By the end of this week, the World Cup finals will be under way, so this week’s links are largely taken up with different angles on looking forward to the tournament, although there is a special place this week for Manchester United, who seem likely to have a problematic summer as season tickets come up for renewal. As well as this, we have why football rivalries fade into the background when a genuine crisis rears its head and a stout defence of oft-maligned penalty shootout. Don’t forget, also, that the Twohundredpercent 2010 World Cup finals page is up and running, and can be found here.

In Defence Of Penalty Shootouts: When Saturday Comes’ Steven Quick offers a stout defence of the Lottery That Isn’t Really A Lottery that will probably be the cause of England’s elimination from this summer’s tournament.

Pitch Invasion takes a quick look at the North Korean attempt to hoodwink FIFA into having only two goalkeepers and an extra squad in their squad for the finals, and notes Patrick Barclay’s bizarre assertion that there is something “vaguely American” about such opposing such skulduggery.

– The simpletons amongst us may have assumed that a football club going bust may lead to celebration at that club’s local rivals. We’re more intelligent than that, of course, as Four Four Two’s Richie Morris explains.

United Rant is unhappy about Manchester United’s new shirt sponsors…

– …while David Conn is as readable as ever on the subject of The Glazers in The Guardian.

– And finally, Richard Whittall says what all football bloggers have been thinking about advertisers who have come around to thinking that they shouldn’t have to pay for advertising.