Cowabunga, it's the First XI World Cup bulletin!
Here's what's happening in newly-eliminated South Africa today:
Wednesday 23 June 2010
15:00 Slovenia v England, Port Elizabeth, BBC One
15:00 USA v Algeria, Bloemfontein, BBC Red Button
19:30 Ghana v Germany, Johannesburg, ITV1
19:30 Australia v Serbia, Nelspruit, ITV4
Sigh, England. Bloody large sigh. Built up, as ever, as potential winners. Looking, as ever, technically inept compared to almost every other side in the competition. Pilloried, as ever, as overpaid, over-hyped failures by the newspapers that pay them thousands for ghosted columns and love repeating the statement that England's is The Best League In The World. SIGH. All this and more can be forgotten with a convincing win against Slovenia today. Three points guarantees England passage to the last 16, a high-scoring draw might be ok if Algeria and USA also draw. A defeat means beheading for the team, its management and the entire BBC presenting team. Play up, eh chaps?
A win for either Algeria or USA will get them into the round of 16 if England fail to beat Slovenia. It would be Algeria's first ever appearance in the knockout round of the World Cup, but USA have beaten African teams in their last two games against them.
In Group D a draw for Ghana against Germany guarantees the African team progress to the next round. Australia could pull off a shock qualification if they beat Serbia and Ghana triumph over Germany.
On this day in 1982 Brazil twatted New Zealand 4-0 in Seville. The All Whites finished the group stage with an impressive goal difference of -10.
MATCH OF THE DAY 19:30, BBC One
SLOVENIA V ENGLAND
Group C, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth. Capacity: 46,000
Okay lads, the joke’s over. We’ve all had a good giggle, but the time has come to suck it up and qualify, comprendez? Let’s hope so. Let’s hope the Fab 23 appreciate the magnitude of this match as, if they don’t, Matjaz Kek’s band of efficient but unremarkable footballing journeymen could spring what would barely even qualify as a surprise after the Algeria "incident". And make no bones about it, the 29th best team in the world like springing surprises – usurping the Czech Republic to finish second in their group and then shocking the mighty Russia in the play-offs. Still, England can’t cock up that badly, can they? If they do expect a tearful Capello resignation, Rooney effigy burnings up and down the country and the basically the same thing all over again in four year's time.
PLAYER TO WATCH
MILIVOJE NOVAKOVIC (above)
How many disgraced ex-captains does it take to make an England-Slovenia match? Two – John Terry and Milivoje Novakovic, Slovenia’s answer to Peter Crouch who was stripped of FC Koln’s captaincy after a tardy return from international duty. Oooh, naughty. He is – but unfortunately he’s also got a keen eye for goal, boshing in 20 goals in Germany’s second tier to ensure Koln’s promotion to the Bundesliga in 2008. The 6ft 4in 30-year-old also has a fairly decent strike rate in international football, with 14 goals from 37 appearances, including a hat-trick against the mighty, um, Trinidad & Tobago.
HALF TIME QUIZ
1 Brazil’s Pele and Vava are two of the four players to have scored three goals in the World Cup final matches. Who are the other two?
2 What was the highest scoring World Cup final?
3 How many games will there be in this World Cup?
4 What are the names of David Beckham’s three kids?
1 Scorpio. 2 Pim Verbeek. 3 The armband goes to the player with the most caps. 4 Peter Shilton with 125 caps. 5 Wales. They currently lie 77th (Scotland are 41st, Northern Ireland 50th).
MATCH OF THE DAY 2
MISS ENGLAND vs MISS USA
Who's hotter? Have a think, do a series of tests, possibly powernap on it, then tell us your answer in the comments box.
It's up-and-coming star of attractiveness Kelly Brook. Kelly hates Slovenia SO. MUCH.
Why it's world famous actress and female Megan Fox.
Have a look at some amusing pictures of footballers crying.
Check back at 11 for tomorrow for the next First 11 World Cup Bulletin.