World Cup web aggregator

That momentAll the stuff that tickles, interests or annoys us from around the web - updated throughout


The headbutt round up Now that Zidane has spoken Cameron Duodu, Zidane is one of us all Agnes Poirier, It was a wonderful headbutt Daniel Davies, Race, rage and the red card Matt Foot, Zidane exits the stage with a walk of shame Guardian


Well done Italy! The games are over - but have the left made of it all? Liam MacUaid says Thank God that's over, but others like Denis MacShane enjoyed it all a bit more The penalty shoot-out is finally over, Ed Rooksby like many has been won over by Zidane's technique.

How we saw it and First half good, second half not bad either the Guardian round-up


So it's a Italy vs France in the final. A French victory will be a blow against Le Pen and the Italian left have just started supporting Italy again since Berlusconi's ousting - politically it's a win win situation for the left - good show! But if you really must support someone check out the Guardian's Ten reasons to support France and Italy to give you a little help.


Everyone's getting nostalgic about the world cup already. For instance this in the Guardian It was the best of cups, it was the worst of cups, this in the Independent As the final approaches, there's already a winner


French coach Raymond Domenech has shown that it is not only the England coach who can get a chilly response from the press no matter how well his team has done. The coach, whose only domestic honour is a second division title at Lyon and who worked as France's Under-21 coach for no fewer than 11 years before taking over the national team in 2004, has either been ignored or the victim of snide remarks. Things have got so bad that Willy Sagnol, French right-back has come to is defence. "We have a lot of respect for him. The spirit has been great, the coach has given us confidence and success and the keys to win the World Cup, and that is what we are trying to do." Bit late to mention it isn't it?


Apparently the women's England team is looking much more lively than the men's the England women's unstoppable progress towards the World Cup finals


The Independent outlines the important connection between Ashton-under-Lyne and the World Cup Final in Two World Cup stars, two nations, one birthplace

International Rooksbyism considers the impact of England's stodgy defeat to Portugal at the weekend. As an "Anyone But England" supporter you may be surprised to learn he is rather torn about how he feels.

Dave's Part is worried that the Weekly Standard is calling for regime change in soccer because it isn't American Football.

Vive La France: According to the Guardian (here) France's most-capped player Lilian Thuram has denounced National Front leader Jean-Marie Le Pen for saying there were too many "players of colour" in the national side. Thuram, who is from the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe said to media applause "Clearly, [Le Pen] is unaware that there are Frenchmen who are black, Frenchmen who are white, Frenchmen who are brown. I think that reflects particularly badly on a man who has aspirations to be president of France but yet clearly doesn't know anything about French history or society...  If he's got a problem with us, that's down to him but we are proud to represent this country. So Vive la France, but the true France. Not the France that he wants."

Someone's confident: According to Portugal Captain Luis Figo the team have not practised a single penalty in Germany. Either they think they'll walk it - or maybe their packing their bags for an early flight home. Which could be just as well because actor Ray Winstone has written and filmed a "rousing" motivational speech, including lines from Churchill and Shakespeare's Henry V, to be played to the England team ahead of the Portugal quarter-final.

Italy coach Marcello Lippi has rejected claims that his side are the luckiest team left in the World Cup. "I'd like to say something about this talk that we have been lucky," he said. "We had Francesco Totti ruled out for three months, then Gianluca Zambrotta, Gennaro Gattuso and Alessandro Nesta all got injured. That's really lucky." Okay, okay, but it's probably going to take a bit more than that to reassure the critics after struggling so hard against the USA and Australia.

The Brazil camp is becoming increasingly irritated by Nike's advertising campaign as winning is no longer enough for the press at home - they have to 'play beautifully' too. "Jogo bonito was invented by a sports brand," smirked Roberto Carlos, reliably the most indiscreet member of Brazil's squad. "You can't blame us for that. Brazilian football is intelligent and winning, with great champions - that's what we have always been. When you start talking about the beautiful game, that's more about selling things."

Who counts these things? Apparently Argentina's Juan Roman Riquelme has had the most touches of the ball at the World Cup with 399, Italy's Andrea Pirlo is second with 365. Hmmmm.

I'm becoming increasingly puzzled by the England team's insistence that the fact they haven't played well is irrelevant. It may well be true that after the game all that matters is whether you got the result you need or not - but why would anyone be surprised at the fact some are not entirely inspired by England's performance so far.

It's all very well Sven saying "We didn't concede any goals in open play. We conceded two really stupid goals from set-pieces, that's all." But whatever the circumstances of a goal, it counts, and the opponents England has faced so far, with the exception of Sweden, have not been top flight. The England team appear to be making a virtue out of boring play - well, nice try, but you'll need to put a bit more spin on the ball than that.

Mike Marqusee writes in In thrall to St George "Recasting English national identity as forward-looking, inclusive, free of chauvinist aggression is a more complicated business than merely "reclaiming" the St George's flag from the far right (which is not in the least depressed to see its favoured emblem so widely adopted). "

In Holland exit in acrimony as four see red from Michael Walker from the Guardian reports on the Holland Portugal game which a record number of dismissals (four). The game not only saw some fine football, but fine displays of martial arts - which has resulted in Portugal lacking some of its best players for their game against England on Saturday.

The Guardian reports that Fifa had to block emails to its website from four million South Koreans after one disgruntled fan organised a petition suggesting that the game against Switzerland would be replayed if five million people complained.

Whole websites dedicated to dissing Enlgand fans? Anyone but England the blog and then Anyone but England the website say "Anyone But England has more supporters, has enjoyed more success, has scored more goals, has had a more diverse selection of players and is more likely to win the 2006 Fifa World Cup than any other team in the competition. " Judge for yourselves

Urban legend alert: The Manchester Evening News reports this scene from the Sweden England game  "Ten minutes before kick off and the ground is filling up. A man takes his seat. He is by himself but he is clutching two tickets. The seat beside him remains empty.

"Another man, sitting two seats away, finds his view obscured. He asks whether he can move into the empty seat. Of course, says the first man, and explains that the other ticket was for his wife - they have attended every English international together for 20 years but sadly she has passed away.

"I'm so sorry,' says the other man. 'How terribly sad. But was there no one else to whom you could have offered the ticket? A relative? A friend?'

"'Probably,' says the first man. 'But I doubt anyone would have taken it. They're all at the funeral.'"

Cameron Duodu tells us that Africa expects  Ghana to do its duty in the "grudge match" against the US which has "implications going way beyond the football field."

The hard left "anyone but England" stance has attracted support from unexpected quarters - baboons. These ultra left primates at Knowsley Safari Park near Liverpool have been ruthlessly attacking the St. George's Cross flags that adorn the cars of patriotic punters. Be warned, if you see an angry flange of Baboons approach, make sure you express the correct revolutionary defeatism.

Everyone is a World Cup pundit, including Nostradamus the 16th century mystic. Spanish daily 20 Minutos claims the soothsayer tipped Spain to win the World Cup. It quotes one of his prophecies as follows: "In the sixth month of 2006 the King of Spain will cross the Pyrenees with his troops. The legions of Beelzebub will battle him in central Europe and suffer doom and destruction. The Holy Grail will then come to Spain."

Mark Steel's sports reporting in the Independent has been extremely enjoyable and, unlike his regular column, you don't need a subscription to read it online. In How Argentina scored a goal so good it taught 10,000 fans to dance Mark describes the incredible fraternisation that is taking place in Germany this World Cup.

To be going on with here are a few of his reports over the last couple of weeks 'Sweedes' go wild in Belgium but commentator barely raises pulse, Gold Coast crew click with lesson in roar enjoyment, View From The Terraces (or the sofa, or the bar), I'm sorry, but we're not going to win the World Cup. Well worth a read.

Commiserations to Trinidad and Tobago who leave the tournament without having scored a goal and to Michael Owen who appears to have done himself an injury in the game against Sweden when he seemed to land slightly awkwardly. The problem could be serious and underlines the dangers of coming back to top flight football before being 100% healed from previousinjury. Take note Rooney, take note.

Hold onto your trousers Dutch fans were forced to remove their trousers before entering the stadium on Friday where their team was to play the Ivory Coast. Ho ho you say, the heat has sent everyone sex mad. No. Don't be silly - the problem was their trousers had the wrong logo on. The orange trousers (reason enough to ban them?) bore the logo of Dutch beer Bavaria which is not one of the official sponsors of the Cup.

The Guardian reports "They put our trousers in the bin," said an aggrieved Peer Swinkels, the chairman of Bavaria, Holland's second biggest brewery. "Fans going into the stadium had to dump them in a big container. Fifa said that the supporters could get them back afterwards. But the container was full of rubbish so most people didn't bother." It was once the case that capitalism would only have the shirt off your back - but now it takes your trousers too.

When Saturday Comes has this really useful list of World Cup fan sites

Comment is Free has this, Return of the dream team, by Cameron Duodu where he states that "Most commentators agree that Ghana could have scored six or eight goals against the Czechs, had our strikers been less errant." blissfully ignoring the fact that if the Czech defenders had been better Ghana wouldn't have scored any, and this, World Cup snooze by Dave Hill where he waxes lyrical about the "long stretches of sedation" that the World Cup represents. Cheek.

Question for Trinidad and Tobago supporters: Okay, you decided to support T&T, good on you - but who will you be supporting on Tuesday? The reason I ask is simple, if we take a look at the table with one game to go there is only one scenario where T&T can get through to the next round.

1 England 2 2 0 0 3 0 3 6
2 Sweden 2 1 1 0 1 0 1 4
3 Trinidad and Tobago 2 0 1 1 0 2 -2 1
4 Paraguay 2 0 0 2 0 2 -2 0

T&T must win their match against Paraguay but they also have to rely on England beating Sweden with a healthy goal difference. Now are you really supporting T&T and therefore will be willing England on to a hefty victory against Sweden or was it a stance to irritate England supporters, in which case a defeat by Sweden could force England into second place and the more difficult second round match? Do you feel torn? Comment on this at our blog

The concern over Tommy Tucker Ronaldo's weight has reached the top of the Brazilian government with President Lula asking coach Carlos Alberto Parreira "Is he fat or isn't he?" during a video conference with the team. But the Sydney Morning Herald, who we've already pointed out is not even on nodding terms with political correctness, says the more pressing question is how fat Lula himself has become.

Exploitative bosses are not the only ones worried about employees taking sickies during the world cup. Bangladesh's Parliament is considering shortening its sessions so that MPs can watch the games according to this report in Reuters, Bangladesh parliament may shorten sessions for World Cup. "Opposition members also requested the speaker to instruct the relevant electricity supply department to ensure uninterrupted power supply across the country during matches. Soccer fans have attacked and vandalised various local supply offices after power-cuts during matches." Serious stuff.

The not getting carried away award goes to Messi of Argentina after their 6-0 victory against Serbia and Montenegro "All the team played an excellent match but we haven't won anything yet, we have to keep on working seriously, correct and improve some things and we need to think in the next match that it is as important as this one that we have played today.

Comment is Free provides this Football against a dictatorship by Yao Graham on the Togo team's battle to get paid by their repressive government.

From the US the paper of the ISO carry this piece Who’s to blame for racism in soccer? On the rising tide of racism within football in Europe. Including this revealing and bizarre quote from Uwe-Karsten Heye, a former spokesman for the Social Democratic-Green coalition government, said, “There are small and mid-sized towns in Brandenburg and elsewhere where I would advise anyone [in the country for the World Cup] with a different skin color not to go. They might not make it out alive.”

Socialist Worker carries this The World Cup and the collectivist principle piece by Phil Vasili on an alternative history of the World Cup.

The BBC reports that Amicus is in trouble (Union in World Cup 'sickies' row) for advising people how to take sickies during the World Cup and how to defend themselves if caught out. The head of legal affairs at Amicus, Georgina Hirsh, said "I'm afraid the reality is - lots of people do take sickies whether it's for the World Cup or not,"

Prostitution watch: In Germany prostitution is legal and open and the world cup is being treated as a big big opportunity for the industry,  "Berlin's largest legal brothel, the four-story Artemis near the Olympic stadium, is ready for the hordes of mostly male soccer fans from around the world who are flooding the city. ... Miniature soccer balls decorate the reception area, where each guest pays a 70-euro charge, or about $90, for access to the women, whirlpools, restaurants and bars. The 50 or so prostitutes have been outfitted with thong bikinis with a soccer ball motif. The movie theatre will interrupt its usual pornographic features to show live games."

One of the very legitimate fears around such an approach to large scale prostitution is the inevitable level of forced prostitution that will take place and Munich police have conducted raids and found a large increase in the number of prostitutes - there is an estimated extra 40,000 prostitutes in Germany as a whole.

Gavyn Davies asks Why do football haters love the World Cup? on Comment is Free. He also spills the beans that Alistair Campbell is not the only one who hates talking to women (about football) Greg Dyke loaths it too.

Bad news of the day: Peter Crouch, hotly tipped to appear on Celebrity Come Dancing later in the year has dropped the robot dance from his routine. "It was a bit of harmless fun at first which seems to have escalated," he told reporters "If we win the World Cup maybe you will see the whole team do the celebrations but for the moment I don't think I will be doing it again,"

And on the robot theme the BBC report that Robot soccer World Cup kicks off with the Robocup 2006

Sporting sportsmen: England captain David Beckham has highlighted Trinidad and Tobago's Dwight Yorke as the danger man ahead of Thursday's World Cup game in Nuremberg. "He's always been a threat to defenders in any game - he's one of the best forwards around," said Beckham, who played with Yorke at Manchester United. "He's one of the great strikers and has been for many years. At United we won the European Cup, the league and the FA Cup - and he was a huge part of that team."

CNN's coverage is slightly bewildered in the aftermath of the USA's 3-0 defeat at the hands of the Czech Republic. "The Americans brought their most-talented team ever to this year's tournament" they gripe - but I think the devil is in the detail. The USA team "even got a pre-game pep talk from President Bush, who called from Camp David before the game and wished them well." If there's anything that could put you off your game, wouldn't it be that?

The Sydney Morning Herald has been won over to soccer after the 3 - 1 win against Japan. Despite the fact that the team only contains two players who actually play in Australia the paper has embraced the idea of a  new "World Cup fever". Of course the paper is keen to point out that soccer is "a sport still considered by many Australians as suitable only for "sheilas, wogs and poofters"."  Glad to see they're entering into the spirit of things.

The World Cup is not good for everyone. According to this report in Reuters Monks face World Cup defrocking. In Cambodia monks have been given permission to watch games "but if they make noise or cheer as they watch, they will lose their monkhoods." So watch it while you watch it!

The Hindu: Mike Marqusee has written this Rebranding a nation on the relationship between English nationalism and sport

The Observer has been questioning the BBC coverage. Not just Gary Lineker's horrific dress sense either. This Sunday the paper speculated that all the presenters had been dosed up on fake tan - including concerns that Hanson had turned bright "orange" and appeared to be "emitting radioactive particles." Worrying stuff.

Hecklescake has important information for recycling the nationalist rags once the games are over in Uses for cheap flags.

Scottish Socialist Youth must be modestly pleased as their team, Trinidad and Tobago managed a nil - nil draw against Sweden, despite having only ten men in the second half.

Inveresk Street blog thinks the opening of the games was Tragic rather than magic.

In Germany and peckish? Why not drop in on the Iran football team The Times reports that Iran team's "base near Friedrichshafen... is one of the most welcoming at the World Cup. Security is discreet and visitors are plied with Iranian culinary delicacies, served up by the team chef."

National football associations doing 'sweet FA' to end worker exploitation Labour Behind the Label and the TUC are calling on the football associations behind the 32 competing national teams to insist their sportswear sponsors call time on the production of replica kits in exploitative conditions: TUC link

The Guardian World Cup pages

Snippet: England skipper David Beckham admits that after spending three years in Spain with Real Madrid, he is more used to kissing his team-mates before a game than shaking their hands.

The Birmingham Mail reports that Sharon Ebanks BNP candidate for Kingstanding (a result still being disputed), has got in a bit of hot water for, allegedly, claiming she wouldn't support England in the World Cup because the team was full of "ethnics". Makes you feel all patriotic...

World Cup- Festival of football, carnival of cash The Socialist

Guardian: In World Cup disorder Mike Marqusee says "One of the things that makes the World Cup compelling, sometimes disturbing, is the way the fundamentally trivial, harmless realm of sport (where accident and idiosyncracy reign) acquires an aura of immense consequence. The pointlessly beautiful (beautifully pointless) game seems burdened with a vast weight of financial, cultural, political import. The amazing thing is that it somehow survives."

Activists Blow Trafficking Whistle on World Cup Women's E News (you don't read it? Shame on you!) gives an update on the very serious story about prostitution and the World Cup.

Snippet: Scottish Socialist Youth is giving its official backing to Trinidad and Tobago, but the paper Scottish Socialist Voice has decided to opt out stating "We’ve even had the wee stooshie about whether we should support our southern neighbour or anybody but - my God, imagine the trauma of actually agreeing with Jack McConnell."

Channel 4 News World Cup Blog They're all getting in on the act

World Cup 2006 - a multibillion-euro business World Socialist Web Site

Red Pepper Anyone but Ingerland? Some people on the left have difficulty distinguishing between supporting the England football team and supporting the BNP. Mark Perryman and Mike Marqusee debate the issue

Love England? Nein danke John Hilary

Offside- a sideways glimpse at the Iranian regime Socialist Worker examines football in Iran

'Outside the box' The Irish Socialist Worker takes on corporate sponsorship of the world cup includes the quote "Football brings solidarity, comradery and humility to all that play and love the game." Yes, ok, nice, but humility - pull the other one!

Snippet: According to a recent poll, 6% of Russians are confident they will win the World Cup - even though they did not qualify.

Anyone but England? the SWP and the World Cup  Workers Liberty have an uncharacteristic go at the SWP's anyone but England position

Lie back and think of England Dave Hill on why a wank might be the answer

Who Should I Cheer For? World Development Movement's idea is that you can choose which team to support based on their economic and social statistics.

Bloody world cup ! Stroppy blog is less enthusiastic about kicking a ball around

Alastair Campbell's World Cup blog You'll need a strong stomach... the BBC report on it here

Shine forth upon these clouded hills. Andy Newman on the Socialist Unity Blog

Club football is futile Jonathon Freedland

The World Cup International Rooksbyism's take on footballing related matters

Sadiq Khan MP's World Cup blog




June 2006

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