Finally the tournament has come to life. In the twenty four hours before this game we’ve had some fine football played by Switzerland, Uruguay and Argentina, some drama and a proper upset in the first of thesse games. We’ve even ahd some controversy going on off-the-field too. If we needed a reminder that behind this celebration of world football lies a grubby marketing exercise then there’s the faintly scandalous decision to prosecute two of the women involved in Monday’s ambush marketing stunt (which seemed, in any case, not to break any of FIFA’s strict rules) at the Holland v Denmark game. If you feel the need to tie your World Cup into a deal for an exclusive “official beer”, let alone one that tastes like muck, then you deserve to have your tournament ambush marketed. I applaud it and encourage it, even if I don’t applaud or encourage media pundits cashing in on the exercise.
Statistics are often as misleading as they are informative. On one hand this game is between the 2004 European Championship winners and the 2002 World Cup Semi-Finalists. Another way of describing the game is between a side whose World Cup finals record outside their own country is just one win in seventeen games (and that over African minnows Togo) and the only European nation ever to play at a World Cup without scoring. At the outset, that may be harsh, as the South Koreans are showing that the co-hosting of the Cup in 2002 has been beneficial in the long-term as the 1994 World Cup was for the United States.
The 19th FIFA World Cup kicks off in eight weeks today, and as such Dotmund continues his almost-in-depth look ahead to this summer’s festivities. Today he continues his preview of each of the eight groups, having been sent foraging for facts on the internet with only his trusty big pencil for company. Up for examination in this week’s post, Group B.