Twelve years ago, at their own World Cup finals, France comfortably beat South Africa in their opening group game, going on to become the sixth nation to win the tournament at home. Today South Africa became the first hosts in the 80-year history of the competition to fall at the first hurdle, but their blushes were somewhat spared with this spirited display against an abject French side in their last game under Raymond Domenech. Twelve years is a long time in football.
Sitting an watching from the other side of “La Manche”, one of the few crumbs of comfort for England supporters over the first week of the 2010 World Cup finals has been the apparent disintegration of the France team over the same period of time. This reached its natural conclusion yesterday, when Nicolas Anelka was…
It’s hotting up, you know. Two terrifically entertaining matches this afternoon in South Africa have continued the 2010 World Cup’s awakening from slumber, and this evening France play Mexico in Group A. France’s advancement to the finals wasn’t, of course without controversy, but there is no place in their starting eleven this evening for Ireland’s…
Game two then, and after all the discussion of squad selections and line-ups, we’ve already had a look at ITV’s opening performance and it’s time to see what the BBC’s much-vaunted team can do. Given all the hype that accompanies even a Europa Cup Group phase game these days, or a game to decide who finishes fourth in the league, Lineker’s opening gambit here was an endearingly BBC-ish understatement: “The World Cup. Football tournaments don’t come much bigger.” You don’t say.
The 19th FIFA World Cup kicks off in nine weeks today, and as such Dotmund continues his almost-in-depth look ahead to this summer’s festivities. Today is the beginning of his preview of each of the eight groups, having been sent foraging for facts on the internet with only his trusty huge mackerel baguette for company. Predictably enough, we start with Group A.
Until someone figures out how to astroturf the moon and stop the corner flags floating away, all major sporting events have to take place somewhere. And when you have somewhere, you can rest assured that someone already lives there. The host nation and the home advantage are here to stay.
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,…