Welcome. It's the First XI World Cup bulletin!
Here's what's happening in nearly-eliminated South Africa today:
Tuesday 22 June 2010
15:00 Mexico v Uruguay, Rustenburg, ITV4
15:00 France v South Africa, Bloemfontein, ITV1
19:30 Nigeria v South Korea, Durban, BBC Three
19:30 Argentina v Greece, Polokwane, BBC One
Today is the beginning of the four most intense days of the World Cup, with a frankly dizzying four games each day. The last round of group games are played consecutively within each group to avoid scurrilous teams conspiring to draw when they each only need a point to go through. That is the case today with Uruguay and Mexico who we fully expect to scurriously conspire to draw. Their only World Cup finals game to date in 1966 ended goalless.
Meanwhile Hosts South Africa face farcical circus troupe France who in the past week lost to Mexico, refused to train, announced that there is a "traitor" in their camp and got in a right huff because they realised that there isn't a Parc Asterix in South Africa. Probably. They've also failed to win any of their five games at major international tournaments since Zidane's headbutt in 2006.
In Group B South Korea are unbeaten against Nigeria, winning twice and drawing once while Argentina will score many goals against Greece.
On this day in 1986 some forgotten Argentinean forward scored a goal with his hand then later a good goal with his feet against a team called England. There are no historical records of this taking place.
MATCH OF THE DAY 19:30, BBC One
GREECE V ARGENTINA
Group B, Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane. Capacity: 46,000
Sure, Greece can be backed to win the tournament at a whopping 300/1. And sure, they have never beaten group rivals Argentina or South Korea and notched just one win against Nigeria in previous meetings. But bear in mind they dumped a massive steaming turd on the established order of European football with their shocking European Championship win in 2004. And they’ve still got the manager who masterminded that triumph: Otto Rehhagel – or “King Otto” to his mates. So who says they can’t do it again? Us, that’s who. After all, they were pony at Euro 2008 and they’re up against Messi, Tevez, Aguero and Higuain – four players who scored over 100 goals between them this season.
PLAYER TO WATCH
LIONEL MESSI (above)
Highlighting the short-stacked Argentine as a player to watch is a bit like advising cyclists to watch out for fast-moving vehicles. But we do so under the knowledge that refusing to acknowledge the threat of either will result in catastrophic damage. He’s the most exciting player of recent times, but his – and hence his country’s – hopes of World Cup glory rest, ironically, with the man he seeks to emulate. Diego Maradona can either choose to continue to isolate Messi on the wing, or follow Barcelona’s lead and set him free. Either way, Greece will need to watch Lionel very carefully. Or, you know, just deck him.
HALF TIME QUIZ
1 Which star sign does French coach and amateur astrologer Raymond Domenech admit to distrusting?
2 Who coaches the Australian national team?
3 How does the Italian national team select its captain?
4 Who is the most capped England player ever?
5 Which team is lower in the world rankings: Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales?
1 56 seconds. 2 Stealing a bracelet. 3 It’s wherabouts are unknown. It was stolen from the Brazilian FA in 1983 and never recovered. It was replaced with a replica in 1984. 4 1970. The Mexican press used it to describe Group 3, which consisted of reigning champs England, ’62 winners Brazil, and ’62 finalists Czechoslovakia and Romania. 5 Some of his hair.
MATCH OF THE DAY 2
MISS URUGUAY vs MISS NIGERIA
Who's hotter? Have a think, do a series of tests, possibly powernap on it, then tell us your answer in the comments box.
Hello 33-year-old Uruguayan singer Natalia Oreiro, how are you? Do you know Diego Forlan? Is he as nice as he seems?
It is Nigerian model Oluchi Onweagba, who is a model from Nigeria.
Lionel Messi has developed a taste for one of Carlos Tevez's favourite bands, but hasn't realised that they no longer exist. Here's what he had to say: "On the plane on the way to the World Cup Carlitos made me listen to Oasis's first two albums. I have to say I wasn't expecting much but it is some of the best material I have ever heard. They are absolutely amazing. Their songs are incredible. I have been listening to their stuff in my hotel room, on the way to matches and in the dressing room. I've been watching their live performances on YouTube and they look like they'd be amazing to see in concert. We have agreed that if we win the World Cup, we want to fly them over to Argentina for our celebration party. We just need them to name their price."
Check back at 11 for tomorrow for the next First 11 World Cup Bulletin.