World Cup

Wed, June 7th 2006

It’s a difficult ball for goalkeepers, this one moves all over the place. We just have to live with it, but it’s not at all goalkeeper-friendly,’ said England goalkeeper Paul Robinson.

“There’s no stitching whatsoever. It’s two sections glued together and it’s a lot lighter than the Premiership ball. There’s a plastic coating around it and when it’s wet it’s even worse.”

The keeper was not officially supposed to get hold of one of the new balls until yesterday, but had the foresight to order half a dozen of his own at a cost of £420.
From: Guardian


Tue, June 6th 2006

New rules set to launch red card spree

Refereeing standards to be in the spotlight

After the variable quality of refereeing performances in previous World Cups, it is important for the referees of the opening 2 games on Friday to set a sensible precedent for the rest of the tornament.

Fifa’s head of refereeing Josť-Maria Garcia Aranda does not seem to have calmed the situation by demanding that the officials ‘proactively’ referee games. The old cliche that a good referee is one you do not notice could not be truer, or it seems, further from Aranda’s mind.

World Cup referees have been ordered to send off players who “lunge” at opponents, a decree that is likely to set off a raging debate over exactly what the term entails.

From: Guardian


Vague guidelines such as this and the current offside rule could threaten to spoil the competition. Dubious decisions in the last tornament saw Italy and Spain defeated and the job of the referee is hard enough without ill thought-out rules.

The Guardian article lists the level of caution a player should receive for certain offences. Some look potentially too harsh, but I feel FIFA must start introducing red cards for ‘simulation’ (diving). It is this form of blatant cheating that I would prefer to see eradicated, rather than the occasional miss-timed foul.

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Mourinho said: “I have no idea who can stop Brazil because they have such a strong team, much more so than they did in 2002. For now, there are two teams who stand out — Germany and Holland.

From: The Sun



Ronaldo is suffering from blisters after wearing new Nike boots.

The Brazil superstar moaned: “It’s not just one blister — it’s several on both feet. One is from an open wound and I am already using ointment to accelerate the healing process.

“I have to be sure to treat myself well so that the blisters do not interfere with World Cup preparations.”

Ronaldo, 29, was given new boots in the build-up to the finals.

From: The Sun



Mon, June 5th 2006

The Sun claims that England’s squad took, among many other items, the following to Germany on Monday:

Styling mousse (24 cans), shampoo (24 bottles), soap (48 bars), vibrating razors (24), electric toothbrushes, Jaffa Cakes (2,300), wasp killer (48 cans), white socks (122 pairs), crisps (several dozen boxes) and a food blender.

From: The Sun via BBC



Predictions: England to win cup

A world cup predicted.

A part serious, part tounge-in-cheek, part hopeful prediction for the World Cup.

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Ladbrokes currently have Brazil clear 5/2 favourites, with a clutch of European teams and Argentina from 7/1 to 14/1. USA are 80/1.

(Top prices: Brazil 5/2,  England 7/1, Germany 7/1, Argentina 8/1, Italy 8/1, France 12/1, Holland 12/1, Spain 14/1, Portugal 22/1, Czech Republic 25/1)


Holland sustained three injuries during their 1-1 friendly with Australia on Sunday with Wesley Sneijder’s ankle knock considered to be most serious.

From: BBC



Crouch hat-trick buoys England

England 6 - Jamaica 0

England gain confidence boosting win in their final friendly before the World Cup, with Peter Crouch scoring a hat-trick and missing a penalty.

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Fri, May 19th 2006

Sven-Goran Eriksson, in his serene, understated way, can be as fiercely protective of his players as Sir Alex Ferguson or Jose Mourinho and those instincts came to the fore here yesterday as the England manager launched a robust defence of Owen Hargreaves and insisted that the Bayern Munich player could play a prominent role in the World Cup.

Eriksson’s plan for the World Cup is to field a defensive midfielder instead of Joe Cole when England come up against one of the leading nations.

From: Guardian



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