy.)

Then a voice floated up from the bowels of the mine: ‘Germany will win the 2010 World Cup’. ‘ Thank God!’ said Snow White, ‘at least Dopey’s still alive!’

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It may not be The Wonder Girls – but this could be a reason to follow the Korean (South of course) team this year.

T-ara World Cup Girls

This is the group T-ara  who released a song cheering Korea’s national soccer team on to success

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Where are the games?

ilovecharts: therevolutionwillbeblogged asked: C’mon, guys! (Lunatic) girls playing football doesn’t count. Got anything about English football? Or the world cup? Seriously, how stoked for the world cup are you!?

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Advice for the women in your life: I do not necessarily subscribe to all of the following but do take note of the comments on access to the TV remote!

Dear Wife/ Sweetheart/Girl Friend/ Partner/whomever it may concern,

1. Between 11 June and 11 July 2010, you should read the sports section of the newspaper so that you are aware of what is going on regarding the World of Soccer, and that way you will be able to join in the conversations. If you fail to do this, then you will be looked at in a bad way, or you will be totally ignored. DO NOT complain about not receiving any attention.

2. During the World Cup, the television is mine, at all times, without any exceptions. If you even take a glimpse of the remote control, you will lose it (your eye). There is a second TV. It is yours! Sorry about the lack of channels.

3. If you have to pass by in front of the TV during a game, I don’t mind, as long as you do it crawling on the floor and without distracting me.

4. During the games I will be blind, deaf and mute, unless I require a refill of my drink or something to eat. You are out of your mind if you expect me to listen to you, open the door, answer the telephone, or pick up the baby that just fell on the floor….It won’t happen.

5. It would be a good idea for you to keep at least 2 six packs in the fridge at all times, as well as plenty of things to nibble on (excluding your body parts), and please do not make any funny faces to my friends when they come over to watch the games. In return, you will be allowed to use the TV between 1am and 6am, unless they replay a good game that I missed during the day.

6. Please, please, please!! If you see me upset because one of my teams is losing, DO NOT say “get over it, it’s only a game”, or “don’t worry, they’ll win next time””. If you say these things, you will only make me angrier and I will love you less. Remember, you will never ever know more about football than me and your so called “words of encouragement”” will only lead to a break up or divorce.

7. You are welcome to sit with me to watch one game and you can talk to me during halftime but only when the commercials are on, and only if the half time score is pleasing me. In addition, please note I am saying “one” game; hence do not use the World Cup as a nice cheesy excuse to “spend time together”.

8. The replays of the goals are very important. I don’t care if I have seen them or I haven’t seen them, I want to see them again, many times.

9. Tell your friends NOT to have any babies, or any other child related parties or gatherings that require my attendance because:
a) I will not go,
b) I will not go, and
c) I will not go.

10. But, if a friend of mine invites us to his house on a Sunday to watch a game, we will be there in a flash.

11. The daily World Cup highlights show on TV every night is just as important as the games themselves. Do not even think about saying “but you have already seen this…why don’t you change the channel to something we can all watch?” because, the reply will be, “Refer to Rule #2 of this list”.

12. And finally, please save your expressions such as “Thank God the World Cup is only every 4 years”. I am immune to these words, because before and after this comes the Champions League, Premier League, Italian League, Spanish League, KPL, FA Cup, Euro Cup, etc.

PS If you get stuck on the road call the Police or AAA.

Thank you for your co-operation. ^_^

Regards,

Men of the world

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The big question for England is whether they can scrape past an ageing USA side in their opening game.

3 June 2010

Honestly – the best English team is not as good as at least the top four Premiership teams – which shows how much foreign talent now plays in England:

Goalkeepers: Joe Hart (Manchester City), David James (Portsmouth), Robert Green (West Ham).

Defenders: Jamie Carragher (Liverpool), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United), Glen Johnson (Liverpool), Ledley King (Tottenham), John Terry (Chelsea), Matthew Upson (West Ham), Stephen Warnock (Aston Villa).

Midfielders: Gareth Barry (Manchester City), Michael Carrick (Manchester United), Joe Cole (Chelsea), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Aaron Lennon (Tottenham), James Milner (Aston Villa), Shaun Wright-Phillips (Manchester City).

Forwards: Peter Crouch (Tottenham), Jermain Defoe (Tottenham), Emile Heskey (Aston Villa), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United).

30 May 2010

12 days away from the start of the 2010 World Cup.

After the success of my 2006 blog it is time to start again.

But – I am now in Dubai – and thanks to my tv provider – as of today I wont be able to watch any of the games on tv. How screwed up is that?

And I have just watched England beat Japan 2-1 in a friendly without scoring a goal of their own. England looked poor.