On a day when England had played and won and qualified for the knockout stages of the World Cup, by the time the second set of games was ready to kick-off the day’s sports events were being overshadowed – or at least challenged for prominence – by an extraordinary first round singles match between two little known men at Wimbledon. I’d promised to cover this game though, so conscientious as ever I tore myself away from the tennis with John Isner and Nicolas Mahut locked at 45-45 in the final set. I had thought I might watch with BBC radio coverage for a change, but 5 Live extra were being less dedicated to the World Cup cause and were promising to switch to the football when – or if – the tennis finished.
The German side who sparked this World Cup into life with their 4-0 win over Australia, a German side so effortlessly impressive that they brought all the very best paranoid and stereotypical utterances about “Ze Germans” out of the normally *cough* very reserved and neutral British press, were back in action today. But you’d have had to be a very brave man, or a very proud Serb, to have seen this. In fact, although Serbia were much improved on their opening performance against Ghana, it’s difficult to believe it happened.
Why are all the matches in the tournament that I have to cover for Twhohundredpercent on ITV? It’s not that the BBC coverage appears to be any better – indeed, it appears that yesterday’s Match of the Day highlights package neglected to show any footage from South Korea’s win over Greece, which is fairly appalling – but I am a snob. Actually, it’s frankly preposterous the amount of pre-game build-up and half-time punditry that I’m watching in this tournament, considering the cataclysmic effect it has on my sanity, ITV or otherwise.
The 2010 FIFA World Cup kicks off in five weeks today, close enough to feel the disappointment. Today we continue our preview of this summer’s tournament with a look at the prospects for the teams in Group D: Germany, Australia, Serbia and Ghana. No doubt drawing numerous questionable conclusions along the way will be your regular guide, the increasingly excitable Dotmund.
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.