France find the only statistic that counts is 1-0

World Cup Diary
Click to follow
The Independent Football

Damned lies and statistics: Team "A", France, have 15 shots on target, their opponents six. They earn 10 corners to nil. They have 60-40 advantage in possession. But Team "B", Senegal, win 1-0. Funny game. Less funny is how much football has been played. In the four matches thus far the ball has been in play for 218 minutes, and "dead" for a full 142 minutes, over two hours.

Damned lies and statistics: Team "A", France, have 15 shots on target, their opponents six. They earn 10 corners to nil. They have 60-40 advantage in possession. But Team "B", Senegal, win 1-0. Funny game. Less funny is how much football has been played. In the four matches thus far the ball has been in play for 218 minutes, and "dead" for a full 142 minutes, over two hours.

Eric Cantona and Roger Lemerre may well have attended the same French school of quotes. Previewing the Senegal match he said, in French: "There is a feeling of plenitude. In a match there's no good or bad thing, there's just a match that will be played." A perennial holder of France Football magazine's Lemon Prize [awarded to the least co-operative sports personality], he then refused to take questions in English.

The latest falling out of media and staff is between Ecuador's Colombian coach Hernan Gomez and a Colombian reporter, banned from talking to the players. "He's a badly spoken clown," summarised Gomez, who is himself no stranger to controversy. Last year a fan shot him in the leg after he failed to include the son of former Ecuador president Bucaram in the national Under-21 squad.

In attempting to pin his Argentinian colours to the mast a second Bangladeshi teenager has died. Two weeks ago a 15-year-old fell from a roof; this time a 17-year-old was electrocuted after touching a power cable in tying the Argentine flag to a metal rod atop a four-storey building in Chittagong.

A national campaign by "Rethink Rubbish" is urging England fans to avoid turning the country into a dumping ground over the World Cup. Among their preventive measures come the suggestions: (a) order one or two giant pizzas rather than individual ones, (b) drink pints rather than bottled beer; (c) if you're having a special celebration buy in bulk. We know what they mean... the more you eat and drink the more you save.

It's a punter's delight. Apart from football, you can get a bet on David Beckham having two or more different haircuts during the World Cup (4-7) – though looking at Christian Ziege's latest fight with the lawnmower the odds may be stretched – to David Seaman cutting his ponytail (5-1). In all, a British bookmaker says they have received internet bets straddling 197 countries, a real A-Z from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. Yes, Afghanistan are said to have over 300 different clients betting with UK bookmakers via the net.

Or should that be 196 countries? Hong Kong police yesterday arrested four bookmakers and seized slips amounting to £1.5m on a crackdown on World Cup betting, which has been deemed illegal. The irony is that such activity on racing and lottery is permitted.

Comments