World Cup 2010

30 June 2010
Are any Premiership players having a good World Cup? Obviously we know about the England team but what about the others? Drogba, Torres, Malouda, Evra, Vidic, van Persie: none of them have exactly set the tournament alight. Could it be that playing in the Premiership precludes being any good in international tournaments? Would rather explain the 4-1.

27 June 2010
Fact of the Day

Germany has outperformed England in every World Cup since 1966.

20 June 2010
Another egregious example of vuvuzelaphobia:
The vuvuzela really took off in 2001 when Masincedane Sport started mass marketing a plastic version of it, an act that was called “unconscionable” by people who sell tainted crack to schoolchildren
"Enough!" I say. I rather like them. Though I may be the only one.

14 June 2010
It's the FIFA World Cup™. Not the World Cup. No, the FIFA World Cup™. Which tells us two important things:

1. FIFA is very powerful because it can get people to say this. And
2. FIFA is very stupid because it wants people to say this.

Which rather helps to confirm (pace Nassim Taleb) my belief that sports governing bodies are the worst organisations on the planet.

11 June 2010
Why does the BBC think that the World Cup started in 1986?

Some of you may have been watching “The World Cup’s most shocking moments” on BBC3.  I know I was.  It was, as the title implied, a countdown of what the producers reckoned were the 50 most shocking things to ever happen in the tournament.  “Great”, I thought “We’ll get to relive England 0 USA 1; Spain 0 Northern Ireland 1; West Germany 0 East Germany 1, the Battle of Berne and the Battle of Santiago.

But no.

It seemed that as far as the producers were concerned the World Cup started in 1986.  There was not a mention of anything before that - well, apart that is, from Scotland’s 1978 World Cup song (“We’ll really shake ‘em up when we win the World Cup.”) which in my ideal world would be mentioned at all times and everywhere, World Cup or not.

So, what was going on?  It could be that the producers felt that anything before 1986 would be boring and “irrelevant” to a modern audience.  But I doubt it.  If there’s one thing that generates an interest in history in young men it’s football.

I think the real reason is that they couldn’t get permission to use the footage. Which in itself is odd.  I understand that if you want to show anything in Formula One since 1980 you have to get Bernie Ecclestone’s permission.  And I wonder if a similar process was going on here but in reverse.

The other oddity was that they could show every second of the last World Cup final except the one in which Zidane headbutted Matarazzi.  Now, to give them their due they did say they couldn’t show it.  At which I thought “Fantastic.  I’ve kept a tape of the game.  I’ll have to arrange a screening.  It’ll be like Clockwork Orange all over again.”  So, you can imagine my disappointment when I saw the headbutt in all its glory ITV4.  Which rather made me wonder why the BBC chose to lie about it.