Day: June 9, 2010

The First Of The Twohundredpercent World Cup Predictions

Predicting the winner of the World Cup is simultaneously both easy and difficult. It is easy in so far as that to this day only *cough* seven  nations have ever won the eighteen tournaments, and half of the wins have been achieved by six nations, Brazil and Italy. On the other hand, however, the pre-tournament favourites do have a tendency to not lift the trophy. The history of the World Cup final is, however, littered with the remains of great teams that managed to fail somehow or other, only to see another nation take the title and the accompanying glory. I am not going to claim to have an overriding knowledge of all of the teams that are taking part in South Africa this summer. However, it is not unreasonable to argue that comparing and contrasting the players in each squad isn’t the all-truthful panacea that the rest of the media may make it out to be. There are other ways of analysing what may or may not happen at the 2010 World Cup finals, and our predictions will be looking at other factors as well. It has been said that those that do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it, and this applies as much to crumpled up betting slips as anything else. For the purposes of these predictions, I will be looking for four teams....

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England: The Auld Enemy?

It’s been brought to my attention that there’s something called a World Cup starting later this week and that I might want to start writing about it. I’ve got to admit the enthusiasm isn’t really coming naturally to me in the way it might once have done. Maybe I’m just getting old but I’m not so sure that’s sufficient to explain it – it’s not that I’m not still capable of getting ridiculously overexcited about footie. (I’ve just read that Raith might be bidding for Kevin Smith and the prospect of seeing him and John Baird up front next season is getting me as giddy as a kid on Christmas Eve.)

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Mark Murphy’s World Cup Recollections, Part Two

My GOD, Italia ’90 was crap. There’s been a recent attempt to rehabilitate the tournament on the basis of the long-term impact of England’s relative success. But I’m not about to join in. After I wondered aloud how a team as bad as West Germany were in 1982 and 1986 could reach consecutive finals (compare and contrast with the Netherlands in 1974 and 1978), along came Argentina in 1990. Bobby Charlton demanded Argentina’s expulsion from FIFA after their antics in the final. This suggested he still had issues from the 1966 quarter-final (Alf Ramsey calling them “animals” etc…). More likely, however, was that good a man though he is, xenophobia was his default option. It’s a generational thing. But Argentina were petulant and nasty and terrible. Ireland were just terrible. And I say that as a fan who rejoiced as much as any second-generation Irishman as they marched to the quarter-finals without losing…but without winning and barely without scoring. England were mixed. The day after the goalless draw with the Netherlands, TV satire puppet show Spitting Image ran a spoof of Bobby Robson’s post-match press conference. The puppet Robson went through his usual excuses for failure while journos screamed that “No…NO…Bobby, you played quite well.” Holland apart, they were only any good in the semi-final. I was fearful and exhilarated in equal measure as Cameroon outplayed them in the quarter-final...

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