Oh lord. It’s all apparently getting a little bit much to bear in the Argentinian World Cup camp (see below) and I can fully sympathise, as I’m on the verge of passing out through sheer excitement myself.
Two hours, one minute and counting!
In the mean time, here’s the best of today’s World Cup-hued tish and fipsy…
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We start with some bad news I’m afraid, as South African icon Nelson Mandela has confirmed that he will not be attending the opening ceremony of the World Cup after his great-granddaughter, Zenani Mandela, was killed in a tragic car crash following the ‘Kick Off’ concert in Soweto last night.
A statement issued by the Nelson Mandela Foundation read;
“Nelson Mandela this morning learned of the tragic death of his great-granddaughter in a car accident. It would therefore be inappropriate for him to personally attend the 2010 FIFA World Cup opening celebrations.
We are sure that South Africans and people all over the world will stand in solidarity with Mr Mandela and his family in the aftermath of this tragedy.
We continue to believe that the 2010 FIFA World Cup is a momentous and historic occasion for South Africa and the continent and we are certain it will be a huge success. ‘Madiba’ will be there with you in spirit today.”
Johannesburg police spokeswoman Edna Mamonyane said the driver of the car involved in the one-car accident had been arrested and charged with drink-driving. Mamonyane also added that the driver could also face culpable homicide charges.
Please allow me to extend my condolences to the Mandela family on behalf of everybody at Soccerlens.
You can read Rueters account of the accident here.
All is not well…
Like the Dutch World Cup squads of yesteryear, it would appear that divisions within the France camp are threatening to derail Les Bleus before their tournament campaign even begins.
Yesterday, coach Raymond Domenech incurred the wrath of some of his senior players after hinting that he may select Sidney Govou ahead of Thierry Henry for France’s opening game against Uruguay – after all, Henry did single-handedly secure his country’s qualification for South Africa.
The infighting is apparently so bad that some players are refusing to pass to each other.
“During their recent friendly against Costa Rica, it was suggested that Nicolas Anelka refused to pass to Yoann Gourcuff, with Franck Ribery also apparently selective with his passing last week as the French fell to an embarrassing defeat at the hands of China.”
It is also alleged that Domenech had to intervene during training yesterday, telling Patrice Evra to ask Florent Maluoda to curb his aggressive tackling – with the French coach having to physically calm the Chelsea winger down when he refused to heed Evra’s protestations.
That’s how you do it…
This here is England coach Fabio Capello back in his playing days, when his Italy side took on Argentina in the 1974 World Cup.
There are two things to note here, the first being how much of a dirty bugger Fab was (late and knee-high!), and the second being the remarkable manor in which he deals with the disagreeable referee – watch and learn Wayne, that’s how you avoid cautions for dissent!
Paraguay striker Oscar Cardozo has put his World Cup in jeopardy after failing to follow the recommended treatments prescribed to him by his personal doctor, Francisco Sosa.
Cardozo picked up an injury whilst playing for Benfica in April and flew his doctor half-way across the world the following month, to ensure that he recovered in time for the club’s final league fixture.
However the striker, who was expected to shine in South Africa after notching 36 goals for his club last season, failed to follow instructions and now faces being replaced in the Paraguay squad by Club Libertad forward Sergio Aquino.
Argentina coach Diego Maradona has been quoted as saying watching Carlos Tevez play gives him goosebumps, presumably in much the same way that looking at Carlos Tevez brings me out in hives.
So said ‘El Diego’;
“Carlos can’t be outside of the starting XI for this team for what he has shown to me and for what he demonstrated in England. To see him play gives me goosebumps.”
Which reminded me of a quote a certain Mr Tevez made last year;
“Diego talks and you get goosebumps.”
I can only imagine it must be a little bit tense in the Argentina camp of late.
So that’s what proper journalism looks like…
Brian Phillips has written an excellent and informative piece for Slate documenting the history of soccer (by which I assume he probably means football – nudge, nudge…) in America during the 1920’s.
Covering the sport’s fledgling pre-war roots Stateside, the piece highlights the birth and subsequent near-death of Soccerball over the pond during it’s formative years.
You can read Brian’s article ‘The Secret History Of American Soccer’ here, and it comes very highly recommended by Soccerlens.
Consider this a friendly nudge in the direction of the first in the World Cup series of the Soccerlens podcast.
Adrian Clarke and Spraggy are joined by former England international Martin Keown to discuss big-name absentees, awful football songs, North Korea’s bungled attempt to hoodwink FIFA and other such South Africa-tinged topics.
Quote of the day…
“[Henry] went and sat down next to an Irish player to console him, even though he’d screwed them three minutes earlier. If I’d been Irish, he wouldn’t have lasted three seconds.”
An oldie, but a fitting goody from Eric Cantona on France’s chosen method of World Cup qualification.
And in other news…
Metronomic midfielder Andrea Pirlo is set to miss Italy’s first two World Cup games against Paraguay and New Zealand with a calf strain. Fiorentina’s Riccardo Montolivo is poised to deputise for the Milan anchor man. (BBC)
Brazilian defender Dani Alves believes his country’s ‘quality, creativity and capacity to surprise opponents’ will be enough to see them through to the World Cup final. (Telegraph)
England ‘striker’ Emile Heskey believes that there is ‘more to his game than just goal-scoring’ – which is a good job considering he has less international goals than Colombia ‘keeper Rene Higuita. (Sky Sports)
Soccerlens Fantasy Football
There is £1600 up for grabs (along with some equally flush runners-up prizes) for the winner of the Soccerlens World Cup Fantasy Football Challenge so why not try your hand?
Just think about those bragging rights!
The 2010 World Cup on Soccerlens
There will be comprehensive coverage of the World Cup on Soccerlens over the coming months.
With the dedicated World Cup section (choke full of info, including fixtures and stats – and even links to buy replica shirts) on SL, there really is no need to go anywhere else for your World Cup needs this summer!