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World Cup 2010: Italy 1-1 Paraguay

At last, a proper football match, if still not a particularly good one until the last half-hour. Maybe it was the rain. Or maybe just Mick McCarthy’s obvious relish of the prospect of some “proper” defending.  “I’m not expecting a wide-open, flowing game of football,” he said, twice, in both hope and expectation. Alan Hansen…

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June 15, 2010

Video Of The Week: “The Match Of The Century” – Italy vs West Germany, 1970

The other week, we brought you the 1970 World Cup semi-final between Brazil and Uruguay in its entirety, and this week it’s time for the other semi-final from that tournament between Italy and West Germany. Italy had started the 1970 World Cup finals slowly. They won their group, but only managed one win, by a…

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June 8, 2010

World Cup Tales: Did Il Duce Fix It? Italy, 1934

When Joao Havelange claimed, in 2008, that the 1966 and 1974 World Cups were fixed, his claims were largely laughed out of court. Depending on who you listened to, he was either deliberately misconstruing events or demonstrating little more than the first signs of senility. What was, however, curious about his comments was what he…

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June 5, 2010

World Cup Preview: Group F

The 2010 World Cup kicks off in just three weeks time, so by this point the majority of football fans everywhere are only using products made by official tournament sponsors and eating impala for breakfast. Our intrepid Wikipedia monkey Dotmund has once again put his vuvuzela aside for just long enough to take a look at another of this summer’s groups. Today we find out about the reigning champions, a South American dark horse, a team from a very long way away and a European team who have only ever been in the World Cup before in disguise.

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May 21, 2010

World Cup Tales: The Battle Of Santiago, 1962

We hear a lot about the decline and fall of western civilization these days, but moral outrage at the behaviour of footballers is nothing new and, indeed, players at the World Cup finals this summer will have to go a long way to outdo the most serious incidents of player-on-player violence in the history of…

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May 21, 2010

The World Cup Of National Anthems (Part Three)

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.

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March 19, 2010

The Confederations Cup: Brazil 3-0 Italy

It’s worth remembering on evenings such as this that, much as some people used to make a degree of noise about South Americans not travelling well, no European side has ever won the World Cup outside of Europe. Anyone expecting this situation to change next summer may wish to take this evening’s match between Brazil…

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June 21, 2009
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