IoS World Cup water cooler!
England's woes aside, the tournament has exploded into life, providing us with joyous moments of often-heated debate in the workplace. Rob Sharp and Samuel Muston on the successes, failures, and controversies so far
Sunday 20 June 2010
Jabulani bombs out
Too round? Not round enough? It certainly has a freaky name. It's the Adidas-designed ball that conveniently doubles as a punch bag, if players' protestations are anything to go by. The most hysterical claim against "Jumanji" (so nicknamed because of its unpredictability) goes to the US goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann, who said: "Scientists came up with the atom bomb. Doesn't mean we should have invented it." Steady on, old boy.
Blown away by vuvuzelas
The instrument was adapted from a bicycle horn by South African football fans in the 1960s. Medics had fretted that the sound of the plastic trumpets could damage hearing. Fifa thought of banning them, but became enchanted by the endless sound of spittle-flecked B-flats.
James Corden loses the comic touch
What is this guy's problem? First he's insulting Shakespearean actors with his paunch, then he's hosting an unfunny chat show. There's only one way to go from there. Selling out with Simon Cowell to release a World Cup song with Dizzee Rascal and heffalumping around before the reappearance of Adrian Chiles's smug face on ITV. If England's performance doesn't finish us, this will.
French surrender monkeys
Pull out your hankies for Les Bleus. That supine display from Anelka. Lackadaisical play from Ribéry and Malouda. It's all a long way from Zidane's brawn on the ball. Such performances make the English weep. With happiness.
No one was more surprised than Switzerland when they emerged as giant-killers by felling favourites Spain on Wednesday. Cue much soul-searching by the Spaniards (see below) and bemusement among the Swiss. If only they'd shown this much steel in 1939.
Ambushed by Dutch brewers
"Call me naive, but I didn't think I was doing anything wrong," said disgraced ITV commentator and former Jamaica international Robbie Earle, whose ticket allocation for the Holland vs Denmark game found its way into the hands of Dutch brewery Bavarian Beer. The firm got 36 models to wear short orange dresses – much to the obvious chagrin of newspaper picture editors.
North Korea – democracy in action
The prospect of a totalitarian lockdown is a great impetus to score goals. That's what North Korean left back Ji Yun-Nam, aka "the People's Six-Pack", learned on Tuesday when he scored against Brazil. His post-goal rictus wasn't so much celebratory as relieved. Such elation was matched by the country's "fans", hand-picked by the North Korean government for their ability to sing their national anthem with fear-free gusto.
Clueless in the commentary box
The BBC's coverage hasn't escaped the excoriating barbs of football hacks who have been unimpressed with pundits' "expert analysis". Last Sunday, the BBC's Alan Shearer was unsure when appraising Algeria and Slovenia. "Our knowledge of these two teams is limited," he said. Later, in the six-and-a-half minute introduction to New Zealand vs Slovakia, just one player out of 22 was given a name-check.
The gospel according to Diego
In possession of a deity's digits and now the sexiest salt and pepper beard east of Buenos Aires, Argentina's favourite teeth-grinder knows how to generate a drama. He's told Pelé he should "go back to the museum" and damned Uefa chief Michel Platini for being French, though has since apologised to the Gallic football overlord. Thankfully, Maradona's got his own house in order: his team doctor, Donato Villani, issued a statement last week saying the players could have sex during the tournament. Phew.
Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas had his cojones cajoled by his girlfriend, Sara Carbonero, a reporter for the Telecino network, after his team's crushing defeat by the Swiss on Wednesday. She asked him, "How did you muck it up?" Clearly shocked, he replied: "I don't know what to say... The dressing room is fed up." She later faced a similar line of questioning from her own channel, who asked her whether she felt responsible for "destabilising" the team.
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