Good morning sports fans. It's the First XI World Cup bulletin!
Here's what's happening in tasty South Africa today:
Wednesday 16 June 2010
12:30 Honduras v Chile, Nelspruit, BBC
15:00 Spain v Switzerland, Durban, ITV
19:30 South Africa v Uruguay, Pretoria, ITV
This thrilling World Cup trundles back into life in 90 minutes with another mouthwatering game between footballing powerhouses Honduras and Chile. Turn that frown upside down sir, because this one might actually be quite good. Chile, by the Mysterious Laws Of World Cup Nonsense, could be the much-vaunted dark horses of this year's competition, purely because they've not been tipped as such by many pundits. How disappointing were previous "they could surprise a few people" outfits Ivory Coast and Serbia? A pacy, attacking Chile side are therefore absolutely guaranteed to shine. Honduras might be alright too, with Spurs' Wilson Palacios their midfield linchpin.
If not those two then surely, SURELY Spain will be the side to kick this tournament into gear? Their strengths are self-evident: they have loads and loads of really good players. Switzerland, as with everything related to their existence, are just here to make up the numbers. In 18 meetings with Spain they've lost 15 times and drawn three.
We will have come full circle by the evening with the first round of games over and a chance to re-acquaint ourselves with the madcap, colourful, patronised Bafana Bafana and bore draw specialists Uruguay. Uruguay can lay claim to the oldest living person to have scored in a World Cup final - Alcided Ghiggia. The 83 year old scored his country's winner against Brazil in the 1950 tournament and is the only surviving member of that team.
On this day in 2006 Esteban Cambiasso scored this magnificent goal for Argentina against Serbia. Hats off.
MATCH OF THE DAY 15:00, BBC
SPAIN V SWITZERLAND
Group H. Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban. Capacity: 70,000
Spain, littered with Barca players and Torres, are tournament favourites. Switzerland, ranked 20th in the world and producers of clocks and neutrality, haven’t reached the quarter-finals since 1954. The Swiss are managed by Ottmar Hitzfeld, who won the Bundesliga five times with Bayern Munich and twice with Borussia Dortmund. Spain have Real Madrid hero Vicente del Bosque González at the helm. He took over from the so-racist-he’s-funny Luis Aragonés after they won Euro 2008 and has more talent at his disposal than Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has secret deposits of uranium. A goaltastic thrashing for the non-country, surely? Surely? SURELY?
PLAYER TO WATCH
Xavier Hernández I Creus, known to his buddies as Xavi, is arguably the most influential Spanish footballer of the decade. From central midfield he has passed Barcelona to La Liga and Champions League triumphs and established Spain as one of the best national sides in the world. When Barcelona beat Arsenal 4-1 at the Nou Camp in March, the Catalans completed 533 passes of which Xavi made 105 – 41 more than any other player. The 30-year-old is so composed on the ball he makes Frank Lampard look like an alcoholic builder playing 5-a-side.
HALF TIME QUIZ
1 Name the winners of the last three World Cup golden boots.
2 Who scored the winning penalty in the 2006 World Cup final?
3 Who were the losing semi-finalists at the last World Cup?
4 Who was the only England player chosen in the all-star team for the 2006 World Cup?
5 Which South African political party did Moses Mabhida lead?
MATCH OF THE DAY 2
MISS HONDURAS vs MISS CHILE
Who's hotter? Have a think, do a series of tests, possibly powernap on it, then tell us your answer in the comments box.
The fact that not-actually-ugly-at-all Ugly Betty star America Ferrera is named 'America' suggests her Honduran parents wanted her to be considered American. Come this afternoon we still think she'll be singing along to Honduras' excellently-named national anthem: National Anthem of Honduras.
Come in, Hil Hernandez. She's a Chilean beauty queen who enjoys long walks on the beach, socialising with friends and tense goalless draws.
Download a World Cup app for your iPhone featuring Scouse comic John Bishop.
Check back at 11 for tomorrow for the next First 11 World Cup Bulletin.