Category: World Cup

We’re Not All Created Equal Even When It Comes to Sports


We’re Not All Created Equal Even When It Comes to Sports

Well the World Cup came and went almost in the blink of an eye but at the same time there was something not quite up to scratch in the way that the country was summarily portrayed for the outside world. Uppermost in my mind as the very fact that the hierarchy of the game merely wanted to have the event staged in order to show the rest of the world that the country of South Africa had overcome the vast abhorrence known as apartheid . That being said having watched segment of ESPN’s E 60 was appalled to find out that female participants in the game of soccer were being summarily gang raped if there was merely a hint of those players being lesbians . Many of the female victims were in fact lesbians and even with the cultural differences this shouldn’t be of any relevance for these women choosing to participate in a sport (soccer) that’s as beloved worldwide .

=============================================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

===============================================================================

Courtesy of ESPN

Female athletes often targets for rape

By Jeremy Schaap and Beein Gim ‘E:60’

KWA THEMA, South Africa — In the small, neat home she shares with a husband she describes as a broken man, Mally Simelane talks about her daughter, Eudy , who two years ago was gang-raped and stabbed to death.

“These children are ours,” she says, her hands folded across her kitchen table. “The gays and lesbians. I mean, we must accept our children. What they like, it’s up to them. We are not God to stop them.”

But there are those who are trying to stop them. And to punish them. To scare them. To change them. To “correct” them.

At the time of her murder, Eudy Simelane was almost a decade removed from her career on the South African women’s national soccer team. But at 31, she had become a well-respected youth coach, a passionate ambassador for the game she loved. Everyone knew she was gay.

At Eudy’s grave — not far from the creek where her tormentors dumped her mutilated corpse — Mally says, “I look at her picture. Then pray. Cry. Talk to her. Telling her, ‘I miss you.'”

The rationale?

For an act of such violence and malice, it’s called something so clinical: “corrective rape.”

“The phenomenon of corrective rape is based on the mistaken belief that through the violent act of rape, you can alter someone’s orientation, you can alter their identity,” says Jody Kollapen, the former chairman of the South African Human Rights Commission, a governmental organization. “The rationale would be that a woman who chooses to be lesbian has surely not had a relationship with a man, and therefore, if she has a relationship with a man, even if it’s a violent, forced one, that will surely convince her that the lifestyle she chose is inappropriate.”

====================================================================
To read this article in full just click unto the text link provided as shown.
=====================================================================

Now for those women who weren’t lesbians they were still subject to sexual assaults merely for associating with other women just happen to be of very different sexual orientation. The government of South Africa while being democratic still has long way to go in making all elements of its society placed on an equal footing. Apartheid, as a practice was horrendous in of itself but now sexual assaults on women merely because of their orientation? Clearly the message sent is one of intolerance by those who commit these heinous acts but at the same time whatever one’s moral or religious beliefs there s no way that one can condone those acts being appropriate in today’s society, Certainly not by any stretch of one’s imagination at this moment in time. When those actions did not lead to the women abating ther desires then their ritual rape and murder weren’t out of the question. There have been several such incidents that’ve cropped up cross the country . Many of the crimes in question have ether gone unsolved or un-investigated as the various law enforcement agencies have sought ways to divest themselves of the time to carry out a full investigation. Needless to say, humanitarian voices are now coming into play and forcing Jacob Zuma and his government to take a position on this all and be proactive..

South African President Jacob Zuma no stranger to controversy himself having been tried and acquitted of rape has been less then amenable to the plight of these victims. But then again what should one expect from man whose alleged victim was in fact a teenage girl? . Zuma would even make a provocative statement suggesting that the victim needed sex in order to learn what it was like to know what the pleasure of having a man inside of her meant. Needless to say those remarks by the President have come back to haunt him even to this day.

Courtesy of The Guardian UK

Raped and killed for being a lesbian: South Africa ignores ‘corrective’ attacks

• Women living in fear of brutal assaults by male gangs
• Country’s ‘macho politics’ lead to lack of action

By Annie Kelly of The Guardian UK

The partially clothed body of Eudy Simelane, former star of South Africa’s acclaimed Banyana Banyana national female football squad, was found in a creek in a park in Kwa Thema, on the outskirts of Johannesburg. Simelane had been gang-raped and brutally beaten before being stabbed 25 times in the face, chest and legs. As well as being one of South Africa’s best-known female footballers, Simelane was a voracious equality rights campaigner and one of the first women to live openly as a lesbian in Kwa Thema.

Her brutal murder took place last April, and since then a tide of violence against lesbians in South Africa has continued to rise. Human rights campaigners say it is characterised by what they call “corrective rape” committed by men behind the guise of trying to “cure” lesbians of their sexual orientation.

==================================================================================

Click on link shown to view in full .

==================================================================================

It’s bad enough that women are now subjected to numerous atrocities and degradations without now having a government that literally condones these actions nd who remain ominously silent when confronted or questioned on the matter. It is as if Jacob Zuma takes pride in such things. It’s bad enough that the country itself still remains the epicenter for the HIV-aids pandemic across the continent of Africa. Perhaps this too is also lost on Zuma and his government ?

What might be also be even more pertinent here is the very fact that while soccer’s governing body has gone out of its way to fight the rising tide of racism within the sport. Under Joseph “Sepp” Blatter’s leadership there has been very little done by the FIFA President and its members (FIFA ). Which begs the question if he’s unwilling to do anything other than merely suborn what has taken place long before the event was awarded to the country and knowing full well that this was all going on ? How can the game and ts hierarchy live with itself knowing that this continues and was taking place but yet they too also chose to remain silent ? .

Now while the sport of soccer has been something I’ve long loved since childhood. I know for a fact that there is an underbelly to the sport that once it rears its ugly head then others for some reason choose to run away from the ugliness rather than face the truth. They say that the truth shall set you free but freedom for these victims has been something of a myth . Because no one seems to care at all about ther plight . Sadly when your own government can’t show any concern then it gives credence to the fact that society as we know it is indeed changing for the worse and not for the better. Were these homosexual male victims would they be treated any differently and would in fact FIFA be taking a completely different stance altogether ?

===========================================================================

===========================================================================

NB: Should you at all be interested in the subject matter then click on the link provided below to read up on the piece shown by the cable network.

Female athletes often targets for rape ………… . The segment itself was conducted and produced by noted ESPN journalist Jeremy Schaap .

Alan aka tophatal ………………….

Eve ……………………..”Love is Blind

Well No Good Can Come From Being A Lame Duck ………


Well No Good Can Come From Being A Lame Duck .

The World Cup has commenced and already the disappointment of seeing one of the favorites underachieve became apparent. In their Group C opening match England took on USA in a highly anticipated game. Along with Slovenia and Algeria making up the group the quartet of teams will fight it for qualifying for the next phase of the competition. This game and the victor would be deemed the favorites to win the group and make their way into the next phase of the tournament . Both England and team USA are viewed as the predetermined favorites to make it out of the group.

==================================================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

==================================================================================

Slide show for your perusal.

In what was seen to be coach Fabio Capello’s coming out party for this England team , literally became a nightmare. Having gone up 1-0 early in the fourth minute from a Steven Gerrard goal and with the momentum seemingly going their way. England never seems able to play with any real zeal. The team though having their moments never played with any consistency or urgency and it was aghast to see what would emerge when Robert Green England’s goalkeeper inadvertently mishandled a rather innocuous shot from Clint Dempsey of the US in the fortieth minute. From then on this game was one missed chances, opportunities and rather “unimaginative play” from both sides . And now comes the hard part for both teams because they’re now each in a position wherein their next game within group necessitates a win if they’re to definitely to proceed to the next round of the competition.

Courtesy of Associated Press & Yahoo Sports

Goalkeeper blunder hands US 1-1 draw with England

By Barry Hatton , Associated Press Writer

Rustenburg, South Africa (AP)—The United States held England to a 1-1 draw in World Cup Group C opener Saturday, with a stunning blunder by English goalkeeper Robert Green costing his team victory.

An apparently harmless 25-meter (yard) left-foot shot from Clint Dempsey in the 40th minute went straight at Green but the ball bounced off his right glove and trickled over the line for an equalizer.

“It’s one of those that you see and people say, ‘How come that never happens to me,”’ Dempsey said. “Finally, it’s a goal that probably the ‘keeper should have made a save on. They all count the same when they go in.”

Green seemed confident he wouldn’t be scarred by it.

“Mentally we’re strong enough to get over it and as a goalkeeper these things happen,” Green told Sky TV. “You prepare yourself for not letting it affect you.”

England captain Steven Gerrard had given England the lead in the fourth, charging into the area and shooting with the outside of his foot past Tim Howard for his 17th international goal.

England, pursuing its first World Cup title since 1966, created more chances but the Americans held firm under pressure with a string of saves from Howard, who was voted player of the match.

===================================================================

Click on link to read Barry Hatton’s article in its entirety .
===================================================================

For Capello the back pages of the newspapers back in England will be deeply critical of the coach as well as the team and their lackadaisical performance . From my own standpoint in no way did I feel that this team was capable of winning the World Cup ! The team’s core group of players are at best solid but in no way are they supremely talented and good enough to take on the likes of Spain , France , Italy , Brazil or Argentina ! Impressive as their qualifying for the competition may well have been the reality of the situation was that there was so much hype behind Capello’s team that no one took into account the substantive effort need once they had qualified. Instead what we witnessed was a great deal of bravado and the rather idiotic inanity in the belief that England was capable of winning the tournament outright. The odds makers fed that belief by creating what I felt were outrageous odds in the UK ! At 7-2 the team was listed as the third favorites behind Brazil and Spain.

And for Bob Bradley as team USA’s coach there’s a great deal that he can take out of this game but he has to be also worried that the offense of the team wasn’t all that dynamic . Were it not for the Dempsey goal and Green’s mishandling of the shot the game would have ended in defeat for the US. No doubt pleased with the result it has to be said he has to be openly optimistic as to the team’s chances of making it to the next round of competition . The players themselves no doubt pleased with the result now can’t take anything for granted.

Fabio Capello and his team will now feel the wrath of the press and no doubt some of the fans who had expected more of from this team. The disappointment was there to be seen on the faces of the players. But I feel that the players ought to feel extremely embarrassed by this result ! As I alluded to earlier I’m not at all overly impressed with Capello’s roster.Though there’s a preponderance of gifted midfield players on this squad. In terms of offensive fire power and creativity it does leave a great deal to be desired. I can only surmise what the papers will have to say about this all and for the fans back in England I’m sure as rabid as they are with the national fervor for the game of soccer. Another game performance of this ineptitude and it wouldn’t surprise me if they were calling for the head of Fabio Capello and certain members of this team, amongst them goal keeper Robert Green , who immediately becomes persona-non-grata after his poor display.

=============================================================================

=============================================================================

Picture gallery for your perusal .

In the coming days before England resumes group play I have to say that I now view the team as a lame duck . Going into this game all they needed to do, was to play a solid ninety minutes of mistake free and effective soccer. Instead what they graced their fans with was a complete mess of enormous and far reaching proportions. Another inept performance of this scale and they might as well pack their ags and return home from South Africa. It’s one thing to come into this competition with high expectations but it’s another perform with such ineptitude where it now has everyone questioning the resolve of this team and its coach. The team for all sense and purpose is now but one poor result away from being a lame duck. One which if it were hunting season would be shot on sight and then become part of a rather savory meal . Anyone here like duck ?

NB : Should you at all be interested then click on the following links provided to view my earlier pieces concerning the World Cup.

Let The Smack Talking Begin …..

Countdown To The One ….

For the latest World Cup news results and more click on the link provided below.

World Cup news & views

Match results …

Group Standings …

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ……………………………….

Black Eyed Peas …………………….. ” Meet Me Halfway ”

Let The Smack Talking Begin ………………


Let The Smack Talking Begin ……………

Well the World Cup is but ten days away before the opening ceremony and I’m already reading such banality concerning the impending fortunes of the US team that it doesn’t bear mentioning. A 2-1 defeat of Turkey and you’ve got fans here thinking that “the result” will mirror the form shown by the team when they open up in group competition in the first round against England . The game itself will tell us greatly about the impending fortunes of both teams. South Africa as the host nation, is the first country on the continent to stage the event. And they’ll hope to not only show that they’ve turn the corner economically as well as politically but also socially.


=============================================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

==============================================================================

Slide show gallery for your perusal.

Courtesy of FIFA.com

Bradley: We need a good start

United States coach Bob Bradley believes the winter conditions in South Africa can have a positive effect in elevating the standard of football at the 2010 FIFA World Cup that kicks of on 11 June at Soccer City in Johannesburg.

Speaking to FIFA.com upon his team’s arrival at the OR Tambo International Airport, Bradley said the cold weather will be a blessing in disguise for many of the teams. He is also of the opinion that teams that have played on South African soil before will be in a better position to succeed this June and July, and the United States, having played here just 11 months ago, will be one of those teams.
So far the preparations have been good. We respect everyone in our group, we have some good teams. It’s going to be a tough job, but we have to be ready.

USA coach Bob Bradley

“We have been here before, we have played in these conditions. The players know what to expect. It’s good to be back in South Africa again. What I can say is that the team is ready to get started here. This World Cup is in the winter months, and that means it’s going to be cold. That is good for football, because that means teams are going to play at a high pace and tempo,” Bradley told FIFA.com.

The United States was one of eight teams that participated at the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, where they finished surprise runners-up to Brazil. The final game was a painful moment for the Americans, who went into the break sitting on a 2-0 cushion following a first half performance that shocked everyone.

However, history will record that the Americans allowed Brazil to put three goals past Tim Howard in the second half. Since then, lessons have been learned and Bradley, the team patriarch, is now wiser – not only about the level of competition but also about the conditions that his team will be expected to perform under.

“We will be playing at the same stadiums, the same cities, so that means we will confront the same conditions. So far the preparations have been good. We respect everyone in our group, we have some good teams. It’s going to be a tough job, but we have to be ready. We have enough time between now and June 12th to acclimatise. I think it’s going to be great World Cup,” Bradley added.

The United States will face England at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg on 12 June. They will then play Slovenia in Johannesburg before their last group match against Algeria at the Loftus Stadium in Tshwane/Pretoria. “We need a good start to the tournament, that’s important for us. We are looking forward to it,” the coach concluded.

============================================================================

The US national side has been assigned to Group C along with England , Algeria and Slovenia . England and the US are the presumptive favorites to make it out of the group with some ease. But as we all know nothing is ever a certainty when it comes to this piece particular event. But at the same time it would be remiss to think that because a team has one or two one descript performances against less than adequate opponents , that overnight it makes them all of a sudden world beaters as one blogger would have us believe as it concerns the US’s chances in the event. One, he fails to acknowledge that the US team has a lack of offense and two despite the optimism, the defensive play of this team is nowhere near as sharp and incisive as team coach Bob Bradley needs it to be. But low and behold the idiocy of it all ! At best if the US team does make it out of group play, then it should be seen as an added bonus for the fans the team , in particular for US soccer and that of MLS . The latter needing all the publicity it can get, given the fact that television coverage and the viewing audience has been less than impactful . For MLS chairman Don Garber and US Soccer Chairman Sunil Gulati anything that further publicizes the game and heightens its presence can only be viewed as an added bonus for the growth of the game here in North America.

Now when it’s all said and done I for one would like to see the US team progress over the course of the tournament . But I’m not about to buy into the idiocy that merely because of one or two friendly warm up matches this team is about to set the world on fire. That was the same idiocy we saw after their appearance in the CONACAF tournament that was held in South Africa in order to introduce a number of teams to the country and one or two of the venues that will be used to stage the event. And as spirited and heart warming a display that was given by the team during the competition. In all honesty when gauged against the world stage and the elite teams . It was nothing more than aberration at best. Now there’ll be some who will say look at the team’s FIFA rankings (14th in the FIFA World rankings) for a true measure as to where the US really belongs on the world soccer stage . Well if rankings were votes being bought by a politician , in order to get them elected then you could say that the US had done well. But looking at the body of their work it doesn’t give credence as to the justification of that ranking to begin with.

As an expat Brit now residing here in the US. I have to admit as much as I had favor England’s chances. I do believe that Fabio Capello’s ______ team at best are capable of making it to the latter stages of the tournament. But herein lies the caveat , as to the team’s fortunes . I’m really surprised by the lack of a proven goal scorer on the squad other than Wayne Rooney in the true sense of the word. And given that the player though said to be match fit , if he’s not firing on all cylinders then there’s a serious chance that the team could struggle to find their offensive legs when they will be needed to.

Courtesy of Associated Free Press & Yahoo Sports

Ruthless Capello drops Walcott from England squad

LONDON (AFP) – Fabio Capello’s decision to leave Theo Walcott out of his final 23-man squad for the World Cup has sent a clear message to England’s stars as they head to South Africa.

Walcott is the latest high-profile victim of Capello’s ruthless determination to stamp his authority on his teams and his absence should leave the squad in no doubt that their manager won’t tolerate underachievement in the finals.

The Arsenal winger was widely expected to feature in Capello’s plans for the World Cup in South Africa after playing a significant role in the qualifying campaign.

He appeared to underline his importance with a hat-trick in the vital 4-1 victory over Croatia in September 2008, but injuries and a series of erractic performances for Arsenal this season have changed Capello’s thinking.

Walcott showed his pace remains a tremendous asset when he briefly flickered into life in last week’s friendly win over Mexico, yet his decision-making is poor and his crossing well below the standard required at the highest level.

He had been receiving lessons in delivering the ball from David Beckham but in the end Capello decided that the more experienced Shaun Wright-Phillips and Aaron Lennon would provide better options on the right flank.

Four years ago Walcott was selected by then England coach Sven Goran Eriksson for the finals in Germany, even though the teenager had yet to make his Premier League debut.

Walcott has since admitted he didn’t deserve that call-up but he felt certain he would make it this time and being disgarded by Capello came as a big shock.

Yet it whouldn’t have been so surprising if he had remembered how easily Capello dispatched Michael Owen into international exile despite the Manchester United striker’s superb goal-scoring record for his country.

Walcott said: “I am very disappointed not to be included in the squad going out to South Africa, but completely respect Mr Capello’s decision.

======================================================================

Click on link shown to read article in its entirety.
======================================================================

The squad his a litany of creative midfield players but if I’m to believe that Peter Crouch , Jermaine Defoe , Emile Heskey and Shawn Wright-Phillips will provide this team with the fire power Capello seeks. Then he could be in for a very rude awakening once the competition gets under way. And with there being a great deal of angst in some circles as to the omission of Theo Walcott from his final 23 man roster. Capello , rightly or wrongly will be judged on the decisions made by he and his coaching staff. The one thing we can be sure of off is that if the team fails to make it to the latter rounds of the tournament. Then it will be his head on the chopping block with the media making him the scourge within the British press and them asking for his to be placed on the proverbial silver platter.

But at the end of the day it all comes down to what the coach feels gives his team the best chance to win in terms of the overall makeup of his side. He may well be of the opinion that the team will be able to eke out easy victories over the teams considered to be the minnows of Group C in Slovenia and Algeria . And if that is Fabio Capello’s assumption then he had better think realistically as to the team’s plight. To underestimate any competitor in this competition is to severely misjudge the determination of an opponent. As we’ve seen all so often ,the World Cup can be full of surprises. This World Cup will most certainly offer up its fair share of surprises along the way as well as the predictability of one or two of the scheduled games .

Taking nothing away from either Algeria or Slovenia but should they do the unthinkable by either pulling off a defeat or draw against either England or the US then all kudos to them !. Because that only proves that the depths and alleged margins in terms of what the pundits deem as a team’s potential isn’t as wide as they would like to have us all believe. However , I’d preface that by saying that it comes down to determination and wanting to play with honor and pride when representing one’s country on the greatest international sporting stage outside of the Olympics .

So with the Opening Ceremony about to take place on the 11th June and with all of the apparent “smack talk” about to begin. We shall now see who are indeed the contenders and those who are the pretenders , as the stage is set for sport’s most lavish and entertaining team spectacle. With an estimated 1.6 billion people expected to be viewing the event globally and along with the hundreds of thousands who’ve traveled to South Africa. The stage is being set for what we can hope will be a wonderful sporting spectacle.

As to the event itself will you be watching in part any stage of the World Cup ? Or is soccer a sport that doesn’t at all interest you ? By all means do chime in with a comment.

NB : Countdown To The One was an initial piece written by me concerning the upcoming World Cup being staged in South Africa. In order to view and read the piece in its entirety just click unto the link provided herein.

Click here to view a list of the teams competing in the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Click here to view the Group makeup of the competing teams.

Tournament schedule and kick off times .

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ………………………….


Petey Pablo
……………………….. “Freak A Leek”

Countdown To The One …………. !


Countdown To The One …………. !

It’s the one quadrennial event that when it happens at least one third of the world’s population will be watching the World Cup once it begins in South Africa this upcoming June. This will be the biggest sporting event on the African continent other than the ICC 20/20 Competition and the Rugby World Cup.

Big prize: FIFA President Sepp Blatter, left, with former South President Nelson Mandela, right, holding a replica of the the World Cup during a brief meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa . Associated Pres/ Daily Mail _ Martin Bergmann ............
Big prize: FIFA President Sepp Blatter, left, with former South President Nelson Mandela, right, holding a replica of the the World Cup during a brief meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa . Associated Press/ Daily Mail _ Martin Bergmann ............

From the 11th June to 11th July the 32 nations that’ve qualified including the host nation of South Africa will begin their month long quest to become world soccer champions. And with the defending champions Italy will be looking to successfully defend their crown , won in 2006 , in Germany . The infamy of the tournament will be forever remembered for the unceremonious ending to the international career of French soccer star Zinedine Zidane . Though provoked into that infamous head butting incident seen around the world , that one event has a lingering and lasting impression upon the world of international soccer.

The infamous head butt during the 2006 World Cup final match between France and Italy . France’s Zindedine Zidane having head butted Italy’s Marco Materazzi was sent off by the referee during the game. The incident hampered France’s chances of winning the game. But it also tarnished not only the reputation of Zindeine Zidaine but also the game of soccer and the unsportsmanlike conduct of Italy and in particular of Materazzi. We would later fined out that the player had used a racial epithet directly aimed at the French player to incite his anger.

<font face="andalus" size="3">  Building bridges: FIFA president Sepp Blatter <b>(center)</b>   and the 2010 Local Organising Committee (LOC) visit Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg.  Getty  Images/    Mehtoso   Makulele`   </font>
Building bridges: FIFA president Sepp Blatter (center) and the 2010 Local Organising Committee (LOC) visit Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg. Getty Images/ Mehtoso Makulele`

It is hopes that the 2010 event will be played with the customary sportsmanlike conduct we’ve normally seen and can attribute at the international level. And one would also hope to see the fans reciprocate likewise with their behavior ! With the eyes of the world watching and countless millions more listening via the airwaves. A repeat of the events witnessed in that infamous final can ill afford to repeated in South Africa. And as passionate as we expect the fans to be in support of their national side. We do expect the players themselves to conduct themselves with a great deal of decorum but also to have a great deal of respect for the game and that of the host nation.


Other than the Summer Olympics , the World Cup is the biggest sporting event on the planet in terms of the mass participation, viewership on a global scale. Never-mind the billions of dollars that brings to the host country in terms of the economic impact. But you also have the financial benefits brought to the game as well as that of FIFA , as the game’s international governing body. And for the South African Government led by President Jacob Zuma this further gives his country the recognition that the country so richly deserves after the repressive regime of apartheid that in part was suborned by United States purely from an economical standpoint . The main instigator for bringing the World Cup to the country other than that of the country’s domestic soccer federation , was that of the country’s former President Nelson Mandela . Most definitely the country’s greatest statesman by far ! In working conjunction with the South African Soccer Federation the bid was lodged with FIFA to bring soccer’s showcase international event to the African continent for the very first time. FIFA President Joseph S (Sepp) Blatter had longed maintained that it would be his wish to see the World Cup staged on the African continent. But only after the tide of apartheid had been shaken off in not only South Africa but also in that of the neighboring country of Zimbabwe .

Rooney (left) is seen here alongside English national soccer coach Fabio Capello. The two hope to be part of the of a triumphant English excursion and success in South Africa this summer at the 2010 FIFA World Cup to be held in South Africa. Daily Mirror UK/ Peter LaMott ............
Rooney (left) is seen here alongside English national soccer coach Fabio Capello. The two hope to be part of the of a triumphant English excursion and success on the African continent South Africa this summer at the 2010 FIFA World Cup to be held in South Africa. Daily Mirror UK/ Peter LaMott ............

Now that it has become a reality the only thing left is for the opening ceremony to take place then it all becomes a reality. The 32 competing teams will be placed into eight groups of four , with each division having two seeded teams. And that initial first round will be one round robin elimination within the division. From there the top two teams within each division will progress forward to the second stage of the competition.

The initial groupings are as listed below.

Group A

South Africa
Mexico
Uruguay
France


Group B

Argentina
Nigeria
Korea DPR
Greece


Group C

England
USA
Algeria
Slovenia


Group D

Germany
Australia
Serbia
Ghana


Group E

Netherlands
Denmark
Japan
Cameroon


Group F

Italy Paraguay
New Zealand
Slovakia


Group G

Brazil
Korea DPR
Cote d’Ivoire
Portugal


Group H

Spain
Switzerland
Honduras
Chile

The prohibitive favorites coming into the event will no doubt be Brazil as they are a five time FIFA World Cup champions . Second on the list is Italy with four triumphs looking to equal the feat of the South American country Brazil for their part will be looking to raise the trophy for a sixth time. As to the other teams thought to be in with a chance. As to the other teams thought to be in with a chance. Well you can merely look down FIFA’s rankings and presumably take your pick . But at the same time don’t underestimate one or two of the teams that most already would seem to have written off as not having a chance to at least surprise one of the more dominant nations. We’ve seen this happen repeatedly in previous tournaments and it will no doubt continue to happen in the future.

<font face="andalus" size="3"> Michael Ballack hugs Arne Frings during the German team's final celebration after their victory over Sweden 2-0 in the FIFA World Cup in Munich, Germany. UPI Photo/Norbert Rzepka ...</font>
Michael Ballack hugs Arne Frings during the German team's final celebration after their victory over Sweden 2-0 in the FIFA World Cup in Munich, Germany. UPI Photo/Norbert Rzepka ...

My own feelings as it regards my home country of England . With the loss of David Beckham and the uncertainty as it surrounds the Manchester United & England international striker, Wayne Rooney due to injuries. Their chances of at least making it to the quarter or semi-finals has greatly diminished , most definitely with the loss of Beckham ! The former England captain will not be a member of the team. The uncertainty as to whether or not Rooney will be match fit let alone a member of the England squad remains up in the air and something of a dilemma as it concerns national coach Fabio Capello .

As it is, Capello is under a great deal of pressure from the fans and press alike as to whom should be making the trip to South Africa, as part of the national squad. And it certainly won’t come as a surprise to anyone if there are one two shocks when the final names are announced. And with there being a June 1st deadline before he has to submit the names of his squad to the FA and FIFA. For Capello these are some onerous and thought provoking times. If he leaves off a fan favorite then there’s the thought he is snubbing that player for someone who the fans and pundits may not see as being worthy of the choice. However, if he takes an aging star merely as a need then he’s still going to be chastised one way or another. This job was never meant to be easy but at the same time , nor is winning the World Cup. And that’s something that the country hasn’t done since 1966 when the event was held in Britain and the finals played at Wembley Stadium . On that momentous occasion England defeated West Germany 4-2 in extra time , with English striker Geoff Hurst scoring a memorable “hat-trick” for the team . Since then , England’s travails in the tournament can be best described as being languid, if that. And it remains to be seen that as a seeded favorite whether or not Capello and the team will be able to justify the faith that oddsmakers’ have shown in them .

Brazil makes a shot at head by Adriano (7) with defense by Australia's Craig Moore (3) in World Cup soccer action in Munich, Germany on June 18, 2006. Brazil defeated Australia 2-0. UPI _ Arthur Thill ........
Brazil makes a shot at head by Adriano (7) with defense by Australia's Craig Moore (3) in World Cup soccer action in Munich, Germany on June 18, 2006. Brazil defeated Australia 2-0. UPI _ Arthur Thill ........

This is but the first piece in a set of “vignettes” that I’ll be doing concerning the upcoming FIFA World Cup. By all means chime in with a comment concerning your thoughts on the event. Be it proactive or not . Let me know what you think of the whole spectacle and whether or not you’ll be showing support for a team or teams as the case maybe. Thanks in advance and I look forward to reading and responding to your comments in kind.


FIFA World rankings
Click link to view in full FIFA World Rankings as of 04/20/2010.
1) Brazil
2) Spain
3) Portugal
4) Netherlands
5) Italy
6) Germany
7) Argentina
(8) England
9) Croatia
10) France
11) Russia
12) Greece

teams 13-49

NB See who’s favored to win by viewing the odds.

Information as supplied by thespread.com .

Spain 9-2
Brazil 5-1
England 11-2
Argentina 9-1
Italy 11-1
Germany & Netherlands 12-1
France 14-1
Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) 25-1

Click here to view rest of the field and their odds .

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ………………….

(more…)