Hello darling. It's the First XI World Cup bulletin!
Here's what's happening in tangy South Africa today:
Friday 18 June 2010
12:30 Germany v Serbia, Port Elizabeth, BBC
15:00 Slovenia v USA, Johannesburg (Ellis Park), BBC
19:30 England v Algeria, Cape Town, ITV
44 Lions on our shirt! 3 years of hurt! Ing-er-land Ing-er-land Ing-er-land! All this and more from confused drunks at half past nine tonight if Capello's mob of WAGless wonders can triumph over Algeria, a team which looked, as the Spaniards say, "los pants" against Slovenia in their opening match. This is the first time the sides have ever played one another, and England have never lost to an African side. All together now: IT'S COMING HOME! IT'S COMING HOME! IT'S COMING YOU'VE GOT TO HOLD AND GIVE BUT DO IT AT THE RIGHT TIME YOU CAN BE SLOW OR FAST BUT YOU MUST VINDALOOOO! VINDALOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!1111
It's another first ever meeting today between Slovenia and the home-cooked-mama's-apple-pie-cowboy-rednecks of USA, surely a game in which the much-tipped Americans will be looking to flex their magical starred and striped muscles? Slovenia, a country so tiny that it doesn't provide convenient stereotypes to mock, will fancy their chances of a goal given that USA have kept just one clean sheet in 20 World Cup matches since their famous win over England in 1950.
Serbia have conceded three goals from penalties in their last two World Cup games, but that surely won't be a problem today, as the Germans are famously terrible from 12 yards.
On this day in 1998 eventual winners France waltzed to a 4-0 win against Saudi Arabia. A recent scientific survey determined that the Saudi side of 1998 would beat present-day France, despite the fact that most of the team are now in their mid-40s.
MATCH OF THE DAY 19:30, ITV
ENGLAND V ALGERiA
Group C, Green Point Stadium, Cape Town. Capacity: 66,000
Given that England bottled it against the Yanks this match-up against Les Fennecs (The Desert Foxes) is crucial – cue Clive Tyldesley making awful puns about ‘putting foxes in their boxes’ and ‘giving them their just desserts’, etc. Sadly this might be easier said than done, since Algeria defeated Didier Drogba’s praise-laden Ivory Coast on their way to reaching the semi-finals of the African Cup of Nations in January. They also have a history of giant-killing – slaying defending champs Germany in their first World Cup in 1982. But, that said, they didn't look much against Slovenia, so if England cock this up we’ll photoshop the turnip on Capello’s head ourselves.
PLAYER TO WATCH
NADIR BEJHADJ (above)
Premier League fans will be familiar with Portsmouth’s marauding left wing back and his variety of ‘douche-in-a bad-night-club’ hairstyles. The 27-year-old started out at French club Lens, then joined Lyon for £3m before – hello sailor – moving to Fratton Park in September 2008. Here he remains, which is bad news given it means he’ll see the game as an opportunity to secure a move away from relegated Pompey. Bloody typical. It is, but the good news for England fans is, a couple of recent sendings off prove he’s still got a short fuse. So if they nibble him, he’ll probably kick out and get sent off.
HALF TIME QUIZ
1 Which French player missed a penalty in the 2006 World Cup final shootout?
2 What’s the capital of Honduras?
3 Which likeable, Sardinian-born, Italian player turned manager celebrated his 28th birthday by getting sent off against Nigeria on July 5, 1994?
4 Name the four teams who lost out in the European World Cup qualifying play-offs?
1 Steven Gerrard with two goals. 2 Franco Baldini. 3 64. 4 AC Milan (twice), Real Madrid (twice), Roma and Juventus. 5 USA 1994.
MATCH OF THE DAY 2
MISS USA vs MISS SLOVENIA
Who's hotter? Have a think, do a series of tests, possibly powernap on it, then tell us your answer in the comments box.
Audrina Patridge is no relation to the fictional television character Alan Partridge. There are two reasons for this. Firstly - Alan Partridge is fictional, so it is almost impossible to be related to him. Secondly - their surnames are spelt differently.
Did you know that Katarina Jurkovic's name is an anagram of Avatar Kick Junior? What does it all mean?! Find out today, when the USA (the country which produced the film Avatar) take on Slovenia.
Diego Maradona was extremely perplexed when reporters asked him about his "affection" towards his team yesterday. Look at his little face:
Check back at 11 for tomorrow for the next First 11 World Cup Bulletin.