Oh, hi. It's the First XI World Cup bulletin!
Here's what's happening in soggy South Africa today:
Saturday 19 June 2010
12:30 Netherlands v Japan, Durban, ITV
15:00 Ghana v Australia, Rustenburg, BBC
19:30 Cameoon v Denmark, Pretoria, ITV
MATCH OF THE DAY 12:30, ITV
NETHERLANDS V JAPAN
Group E. Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban. Capacity: 70,000
Defeats in the 1974 and 1978 finals, and 1998 semis are scant reward for a country that brought the world total football, produces flair player after flair player and, most importantly, likes darts almost as much as we do. We’re kidding. Not about their love of darts, that’s true, but it’s not important. What’s important is the fact that ‘perennial underachievers’ Holland will be looking to use this game to set down a marker. A marker that tells every other team in the tournament that they are here and they are a force to be reckoned with. Expect goals. Lots of beautiful goals… then a racist storm in the dressing room that splits the Dutch camp and sees them crash out in the first knockout round.
PLAYER TO WATCH
KLASS JAN HUNTELAAR (above)
Two years ago, ‘The Hunter’ was the hunted, with a host of top clubs jostling to sign the prolific marksman. Fast-forward 24 months and he’s been booed out of Real Madrid and is now taking crap from AC Milan fans for being, in their eyes, unmitigated shite. Which hurts. A lot. Still, we expect the ex-Ajax striker Louis Van Gaal calls “the best penalty box player, bar none” to restore his reputation by being one of this tournament’s top scorers. Why? Well, let’s face it, even FHM could score a bundle if we were spoon-fed by Wesley Sneijder, Robin van Persie, Arjen Robben and Rafael van der Vaart.
HALF TIME QUIZ
1 What happened to Ronaldo the night before the 1998 World Cup final?
2 What superstitious ritual did French captain Laurent Blanc complete prior to every game in the 1998 World Cup?
3 Which European country has participated in every World Cup qualifying competition, but never reached the finals?
4 Which country was originally selected to host the 1986 World Cup finals?
1 David Trezeguet. 2 Tegucigalpa. 3 Gianfranco Zola. 4 Russia, Ireland, Bosnia and Ukraine.
The real reason behind John Motson's demotion at the BBC.
Check back at 11 for tomorrow for the next First 11 World Cup Bulletin.