Ahead of Friday’s Cape Town balls out of a bag extravaganza the Telegraph says England are hoping for a kind draw. Not much of a surprise there. What is surprising is this report’s view of the likely pots: the African and South American teams in Pot 3, and the Asia, North America and Oceania qualifiers in Pot 4. Not sure how they worked that one out.
Elsewhere, the Times talks up Michael Dawson’s chances of making the England squad for next summer. Shame you can’t find the Spurs defender on Match Attax.
The Independent sets out a list of ‘serious contenders’, ‘tricky customers’ and teams it reckons England would be ‘happy to meet’. The Indie doesn’t hold out much hope for teams which are ‘there for the ride’. And their possible Group of Death looks horrific.
Here is David James in the Guardian on ‘the save of the century’. Portsmouth’s occasional keeper takes issue with a blogger who described Gordon Banks’ save in the 1970 Brazil game as “routine”. Is he right or wrong?
I found myself watching ESPN Classic yesterday morning - and what a treat Brazil versus The Netherlands from 1974 was. The Brazilians were occasionally good but even Jairzinho was starting to look his age by this point. The holders were also prone to malicious tackles, which seemed to be the only way to stop a magnificent Dutch side. Even so, the passing and movement from Cruyff and Co. was breathtaking. Watch it again on ESPN if you get the chance. So you know, famous England World Cup matches are also being shown in December.
If North Korea is “the country with the world's second-biggest chip on its shoulder”, which has the first biggest? This article in the Scotsman doesn’t elaborate on the point as it wonders who the Scots might support in South Africa. I presumed it would be whoever the English are playing. Why change the habit of a lifetime?
And the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban has seen its first action. Here is a suitably enthusiastic report from Karen Lotter of Vuvuzela South Africa. “This stadium is going to be a hit”, says Karen. Who are we to disagree with that assessment?