Oh s***

by on March 31, 2010
in World Cup 2010

More later, but Wayne Rooney picked up an ankle injury last night in the Champions League game against Bayern Munich in Germany. Nobody seems to have any real information about how bad the injury is, but it doesn’t seem likely that he’ll play for Manchester United against Chelsea on Saturday lunchtime. What impact the injury will have this summer is also unknown; if it’s serious, we’re in big trouble.

Sven’s Footballing Adventure Continues…

Having left Notts County at the beginning of February and seemingly doomed to wander the earth forever, Sven-Goran Eriksson was appointed coach of Ivory Coast today. Not much of a chance of our boys running into him and his new charges this summer: they have to face Brazil, Portugal and the thousand mile horses of North Korea in the group stage and would only play us in the semis – assuming get that we both get that far. Still, it’ll be fun to see how Svennis gets on with his new team, who begin their campaign with Didier Drogba versus Cristiano Ronaldo in the 10m men’s diving competition on Tuesday 15th June.

The End Of The Road For David Beckham?

by on March 15, 2010
in World Cup 2010

David Beckham has been ruled out of the 2010 World Cup after tearing an Achilles tendon towards the end of Milan’s Serie A game with Chievo last night.
Having listened to various radio interviews with sports injury specialists last night, this injury isn’t one of the ‘he might be available at the end of the tournament’ types that the England team has suffered before: this is more along the lines of ‘he might play again.’
While it is undoubtedly a personal blow for Beckham – had he gone to South Africa it would have been his fourth finals, an English record – whether or not it is a blow to the team’s chances is up for debate. Beckham’s loss may be Theo Walcott’s gain.

More later: the other thing that springs to mind is that Adam Johnson scored a Beckhamesque goal for Manchester City at Sunderland yesterday and may now be in consideration for a late, late call up.

Pop Star’s Hubby Injured: World Cup Over

It was always bound to be a case of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’; following David Beckham’s metatarsal in 2002 and Wayne Rooney’s broken foot in 2006,  Ashley Cole may miss all or part of the World Cup finals with a fractured ankle.

Multiple ironic angles here: the injury was sustained when Cole was tackling Landon Donovan of the USAin Chelsea’s 2-1 defeat to Everton during the week: but now the door is wide open for Wayne Bridge to make an international return…alongside Errol Flynn. Obviously it’s Sr. Capello’s shout from here on in, but this needs to be sorted out as soon as possible, arguably before John Terry gets back from Dubai (where he’s been ‘talking’ to his wife) and definitely before the friendly versus Egypt.

The main reason: I would hope that our forthcoming opponents have too much class to start making comments about the ‘situation’ between Terry and Bridge on the pitch – but all you need is a Marco Materazzi and Zinedine Zidane style incident and England could be on the next plane home.

Let’s just hope that no-one else gets crocked.

In other news…Sven-Goran Eriksson’s rather bizarre sojourn as Director of Football at Notts Countyis over after Notts were sold for £1. If some of the rumours flying around are to be believed, he may be moving from the sublime to the ridiculous; apparently he may be in line for the North Korea job. Sounds like a job for Photoshop if ever there was one; on that note, we’ll wish you a pleasant weekend and leave you with a song (which contains some choice language right at the start, so be warned!) that seems appropriate on a number of levels…

For Whom The Bell Tolls…

It seems that you can’t watch TV or read a newspaper in the UK without being told about John Terry’s latest indiscretions so here’s a link to the Daily Mirror report.

The only real football interest in the story is what Fabio Capello will do. The new story – combined with other issues – has dented Terry’s credibility as captain (to put it mildly) but some of the names that have been suggested as replacements are hardly paragons of virtue. Unfortunately it seems that the press seem to think of the captain of the England team should be some kind of knight in shining armour; which is a lesson that any professional footballer with either aspiring to or currently occupying that position ought to remember the first thing in the morning when they wake up or last thing at night when they go to bed.

It was interesting watching ‘The Andrew Marr Show’ on BBC2 this morning as Sophie Raworth was the guest presenter, presumably meaning considerably less embarrassment for the BBC as Marr had one of these so-called ‘super injunctions’ overturned a few weeks ago. Arguably that should have set alarm bells ringing in certain quarters, but if you are arrogant enough to think you can get away with everything up to and including trying to gag the press…

In other news…Togo have been banned for the next two African Cup of Nations tournaments after they withdrew from the 2010 tournament (that ends today) because their bus was attacked by gunmen. Fortunately reserve keeper Kodjovi Obilale is making an excellent recovery from the gunshot wounds he received in the attack. Ghana face Egypt later in the final: the semi-final between Algeria and Egypt ended with the latter defeating the former 4-0 and the Algerians finishing the game with eight players. Not letting Algeria have any time on the ball and going for an early goal might be the way forward for our Group C game against them (Friday 18th June, 7:30pm GMT); expect a lot of impassioned gesturing, rolling around and sulking – and the Algerians may also try something like that.

More good news: Paraguay striker Salvador Cabanas – who was shot in a bar in Mexico City last week – is also making good progress although his participation this summer is highly doubtful. It appears he was shot following an argument with a known Mexican gangster who accused Cabanas of not scoring enough goals for Club America.

And finally…Arsenal v Manchester United this afternoon. In 3D if you’re lucky enough to live near one of the bars with the equipment.

Paraguay Striker Shot, In Critical Condition

by on January 25, 2010
in World Cup 2010

We will try to bring you some good news soon, but Salvador Cabanas of Paraguay was shot in the head this morning in the toilet of a bar in Mexico City. Apparently he was conscious when he arrived at hospital and has had the bullet removed; the full story is here.

‘O wad some Power the giftie gie us…’

Burns Night is a couple of weeks from now, but having been for a bit of a trawl round the internet this evening I came across this gem and was immediately reminded of these lines from Burns’ poem ‘To A Louse’:

‘O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!’

By the way, the Algerians may very well be ‘box fresh’ in June but they lost  3-0 to mighty Malawi in the African Cup of Nations earlier today. If Malawi can put three past them…

England’s Fixtures For 2010

Saturday 12th June 2010, KO 7:30pm GMT – England v USA

Friday 18th June, KO 7.30pm GMT – England v Algeria

Wednesday 23rd June, KO 3:00pm GMT – England v Slovenia

So there’s now no excuses for getting married on those dates 😉

FIFA Probably Needs To Redefine ‘Emergency Meeting’

First of all, apologies – some peculiar technical glitches with my internet connection (who knew that ‘the internets’ could get blown around by high winds) and my laptop (which desperately needs a new fan), it’s not been possible to post anything for a week or so. Everything seems to be working at the moment, so here’s a new post.

A quick summary of yesterday’s FIFA emergency general meeting: there will no changes in the amount of match officials and Thierry Henry will be ‘investigated’.

That’s it. I hope lunch was a good one.

More importantly, the seeding system for tomorrow’s draw were announced and are as follows:

Pot One:  South Africa, Brazil, Spain, Italy, Germany, Argentina, England and the Netherlands

Pot Two: Ivory Coast, Ghana, Cameroon, Nigeria, Algeria, Paraguay, Chile and Uruguay

Pot Three: Japan, South Korea, North Korea, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Mexico and Honduras.

Pot Four:  France, Portugal, Slovenia, Switzerland, Greece, Serbia, Denmark and Slovakia.

According to the latest FIFA rankings, five of the teams in Pot 4, half of the teams in Pot 2 and two of the teams in Pot 3 are in the top 20. Despite qualifying via the playoffs, France and Portugal are currently ranked higher than we are (which may see one of them drawn in South Africa’s group)

Another thing worth remembering is that as the South American qualifiers have already played each other during their continental qualifying competition, it is highly unlikely that they’ll be drawn against each other. I’d also be surprised if South Africa are drawn against another African nation.

There’s been a lot of speculation in today’s press regarding possible opponents for England but I’m not going to waste time on that; here’s a list of qualifying nations we’ve never played: Algeria, Ghana, Honduras, North Korea, the Ivory Coast and Serbia. I really hope we avoid the last two in the group stages – both of them are potential quarter finalists. Another fact to amaze your friends: we have not played a competitive game against Chile since the notorious 1950 World Cup campaign when we lost to the USA.

All being well we’ll be covering the draw live via the 11lionslive tab above. The draw will be covered on BBC2 starting at 5:15pm GMT and – apparently for the first time – live on ESPN at 12.oopm EST.

So in less than 24 hours we’ll know our opponents and millions of stickers, wall charts and previews will be keeping printing presses busy across the world…hooray!

FIFA Extraordinary General Meeting: Don’t Hold Your Breath.

by on November 23, 2009
in FIFA, World Cup 2010

The announcement today that Sepp Blatter has called an extraordinary general meeting of FIFA in Cape Town two days before the draw for the finals seems to be a classic case of shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted. The rather terse statement on FIFA.com runs as follows:

‘Due to recent events in the world of football, namely incidents at the play-offs for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africaâ„¢, match control (refereeing) and irregularities in the football betting market, the FIFA President has called an extraordinary meeting of the Executive Committee.’

OK, let’s go through this point by point. Presumably the ‘incidents’ include the stoning of the Algerian bus in Cairo before their playoff with Egypt, ‘match control’ must refer to Thierry Henry’s ‘goal’ versus Ireland and the ‘irregularities in the football betting market’ refers to the wave of arrests that have taken place in continental Europe over the past week or so. The first one is a World Cup issue and a World Cup connection is implied within the second issue so we’ll deal with them here: we’ll probably only discuss the third if it somehow becomes relevent to next summer.

The date of the meeting automatically rules out the prospect of some kind of Ireland v France rematch, but – as has been suggested elsewhere – it may mean that the experiment with two extra officials patrolling the goal lines that is taking part in the Europa League this season may be permanent next summer. If – and it’s a big if – the extra official had seen Henry’s handball, then the goal might not have been allowed; it remains to be seen if video technology might be considered, but when one of the corporate ‘partners’ is one of the world’s largest electronic manufacturers…well you get the picture. In HD where possible.

The bus stoning incident in Cairo was a pretty nasty one and both sides have blamed each other for it, but it was not the only problem during the qualifiers and certainly isn’t the first time that there’s been crowd trouble in Africa during qualifying competitions. Closer to home,  the Serbian FA were fined £26,700 (approximately $45,000 or 29,500 or so Euros) for trouble caused by their fans during their qualifiers and elements of our lunatic fringe will try their best to cause problems next summer. Apparently ‘street’ drinking is illegal in South Africa even though it is felt that the local police will ignore it for the duration of the finals; a horde of rampaging hooligans (or what might appear to be rampaging hooligans) in the middle of a country with an undeniably serious crime problem could be potentially catastrophic.

I really don’t want to come across as the voice of doom and I’d really like to think that the FIFA meeting might result in something positive, but quite what they’re going to do about an international superstar breaking Law 12 and getting away with it or how they expect to stop hooliganism by raising fines against national football associations is beyond me. Let’s see what they come up with…but don’t hold your breath.

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