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Friday, June 05, 2009

This Is How Not To Spin A Story

Have you heard about the 'bust-up' between England and former club teammates Gareth Barry and Gary Cahill yet?

No? I'm not surprised. Because despite headlines in the Sun, Mirror and, yes, The Guardian newspapers, this is a prime example of how NOT to spin a story.

What happened is this: Cahill tackled Barry in a practice match. He didn't help Barry back to his feet. Barry got up. Both players walked away.

Not really much of a bust-up there and so, unsurprisingly, the links to the Sun and Mirror story seem to be broken. Presumably they realised that there was quite literally no story at all.

But those dear people at the Guardian still have it.

Notable quote : "...Barry, clearly incensed, eventually returned to his feet and subsequently ignored Cahill."

Wow. Barry ignored him. Brutal. What a confrontation that must have been. Or maybe not.

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posted by mark_s at 6:21 PM 0 comments

Just What Part Of Europe Are These Countries In

England will face Kazakhstan and Wales play Azerbaijan in 2010 World Cup Qualifying this weekend.

These matches are part of the European qualification groups. So, there's just one, itsy bitsy minor problem. Both of these countries are actually in Asia. The CIA website , no less, will tell you that Azerbaijan is in Southwestern Asia and even provides you with a helpful map so you can see that it is actually east of Iran.

Kazakhstan is a slightly different issue, granted, as it's a vast country and does have some territory that can be considered to be in Europe, but really it's in Central Asia. It borders China, for crying out loud.

So, the question is : why are these countries playing in European qualification? Why aren't they playing in the Asian groups, fighting it out with mighty Uzbekistan and the like.

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posted by mark_s at 6:07 PM 0 comments

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Barry Moved To Protect His World Cup Ambitions

Midfielder Gareth Barry's move from Aston Villa to Manchester City has clearly stunned a lot of people who genuinely thought the guy was about more than just money. And, I admit, I was among them.

The self-justification that Barry has come out with subsequent to the transfer has been pitiful really, but the thing that really takes the prize for me is Barry's claim that he moved in order to ensure his place in the 2010 World Cup squad.

He is quoted as saying :

“The World Cup next year has always been a major part of my thinking...I feel at Manchester City I will get the chance to play regularly in my best position and play a big part in a successful side.”

Now, I don't doubt for a minute that the guy wants to play world cup football, but claiming that the move to City would help attain it is ridiculous.

At Villa, Barry was pretty much ever present for manager Martin O'Neill and his consistently good performances brought him to Fabio Capello's attention.

At City, he'll have to compete with Nigel De Jong, Vincent Kompany, Martin Petrov and whoever else Mark Hughes brings in.

Pull the other one, Gareth. It's got a six figure weekly salary attached to it.

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posted by mark_s at 7:36 PM 0 comments

I Guess This Probably Isn't Funny

Ahead of the World Cup qualifiers in Kazakhstan, an England fan has been shot in the leg for 'chanting'.

Apparently, the fan was in a bar in Kyrgyzstan - which, as everyone knows, borders Kazakhstan. The man was, again allegedly, drunk and chanting the usual witty pro-England songs.

It appears that one of the Kyrgyzstani locals took offence to this, probably because he realised that the England fan was in the wrong bloody country and told him to shut it.

Aforementioned England fan declined this kindly and well-meaning advice and so was shot in the leg.

I'm sure there's a lesson to be learnt here and I'm also equally sure that being shot in the leg isn't funny, but well, y'know.

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posted by mark_s at 7:27 PM 0 comments

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

You've Got To Admire This..Buy This Flat

With South Africa 2010 fast approaching and endless, tiresome commercial tie-ups being announced, you just have to love the fact that smart South Africans are getting in on the act.

Take this ad on Gumtree that presents itself, shamelessly, as a South Africa Investment Opportunity World Cup 2010 .

Essentially, it's a fairly plain looking 2 bedroom flat in Cape Town that is 4 or so miles from the Greenpoint Stadium. The owner wants around £60,000 for it.

I haven't checked apartment prices in Cape Town for a comparison but frankly, just the fact that the owner is trying to sell it as an 'investment opportunity' for the World Cup Finals is good enough for me.

There's no way of recouping anywhere near the initial outlay over the period of the 2010 tournament, but whoever owns this property deserves to sell it...just for the sheer nerve of it all.

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posted by mark_s at 11:14 PM 0 comments

Monday, June 01, 2009

A Couple Of Quickies, So To Speak

A couple of World Cup quickies.

Ashley Cole thinks that if he scores the winner in a World Cup Final, maybe the fans will love him. No, Ashley, they won't.

And in a statement of the bleedin' obvious, journalist Martin Samuel has, very helpfully I think, informed England manager Fabio Capello that if he finds a way to defeat Spain then there's a good chance of winning the World Cup. Thanks for that, Martin, I'm sure Don Fabio will appreciate it.

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posted by mark_s at 9:48 PM 0 comments

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Anderson Out Of Brazil's Qualifiers

Man Utd midfielder Anderson has been ruled out of Brazil's World Cup 2010 qualifiers.

Two quick thoughts sprung to mind when reading this headline :

1) Anderson was actually IN the Brazil squad?

2) Was he ruled out because he's actually rubbish?

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posted by mark_s at 5:41 PM 0 comments

Fun And Games For Nigeria

Quite why Nigeria - who have more talented footballers than is fair - always make such heavy work of qualifying for major tournaments is a mystery to me and it seems to a large portion of the Super Eagles fans who can't quite work out why they self-destruct so frequently.

It's always good to blame the manager, though; and Shuaibu Amodu, the current coach, is under a lot of pressure, after drawing with both Jamaica in a friendly and, more critically, Mozambique in a World Cup qualifier.

Nigeria's 1-1 draw with the Republic of Ireland a couple of days back doesn't seem to have helped any either.

Tellingly, it was not Amodu but Nigeria's sports minister Sani Ndanusa who attended the post match press conference. Ndanusa denied that Amodu had been sacking, but rather drily commented "He was the coach for this match, that is clear".

It's always fun and games with Nigeria and World Cup football, but for that comment alone, you can't help but back them to qualify this time.

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posted by mark_s at 5:23 PM 0 comments