I volunteered for this game. On paper it seemed a good idea to do. I’d seen Slovenia play Spain at Euro 2000, and Slovenia are some of the loudests fans I’ve ever come across. They only really have one song: “Kdor ne skače,ni Slovenc, hej, hej, hej”. And when they sing, they jump up and down in unison, and if you’re in the upper tier of a stadium with 10,000 Slovenians ten feet away for them, you get that a great atmosphere, with the slight sense of unease that the stadium is going to collapse.
The 2010 FIFA World Cup kicks off in six weeks today, close enough that you can start to hear the vuvuzelas. Continuing his preview of this summer (winter)’s events, Dotmund has now reached Group C, where he will do his best to cover the large three lions tattoo on his face and behave in the sort of balanced way we like here at Twohundredpercent. Let’s see what he discovered, with his little notebook at his side.
For many people, major sports tournaments are the only occasion that national anthems are heard. These peculiar tunes have become a genre of their own, transcending the mere hymns that many of them were in first place, and they range from the gloriously uplifting to mournful dirges. The selection of words has, in many countries, brought about national debate that has been all-encompassing. In the case of Spain, it was decided that it would probably be for the best just to not bother having any for the sake of national unity.
Mark Murphy concludes his marathon round-up of the African Cup of Nations with a round-up of the latter stages of a competition that was, sadly, upstaged by events that took place before a ball had even been kicked.
The hype machine will run into overdrive over the next few months or so and there is nothing that anyone can do about it, apart from gently remind the watching world that even what looks at first glance like a comfortable World Cup draw might yet contain numerous pitfalls for England.