‘Panorama’ Did Us All A Favour

by on November 30, 2010
in Muckraking, World Cup 2018

‘Logic has to be suspended, normal standards of honesty and integrity have to be suspended. We have to go on our knees to accept FIFA diktats, crawl on our bellies to beg them to give us the World Cup.’

If you’ve not watched last night’s ‘Panorama’ then I strongly suggest that you do before reading this post. Here’s the link.

So…it’s not often that I agree with David Mellor, but it’s his quote at the top of the post and he’s absolutely right. As much as I would love the World Cup to be held in England, when it’s clear that there’s an endemic problem with corruption within FIFA then to be perfectly honest we’re better off staying as far away from them as possible.

In fact, I’d go further than that. We’ve always had issues with FIFA – the FA withdrew for political reasons after the First World War and didn’t return to the fold until after the Second – but it was only when Joao Havelange took over from Sir Stanley Rous in 1974 that the almost medieval culture of simony, patronage and nepotism began to prevail in Zurich.

Almost 40 years later, Sepp Blatter and his henchmen are running FIFA like a third world dictatorship and being  allowed to get away with it by both the football world and the Swiss authorities. There’s absolutely no point in the FA submitting any further bids to stage any tournament until the likes of Blatter, Ricardo Teixeira (Havelange’s ex-son in law) and Jack Warner have been removed from FIFA.

In summing up, as far as I’m concerned last night’s ‘Panorama’ destroyed any remaining credibility that FIFA had rather than any faint hopes that England might host the 2018 World Cup. In any case, there’s bound to be some decent teams that don’t qualify for the 2018 World Cup…so why don’t we organise an alternative one?

Feel free to disagree.  After all, 11 Lions is only a blog, not the international sporting equivalent of Zimbabwe.

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!

Le Main d’Henry

by on November 18, 2009
in Rash Predictions, World Cup 2010

The original headline for this piece was going to be ‘…And Then There Was One’ as in there’s only one place left in the finals: congratulations to Algeria, France, Greece, Portugal and Slovenia, all of whom have qualified before. The winner of Uruguay v Costa Rica (KO 11pm GMT) will claim the last place.

However, the evening’s events were overshadowed as Ireland were particularly unlucky after they lost to France, courtesy of a William Gallas goal featuring a blatant handball by Thierry Henry who ought to be absolutely ashamed of himself. France may have qualified but judged on their performance tonight they’ll be extremely lucky to get out of the group stages; I wonder if they’ll be drawn with Algeria. The referee was Martin Hansson of Sweden and it’ll be interesting to see if he makes it on to the officials list for the Finals.

An interesting bit of trivia to end with tonight: Algeria and Slovenia‘s winning goals were scored by Antar Yahia and Zlatko Dedic, both of whom play for VfL Bochum in the Bundesliga.