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Friday, February 24, 2006

Mar 1st Friendlies

Just a quick round up of the pre-World Cup football match being played next week :

Poland vs. USA
Israel vs. Denmark
Russia vs. Brazil
France vs. Slovakia

Croatia vs. Argentina
Portugal vs. S. Arabia
Italy vs. Germany
Holland vs. Ecuador

England vs. Uruguay
Turkey vs. Czech Rep

In terms of indicators as to potential World Cup form, the Italy vs Germany and Croatia v Argentina matches look the most interesting.

If I was a betting man who wanted a good outside bet (and, um, I am) I'd put a few hard earned sheckels on Croatia to beat Argentina. The Croatians are very strong at home and may be able to muscle the Argentinians out of the game. I'd be more sure of this one if Dado Prso was guaranteed to be playing (he was injured in Rangers last Champions League game), but it's definitely a worthwhile bet.

posted by mark_s at 1:41 PM 0 comments

Thursday, February 23, 2006

And Here's A Word From Our Sponsor...Buy More Beer, Our Profits Depend On It

Football ? What's that. There doesn't seem to be any of yer actual football related stories today, so you'll have to make do with this. Alright ?

Anyway, Scottish & Newcastle, the brewer of Foster's, Kronenbourg 1664, Strongbow cider and Newcastle Brown Ale seem to be
pinning most of their 2006 sales strategy on the World Cup. Chief Executive Tony Froggatt said: "It depends on how far England go."

So, if England do well and sell lots of their terrible lager, Scottish and Newcastle will have a great year. Be patriotic, then and drink Foster's (isn't this Australian ?) or Kronenbourg 1664 (isn't this Swiss or Belgian or something ?) and help Scottish and Newcastle to a bumper year.

You could always drink Newcastle Brown Ale of course. But consider this: wasn't it Scottish and Newcastle who repackaged the drink into smaller bottles and sold it to the Americans as a premium chilled ale ? Yup. Sure was.

It does seem funny that a Chief Executive of a major company is defining success by how far England can get in a World Cup.
S&N shares fell 6½p to close at 507p.

posted by mark_s at 9:24 AM 0 comments

It Doesn't Get More Interesting Than This

Possibly the single most interesting and, indeed, important World Cup story can be found here.

I'm sure you'll be astounded to learn that "The upcoming World Cup will likely boost Thailand's instant noodle market by 10 percent...". I know I could barely contain my excitement to hear this riveting retail revelation.

Normal service will resume shortly. I hope.

posted by mark_s at 9:05 AM 0 comments

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Atishoo..atishoo...we all fall down

A Green party politico in Germany has suggested that the government should cancel the World Cup because of the threat of bird flu. There have been cases of the deadly strain of bird flu among wild swans in Germany, but no human infections, so currently there is no real threat, but the World Health Organization apparently is not completely dismissing the Green Party's suggestion.

Watch this space.

posted by mark_s at 11:03 AM 0 comments

Monday, February 20, 2006

Ow, That Hurts

A couple of really nasty injuries this weekend with both Italy's Francesco Totti and England's Alan Smith breaking their legs. In Totti's case, the estimate is that he will be out for a couple of months and may just be fit in time for the World Cup.

Smith's injury, by contrast, was far nastier, necessitating prompt surgery and current reports indicate that he'll be out for a year or so. While not a first choice England player, Smith would have been an extremely useful addition to the squad as his versatility combined with pride and passion are always able to help lift a side that's flagging a little.

I've always had a lot of time for Smith as a player and an individual. I like that combination of aggression and skill and think he has been ill-served by Manchester United in their attempt to convert him into a hard-tackling midfielder. He was a great striker - probably still is. When he comes back from this injury, maybe he'll be given the chance to show it.

He also has that typically deadpan Yorkshire humour, saying, when interviewed by The Sun : "When I looked down, the leg was laying one way and my ankle was pointing towards Hong Kong so I knew I was in serious trouble.."

posted by mark_s at 12:27 PM 0 comments