Football: The Global Game

The World Cup Around the World
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The Independent Online
"The important thing is to blend individuality with a team game. There are at least six other teams who can win: Germany, Italy, England, France, Spain and Argentina. And I expect a lot, at least in terms of entertainment, from Nigeria. I hope that playing in a thoughtful and attacking way will be rewarded."

Pele on Brazil's rivals, La Gazzetta dello Sport, Italy.

"Two years ago [in Euro 96] I wasn't well physically and I played terribly in the last match. Now I know what I have to do and how I have to do it. Playing for two years with Juventus in Italy and in Europe has taught me a lot of things. I have acquired tactical ideas that were previously unknown to me, I have learnt to play for a big side, I have acquired the habit of winning. Before I was fatalistic, I accepted results with resignation. Now, I think only and obsessively of victory."

Zinedine Zidane, France's playmaker, La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"Only the most fanatical expect the Reggae Boyz to win the World Cup, but Jamaicans agree that the benefits from their country's first qualification for the world's premier football tournament extend well beyond football. The Jamaica Tourist Board has leapt aboard the promotional bandwagon spawned by the national team's success by commissioning a 50ft in diameter, 866lb football, painted in the national colours of black, green and gold as an elaborate commemoration of the Reggae Boyz's achievement. Already referred to the Guinness Book of Records for possible ratification as the "world's biggest football", the ball is being described as a "bon voyage card" for the island's football heroes. The big ball, decorated with thousands of signatures and goodwill messages, will spend the duration of the World Cup on prominent display at the Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris after being shown off over the past month in New York, Kingston and London. Reggae concerts have been planned for leading French cities for the duration of the tournament with leading entertainers Jimmy Cliff, Diana King, Ernie Smith, Tony Rebel, Buju Banton, Julian and Damion Marley among those lined up. Top dancehall sound systems Stone Love and Bodyguard will also be there."

The Gleaner, Jamaica.