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Friday, September 23, 2005

Can't Get Tickets...Get Screwed

If you arrive in Germany in time for the World Cup Finals next year but don't have a ticket, then you might think you're screwed. Well, now you can literally be screwed because some bright spark is opening a fresh, shiny new brothel right next to the Olympic Stadium.

Despite all the publicity, one of the owners is claiming that "... the brothel was NOT built to take advantage of the crowds flooding Germany for next year's World Cup...". Um, well, building it next to one of the main stadia in the country and then courting a lot of press from the football media suggests otherwise, but we'll give Norman Jacob - the proprietor - the benefit of the doubt.

This rather extravagant facility not only has room for 650 men and 100 women at any one time but also a sauna, a movie theatre and, of course, the obligatory swimming pool. So if the World Cup football gets too much, one can always relax in the soon-to-be-world-famous Artemis Brothel. Best of luck to all who choose to avail themselves of the facilities.

The alternative, of course is to actually try to buy tickets for the World Cup, thereby ensuring you have absolutely no money for such debauchery.

posted by mark_s at 10:42 PM 0 comments

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Scots Clamour For Last Few Tickets

Three hundred extra tickets go on sale tomorrow at the Scottish Football Museum shop at Hampden from 10am, for Scotland's World Cup qualifier against Belarus.

With the sudden resurgence of the Scottish football team and (a very slim) chance of them qualifying for the finals of the 2006 competition in Germany, demand is extremely high. So if you're Scottish and you want a ticket, I'd start queuing now !

I'm kinda hoping that Scotland do get through to the Finals as their fans are always good value on the big stage and will add some much needed humour and good cheer to what can be a far too serious event at times.

posted by mark_s at 6:54 PM 0 comments

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Germany's World Cup Odds Not Good Says Rummenigge

One of the most enjoyable things about the build up to the World Cup football tournament is the old 'legends' coming out of the woodwork to give advice and dispense wisdom where it isn't wanted.

Karl-Heinze Rummenigge (who was, admittedly, a true German legend) has this to say about
Germany's odds of winning the 2006 World Cup :

"The team has certain problems, and if it doesn't solve these in defence it has, for me, no chance of becoming world champions."

Hardly patriotic, but not exactly controversial either. However, what Rummenigge fails to explain is just how Germany is expected to solve their defensive problems when they only have friendly matches between now and when the real football starts next summer.

Also, this all reminds me of this time last World Cup when everyone (except the English press, for some strange but prescient reason) was ruling the Germans out. How did they fare last time round ? Runners Up. Hmm....

For those who want a more objective perspective on Germany's odds of winning the 2006 World Cup, the longest odds I could find at time of writing are 8/1 at . If you think Germany are likely to win on home soil, then I'd strongly suggest you take this very generous price and sign up at .

The bookies obviously don't share Mr Rummenigge's doubts about Germany as they are generally third or fourth favourite to win the 2006 World Cup.

posted by mark_s at 7:37 PM 0 comments

Final World Cup Qualifiers To Be Played Simultaneously

In a rare display of common sense, FIFA has decided that the final qualifying matches for the African groups should be played at the same time.

Considering the amount of rumour and counter-rumour,
conspiracies and accusations of bribery that have surrounded these all important matches, this is, of course, a wise and sensible decision on the surface.

However, the real question is this : why do teams have to make a special request to FIFA in order that these matches be scheduled in this way ? Surely, all this craziness could be avoided if it was a standard FIFA rule that all final World Cup qualifiers (where the fixtures have a bearing on who qualifies) were played at the same time.

Why the need to make a request. It just creates ill-feeling, adds another layer of bureaucracy and pointless speculation to a game that already has more than it's fair share of all three.

posted by mark_s at 6:52 PM 0 comments

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Non Story of the Week

I've never been sure what qualifications you need to be a football journalist, but it never ceases to amaze me how newspapers and Sky Sports deliberately paraphrase what a manager or a player has said in order to create a story.

Non story of the week, therefore, is the Jose Mourinho interview in TimeOut where he said this :

"With six years of loving London and England I will have something of England and the people in my heart and so I could do it (the England manager's job) in a professional way and also with my heart."

This quickly became Mourinho wants to become a British citizen and manage England, leading to denials from his spokesman in all the papers today.

The reality of the story is : Mourinho thinks he's capable of managing England but actually believes the job should be in the hands of an Englishman. Not really newsworthy, that, though, is it ?

Surely there's enough football news every day that Sky Sports and the newspapers don't have to resort to this kind of non event ? Or am I just being naive ?

posted by mark_s at 6:37 PM 0 comments

Monday, September 19, 2005

Already Qualified for the World Cup

Not much newsworthy today, unless you want to hear my views of Wayne Rooney's red cards and temperament (he got sent off...he's what), so a quick round up of who has actually qualified for Germany 2006 is in order.

Teams to have qualified are as follows :

United States
Saudi Arabia
South Korea

posted by mark_s at 10:19 PM 0 comments

Football Really Is A Religion

Germany's Evangelical Church has been granted permission to show all the games of next year's finals for free.

"Thanks to its agreement with Infront, Germany's Evangelical Church has ensured that churches will be able to show matches on a big screen if they wish to do so, provided the necessary organisation is in place," said minister Hans-Georg Ulrichs.

It's nice that the Church want to be involved but I'm beginning to think the world has gone completely and utterly mad. It really has.

posted by mark_s at 9:51 PM 0 comments

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Manchester United Break Their Players

Rather clumsily and very much like last season, Manchester United seem to be rather good at breaking their players. The latest two injuries are Gabriel Heinze and Roy Keane.

Heinze is looking unlikely to figure for the rest of the season and is a serious doubt for Argentina's world cup squad in Germany; while Keane is now unlikely to figure in The Republic of Ireland's final qualifying matches.

This will no doubt be the trend this season. Football clubs can deny it all they like but players play far too many games (whatever happened to the closed season ?) and the extra stresses placed on the body mean that longer term injuries occur more frequently.

Once again the World Cup Finals will be without some great players. Heinze is just the first of many.

posted by mark_s at 9:03 PM 0 comments

Australia Also To Bid for World Cup Finals 2018

Today's Observer newspaper indicates that Australia are preparing a bid for the 2018 World Cup.

It appears that Football Federation Australia (FFA) Chief Executive John O'Neill has already held informal discussions with the Fifa president Sepp Blatter this month.

Some might suggest that this is the only way Australia is ever likely to qualify for the World Cup finals, but I would never be so cynical. And, anyway, I don't want the World Cup to be held in England. Australia is a nice, warm country with nice, cold beer and therefore the ideal place for a football tournament.

posted by mark_s at 7:38 PM 0 comments