The grim inevitability of World Cup hooligan stories

The first story about the hooligan threat to the World Cup has emerged courtesy of South Africa’s Times Live. It follows incidents at Wednesday night’s Carling Cup Manchester derby. There’s just one problem. The author takes some critics to task for suggesting the Togo attack will have any bearing on the World Cup. It probably won’t, a sentiment I happen to agree with. So to then suggest the actions of a couple of morons are likely to be repeated in South Africa is a blatant double standard.


World Cup shame for “negative” countries

The big news from FIFA this morning is the comments from general secretary Jerome Valcke. He says some western countries are very negative about the World Cup and asks that South Africa be given the same fair treatment other World Cup hosts get. Find out more here.


Hooligans to be banned from World Cup

So 3,000 of the hardcore nutters who might be expected to ruin this year’s World Cup are to have their passports taken away and told not to be naughty for a month. Is this a realistic solution? They are presumably free to cause mayhem here instead. I’d prefer to have this lot as far away from the UK as possible. Surely someone could open up the old Soviet gulags on the Kamchatka Peninsula and pack these mutants off for a few weeks? Sadly that’s not what our press said. Read on for more.

Best World Cup Player Of The Decade Part 4: the 1970s

The fourth in the series offers a critical evaluation of the teams and players from the nineteen-seventies.


Possible ticket boost for England

Here’s an interesting report on the World Cup ticket situation. While England hasn’t sold its full allocation, demand from other European countries is so low that organisers may sell some additional tickets back to the FA if England progress to the later knock out stages. Read on for more.


World Cup terrorist threat to England?

As expected, the World Cup security threat story continued over the weekend. This latest report came from the same source quoted here on Friday, but with an added twist. It seems England’s games are no longer “potential flashpoints”. Read on to find out why.


Will England have ex-SAS loons who can kill with a glance?

A report out this morning says some teams are preparing to make their own security arrangements during the World Cup. It seems the likes of Germany, Italy, Australia and New Zealand are to take additional staff to support security staff already in place. One source quoted isn’t surprised, given the scale of the event. So what is the story here?

Best World Cup Player of the Decade Part 3: the 1960s

The third in the series offers a critical evaluation of the teams and players from the nineteen-sixties.


Psychic predicts World Cup misery for England

From Suffolk comes the World Cup news England fans have been dreading. A psychic says the Three Lions won’t win the tournament in South Africa this summer. She also has lots to say on a range of topics but in an unsurprisingly general way. Let’s have a closer look.


Pele on the 2010 World Cup

Pele has waded into the debate on security and the World Cup with what are being regarded as ill-advised views. So what has the legendary No.10 said and what does it all mean?


Henry gets World Cup reprieve

Be honest, who really expected Thierry Henry to be punished for his handball exploits during the now infamous France - Ireland World Cup 2010 play off? Only the most gullible fool with no idea of how these things work could imagine football’s governing body would open this can of worms again. Blatter and Co. just want the whole thing to go away so they can safely holiday in Galway without being pestered by irate fans waving papier mache moral compensation awards in some supposedly ironic gesture.


Beckham “to aim for 200 caps minimum”

That could just as easily have been the headline in any of the ‘when will he retire?’ stories which flooded the world’s media this weekend. As it is, we are no closer to knowing when the ageing free kick expert will finally close his global publicity machine, sorry, ‘hang up his boots’. Here’s a selection of the stories.


Jesus saves – but St John puts in the rebound

Let’s start today with some World Cup 2010 religious news. The Egyptian squad currently playing in Angola during the African Nations Cup doesn’t contain a single Christian because coach Hassan Shehata now only selects pious players who are, in his words, “on good terms with God”.


World Cup 2010 ticket debate continues

Yesterday’s column started off with concerns about the low number of tickets bought by South Africans and Africans in general for World Cup games featuring their countries. So this morning I was very pleased to find an article from the Port Elizabeth-based Herald. Some of the comments from fans are worth quoting in full.


Do we want half-empty stadiums at the World Cup?

With concerns growing about the low number of World Cup 2010 tickets purchased by Africans and South Africans in particular, isn’t time someone got a grip of this issue before it is too late?


Good news from the African Nations Cup (for England)

Following the doom and gloom after last week’s attack on the Togo team and a weekend filled with confusion and uncertainty, there is some good news: Algeria don’t seem as if they will be bringing much to the World Cup 2010 party. Losing 3 – 0 to Malawi is hardly going to frighten England or the US. You imagine Slovenia will also take heart from this result. If this poor form continues, Algeria could be looking at a dismal group stage in South Africa. What a contrast from the exhilaration of beating bitter rivals Egypt to qualify. Who was to know that’s all the Algerians can do?


What does the attack on the Togo team mean for World Cup 2010?

There was really only one football story this weekend - the distressing attack on the Togo team by rebels in a disputed part of Angola. Nearly 72 hours have passed since the incident rocked African football. It took far less time for the world’s press and the blogosphere to start weighing up the implications of the attack for the 2010 World Cup.


Special World Cup 2010 marketing edition

Let’s start today with a new marketing campaign by an advertising agency linked to ESPN. The premise is simple. Wieden+Kennedy New York create a spoof heavy metal band called The Group of Death. Content on Facebook, YouTube and MySpace is followed by a special gig and a “rockumentary”. Think Spinal Tap on a cold Sunday morning and you’ve got the idea. I’m pretty sure the reference to “Manchester United's team song (Elvis Presley's ‘You'll Never Walk Alone’)” is a joke but you can never be too sure.


A brief look at a World Cup venue

Some mornings you just shake your head and wonder why people bother. Take today. Having spotted an article entitled “6 Things About Rustenburg - 2010 World Cup Venue” I sat back for what I presumed would be a tour of local pubs and restaurants. The kind of useful information England or USA fans can use. Inexplicably, while there are “popular eateries” and “traditional taverns” in the area, this article fails to mention beer. Do they want fans to come or not?


Watching the World Cup through stupid glasses

You can’t move this morning without bumping into stories about the ESPN 3D service which is due to start with the opening match of World Cup 2010. Fabulous. I can’t wait to hold a special World Cup barbecue complete with 20 pairs of oversized NHS specs. My house will look like it’s hosting some obscure geek film convention minus the popcorn and Pearl & Dean adverts. Worse still, the nightmare vision conjured up here a few months back of Wayne Rooney scoring and then thrusting his Shrek face through my 32” screen will come true. OK, the technology won’t actually be available here in the UK until the World Cup, so we’ll be spared this horror for a while, but the question still remains: is this progress or another example of technology’s increasing stranglehold on the game?


Best World Cup Player of The Decade Part 2: the 1950s

This is the second in a series of posts entitled Best World Cup Player Of The Decade. Taking each decade in turn, the idea is to critically evaluate the teams and players before honouring one player for his performances during the tournaments.

Capello injures knee with wild swing of left peg

You never kick a ball like that. The posture is all wrong. Get some welly behind it and stop the mincing. That’s what the caption to this photo of Fabio Capello should have said but didn’t. No wonder he needs a new kneecap.


2010 will be a World Cup year to remember

Welcome back to World Cup Bafana Bafana 2010, the site for news and views on the road to Soccer City.

It’s 2010 World Cup year, so in keeping with Fabio Capello’s low key approach the UK press has this morning decided to say absolutely nothing new about the tournament, squads etc. It won’t last.

Instead, to ease you gently back into World Cup news here is a selection of the more unusual stories I spotted during the holidays.