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In England, it isn’t difficult to run into Francophobia. Sometimes it feels as if a range of feelings from mild dislike to irrational, rabid hatred are hard-wired into our DNA. As such, those of us that like (or even love) the country that lies just the other side of the English Channel can find ourselves…
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.
Today is National Youth Day in South Africa. It marks the anniversary of the start of the 1976 Soweto riots, which began with the death of twenty-three people after the police opened fire on a protest in the township against the imposition of Arikaans in schools. The events of that day caused revulsion around the…
The gloves are now off. For the first game of any World Cup, you always need to pick your strongest side. Anything else would be foolhardy, so we can be fairly sure we are seeing people’s strongest hand. How, then, did ITV do? This year it was their turn to take the opening game for the first time in eight years, and they looked keen to show they meant business.
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.
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,…
South Africa, horns and all, have edged their way into the semi-finals of this year’s Confederations Cup, but their doing so has been something of a hollow victory for them, as we saw last night. Their procession through to the semi-finals was more about the shortcomings of others than about anything that they managed themselves….