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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Sorry, Raphael, I Don't Think So

I came across a piece on CBC Canada that suggested this world cup will won by an individual or individuals with outstanding skills.

This may have been written in haste, in reaction to the unbelievable performances put in by Lionel Messi in the past few weeks, I don't know.

The thing is: the argument doesn't really stack up. And it appears that the author, Raphael Honigstein (a man who usually talks a lot of sense) knows it.

World Cups are won by teams not individuals. Honigstein points to Maradona's Argentina team in the '86 World Cup as an example of an individual inspiring his team to victory. However, it is instructive that this is the only example he provides. I would suggest that this is because: this is the only example there is and it is very unlikely ever to be repeated.

Italy's victory at the last World Cup is a far better indicator of how big trophies are won - a well organised collective playing effective football.

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posted by mark_s at 2:04 PM 0 comments

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Spin It Anyway You Like...But It's Not All About The World Cup

I don't know about you but I'm becoming very tired that every single news story about South Africa somehow references the 2010 World Cup Finals.

To take just one example, there is this piece in The Daily Telegraph which is nominally about township protests that they don't have access to basic services. The focus of the article, however, is on the potential for violence at South Africa 2010 and of the government raising security levels.

The thing is that these demonstrations, which have apparently included arson and gunfire, are absolutely nothing to do with the 2010 World Cup. And the only quote that even mentions the Finals was this one from Themba Masek, a government spokesman, when he said:

"We do not want to see these demonstrations, especially during the World Cup, when the country's attention and focus should be to be the best host ever."

Presumably he doesn't these protests during the World Cup not because of the potential danger to football tourists but because, with the world's focus on South Africa, it will draw attention to issues that the government doesn't want attention drawn to.

Let's remember that South Africa has already run a very successful rugby world cup tournament and try to avoid stupid scaremongering spin like this Daily Telegraph article. OK?

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posted by mark_s at 8:53 PM 0 comments

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Win World Cup Tickets With Betsson

The lovely (and multi-lingual) people at Betsson Sports are giving away some fantastic prizes between now and May 9th, including a World Cup Final package worth around €6k.

If you don't already bet at Betsson, we suggest you head over there now and register, because in addition to the grand prize, there are weekly prizes totally €1000.

To win, all you have to do is place combi bets of 5 euros or more from now until May 9th. Every €5 bet you place gets you one ticket to the final draw plus entry into the weekly draws.

The competition only started today, so to be in with a chance to win World Cup final tickets, bet at Betsson today.

Please note that you can only win World Cup final tickets if you are over 18 and, unfortunately, no USA citizens may take part.


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posted by mark_s at 5:20 PM 0 comments

Monday, March 22, 2010

World Cup Doom And Gloom....Part 1,452

Ahead of every World Cup - in fact, ahead of every major sporting event - there are always doom-mongers bleating on about how the host country will never be ready in time, or doesn't have the infrastructure or doesn't have sufficient toilet paper to meet demand or something.

So, with out further ado, I present today's gloom and doom predictions for South Africa 2010.

The Times is going with electricity blackouts and soaring metal prices :

The UN are concerned about racism:

And the Sun are worried about fans being ripped off:

Me? I'm worried that it's all going to go very well and people will have a fantastic time in South Africa. I'm worried that then those scare-mongering media types will have to say 'oops, we got it all wrong'.

What's that you say? It's not going to happen? Oh. OK.

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posted by mark_s at 6:16 PM 0 comments