Friday, June 18, 2010

Horns still stay silent for the underdog USA

If lack of bunting in the street is any indication, America appears to be living up to its reputation for glorious isolation. While the rest of the globe is already gripped by World Cup fever, here in the US there are scant outward signs of football – or rather soccer – obsession.

Are Argentina the New Brazil?

Careful who you say this to in South America, but something strange seems to have happened at the start of this World Cup: Argentina have become the new Brazil.

The Mill

Friday's Rumours

2010 FIFA World Cup: Friday's Previews

Serbia vs. Germany

Preview I
Preview II

United States vs. Slovenia
Preview I
Preview II

England vs. Algeria
Preview I
Preview II
James set to start

2010 FIFA World Cup: Thursday's Action

Argentina 4 - 1 South Korea

Richard Williams at Soccer City

Greece 2 - 1 Nigeria
Paul Fletcher in Bloemfontein

Mexico 2 - 0 France
Paul Hayward: France quit on the job
France ship down with hardly a hand on deck
Evra disgusted by performance

Will attacking full-backs win the competition?

The last four winners relied on marauding defenders but is a tactical change under way in South Africa?

Work at standstill as world watches Cup

World Cup fever hits every four years, and fans around the world bring their own particular flavor to watching the spectacle.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Round 1: World Cup Winners and Losers

It is still early days at the 2010 World Cup but the tournament is already taking shape.

From South Africa's draw with Mexico in the curtain-raiser through to Switzerland's shock win over Spain on Wednesday, we have now had a chance see all 32 teams play at least once.

For some, like Germany, qualification already looks a formality, but others are less certain of their fate. With the help of Jurgen Klinsmann and Mark Lawrenson, BBC Sport takes a look at what we have learned about each of the eight groups so far.

Top 10 World Cup Shocks Of All Time

Following Switzerland’s stunning win over European champions Spain yesterday, runs down the Top 10 World Cup shocks in history…

Borussia Dortmund ban the World Cup vuvuzelas

"Our fans don't want to have these trumpets," said Dortmund's general manager, Hans-Joachim Watzke. "It is nerve-racking and completely drowns out any chanting."

2010 FIFA World Cup: Thursday's Previews

Argentina vs. South Korea

Greece vs. Nigeria

France vs. Mexico
Mexico and Ireland find common foe

Spain points finger of blame at Sara Carbonero

But many in Spain have blamed their defeat to Switzerland in their opening World Cup game on Sara Carbonero, the partner of the Spain captain Iker Casillas.

Casillas was at least partly at fault for Gelson Fernandes's goal that gave Switzerland their 1-0 win and fingers have already been pointed at Carbonero, a journalist at a Spanish TV station, who prior to the game was filming footage to camera behind Casillas's goal.

Richard Williams: The Swiss killed Bambi but Spain's defeat is not the end of the world

Victory for the artisans over the artists is integral to World Cup 2010 as it was to previous tournaments.

England: Premier League 2010-2011 Fixtures

In the new 2010-11 fixtures released today, Chelsea go to Tottenham on Dec 11. A week later they entertain Manchester United, at Stamford Bridge. And, on Boxing Day, Chelsea travel to the Emirates Stadium to take on close rivals Arsenal. If that is hard enough, Chelsea’s return to Old Trafford is scheduled for May 7 - the third-from-last fixture of the new campaign - and a potential title decider. And the champions finish with another problematic game, away to Everton at Goodison Park.

Complete Fixtures

Key Dates

The Mill +

Thursday's Rumours


2010 FIFA World Cup: Wednesday's Action

Honduras 0 - 1 Chile

Match Report

Spain 0 - 1 Swtizerland
Daniel Taylor at the Moses Mabhida Stadium
Spanish press lambasts team and Howard Webb
Paul Hayward: Spain's nightmare

South Africa 0 - 3 Uruguay
Paul Wilson at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium
Parreira faces suspension for comments

Martin Rogers: Dempsey celebrates goals with happiness, sadness

The reason is to pay tribute to his late sister Jennifer, who died of a brain aneurism at the age of 16 in 1995, a tragedy Dempsey carries with him to this day.

What we've learned (so far)

OK, so the World Cup hasn't exactly been a free-flowing goalfest (Germany's 4-0 shellacking of the Socceroos notwithstanding). And the stars of the show have not been Messi and Rooney and Ronaldo, but a slippery ball whose name sounds like a New Orleans fish stew, and a plastic horn more loathed than BP.

But just because scoring is down and goalkeepers are still making more excuses than acrobatic saves, doesn't mean that compelling storylines aren't emerging. And if you keep following them, redemption will surely follow. Here's what to look for in the next first-round matchups:

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Ronaldo Dive vs. Ivory Coast I

Ronaldo Dive vs. Ivory Coast II

Injury Trouble for Veron and Buffon

Juan Sebastian Veron will sit out Argentina's game with South Korea on Thursday with a minor leg muscle injury.

Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon has missed training for the second successive day amid fears that he may not play again in the 2010 World Cup.

2010 FIFA World Cup: Wednesday's Previews

Chile vs. Honduras

Spain vs. Switzerland
Spain begin their journey
Team News

South Africa vs. Uruguay
South Africa inspired by chance to make history
Team News

The Mill

Wednesday's Rumours

Richard Williams: Brazil off the mark but we wait for action to ignite

Brazil laboured to overcome North Korea in a World Cup that has produced the lowest number of goals of any of the previous 18 tournaments.

Sven-Goran Eriksson calls for summit on World Cup ball

"I can understand that goalkeepers are not happy, and I think the authorities should listen to them," Eriksson said. "I think the matter should be discussed. Players, coaches and perhaps top goalkeepers should get together. Especially people should listen to the goalkeepers' point of view, because the ball isn't doing them any favours."

Carlos Queiroz, the Portugal coach:
"I find it strange that normally players are prevented from wearing even a simple string bracelet in a game, yet the referee gave permission for Drogba to play in a cast. It is not really a matter for Portugal and I do not wish to make a complaint, but I would like to know if the rules are still the same for all players."

Somali Islamists kill two for watching World Cup

Somali Islamist militants killed two people and arrested dozens of others for breaking a ban on watching the World Cup on television, residents said.

World Cup match-day 5: Garth Crooks' team of the day

We're still waiting for this tournament to properly come alive but we saw quite a few fine individual performances with only four teams still to play their opening fixture.

Here's my 2010 Fifa World Cup finals team of the day from Tuesday 15 June:

North Korean 'fans' at World Cup look out of place

Kim Yong Chon, 43, one of the North Korean fans, said the group, which numbered 300, was not Chinese, but he admitted they had been carefully recruited by the North Korean government to make the trip. Speaking through an interpreter, he said the group had left Pyongyang, North Korea's capital, and traveled through Beijing the same day and they would stay in South Africa as long as their team does.

2010 FIFA World Cup: Tuesday's Action

Slovakia 1 - 1 New Zealand
Kevin McCarra at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium

Ivory Coast 0 - 0 Portugal
Paul Wilson at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Paul Fletcher: Portugal lack punch
Paul Hayward: Ronaldo is latest damp squib
Amy Lawrence: Ronaldo vs. Drogba fizzes

Brazil 2 - 0 North Korea
Sean Ingle at Ellis Park
Jonathan Stevenson: Dunga delights in efficient Brazil

Carlisle: Complacency is the U.S.'s challenge

The U.S. passed all manner of exams against England this past weekend. But to prevail against Slovenia on Friday will require the U.S. to ace World Cup Psychology 101.

Phil Ball in Spain

Back at home in Spain, a strange atmosphere prevails, unique in its consensus that La Roja are the tournament's best side, yet oddly restrained in the face of such unbridled optimism. The Spanish are a happy enough lot, as befits their so-called Latin temperament, but one would hardly describe them as eternal optimists.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Fifa detains 36 female Holland fans for 'ambush marketing'

Thirty-six female Holland fans were thrown out of their country's game against Denmark at Soccer City after Fifa officials accused them of wearing orange mini-dresses to promote an unlicensed beer brand.

2010 FIFA World Cup: Tuesday's Previews

New Zealand vs. Slovakia

Portugal vs. Ivory Coast
Aimee Lewis: Portugal rely on Ronaldo
Drogba to wear cast

Brazil vs. North Korea
Richard Williams: Dunga insists on substance over style
James Ducker: Jong wants to change image of North Korea
Jim White: North Korea set to make Great Leader happy

Beckenbauer: England have regressed under Capello

Franz Beckenbauer has stored up potential for a stormy clash between England and Germany by declaring that Fabio Capello's side have headed "backwards into the bad old days of kick and rush" on the evidence of Saturday's opening match against the United States and he has also suggested that there is very little that can be done to improve things.

The Mill

Tuesday's Rumours

World Cup 2010: It's just too cold for sexy football

In Durban on Sunday evening, the year-round sub-tropical climate on the Indian Ocean coast ensured that Germany’s 4-0 demolition of Australia was staged in balmy temperatures in excess of 20 degrees.

Yet 24 hours later, Italy and Paraguay slugged out an uninspiring 1-1 draw in Cape Town in horrendous conditions that saw the southern city battered by incessant rain, high winds and hail-storms throughout the day. The temperature at kick-off time was four degrees.

So the best game of the tournament was played out in typical World Cup conditions, while two of the worst – Italy v Paraguay and France v Uruguay – were staged in grim wintry weather.

World Cup footballers Messi and Ronaldo join roar for ban on ‘deafening’ vuvuzela

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi joined calls by broadcasters and fans to ban the vuvuzela at the World Cup as British supermarkets reported selling one of the plastic horns every two seconds.

Some horn players complain of “vuvuzela lip” from the plastic mouthpiece. Bruce Copley, who has been teaching pupils to play the vuvuzela, advised using baby oil to reduce friction.

There may yet be sanctuary for armchair fans. A website — — is said to offer a download for 2.95euros (£2.45) which combats the horn by playing back at the television set noise waves at the same frequency.

Chris Jones: Spending Time With England Away

The bar was called Bulls. It was a rugby bar, named after the Blue Bulls, a provincial team from Pretoria, but today it would become a soccer bar. Today it would become an English bar filled with Englishmen. They would see it, and they would claim it. The bar was their territory.

And then the American college kids came in.

And then the police.

World Cup 2010: Reality Sets In

The first weekend of the 2010 World Cup has come and gone, with more success than failure. FIFA gleefully reported "record TV audience" for the opening match. The United States Soccer Federation sent a release announcing that Saturday's United States-England tilt in Rustenburg had the highest ratings of any first round match ever. (Amazingly, almost one in five people in Germany viewed the Americans battle the Three Lions.)

But the story is a bit different on the ground in South Africa. While the country's excitement carried the initial 72 hours, the thrill is wearing off and reality is setting in.

2010 FIFA World Cup: Monday's Action

Italy 1 - 1 Paraguay

David Hytner at Green Point Stadium
Amy Lawrence: Italy show unfamiliar lack of charisma
Carlo Garganese: Same old uninspired Italy

Holland 2 - 0 Denmark
Paul Wilson at Soccer City
Patrick Barclay: Elia breathes life into Dutch campaign

Japan 1 - 0 Cameroon
Honda tames the Domitable Lions
Japan earn first World Cup win on foreign soil

Monday, June 14, 2010

Paul Gascoigne in hospital after crash

The former England, Newcastle and Tottenham midfielder was in a serious but not life-threatening condition at Newcastle General Hospital following the accident in the city at 9.45pm yesterday.

Martin Rogers: Controversy over World Cup ball won’t die

The infamous Jabulani World Cup ball has had goalkeepers in the tournament worrying, panicking and complaining for the past week. Now it has reduced one of them to tears.

Amy Lawrence: Maradona - manager, fan and still a would-be player

Argentina's former captain and current manager struggled to keep his playing instincts in check against Nigeria.

Italy happy believing the world is against them

Their countrymen don't give them a prayer, but the 2006 winners are bent on silencing their critics.

Salvador Cabañas proving an inspiration for Paraguay

The prolific striker's involvement with La Albirroja in World Cup 2010 was curtailed when he was shot in a Mexico City nightspot.

Prolific, indeed...

Fifa investigates thousands of empty seats in stadiums

The empty seats – which look terrible on television – are a problem for Fifa because, having sold batches of tickets at reduced prices to local groups, it cannot now put them back on the market.

Richard Williams: Fabio Capello given wake-up call by England's World Cup draw with USA

After appearing virtually bomb-proof, Fabio Capello has entered the business end of the World Cup looking remarkably fallible.

The Mill

Monday's Rumours

The place the World Cup forgot

Mossel Bay was the first place that Europeans landed in South Africa - but a sub-standard training pitch ruined the town's hopes of hosting a modern-day World Cup invasion from South America.

Freddie Ljungberg: A Place to Kick Back

Worst Thing About Playing in the States:
You don’t have police escorts to the games.

2010 FIFA World Cup: Monday's Previews

Netherlands vs. Denmark

Japan vs. Cameroon

Italy vs. Paraguay

General Preview

2010 FIFA World Cup: Weekend Action

Germany 4 - 0 Australia
Daniel Taylor at the Moses Mabhida Stadium

Serbia 0 - 1 Ghana

Owen Wilson at Loftus Versfeld

Algeria 0 - 1 Slovenia
Sean Ingle at Peter Mokaba Stadium

Argentina 1 - 0 Nigeria
Sean Ingle at Ellis Park

South Korea 2 - 0 Greece
Daniel Taylor at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium