"We are ready" is the slogan in Johannesburg five days before the opening game of the World Cup. Well, most of it.
The Gau train from the main airport into Johannesburg had its inaugural run on Friday, doing the trip in 15 minutes, which will beat anything that can be achieved on the traffic-heavy roads.
All roadworks are supposed to have been finished today and will be suspended for the rest of the tournament – something the English 2018 bid team could usefully consider insisting upon, should they be successful. Other slogans that will be much seen and heard over the next five weeks include the South African national team's "Asiba Sabi", translated as "we are not afraid of them". If Bafana Bafana watched their first opponents, Mexico, taking Italy apart in winning a friendly 2-1 on Thursday, they may have to revise that one.
Virgin territory for Crouch
Quotemeister Phil Shaw, who is of this parish and has been collecting words of wisdom associated with our glorious game for the past 30 years, has a chunky new collection out called 'Tell Him He's Pele And Get Him Back On' (Ebury Press), which specialises in rib-ticklers. A small sample for the World Cup: "This could be our best victory over Germany since the war" – John Motson during Germany 1 England 5. "This World Cup has got a very international feel about it" – Jimmy Armfield. Reporter: "What would you be if you weren't a footballer?" Peter Crouch: "A virgin."
Pundits pick Spain to reign
Motty and his fellow men with the mike generally leave predictions to the so-called expert summarisers, but the XI who contributed to one of the many World Cup records as Commentators United, including Martin Tyler, Clive Tyldesley and the BBC's new No 1, Guy Mowbray, have offered the world their potential winners. The wise men offered seven votes for Spain, followed by Brazil, England and Argentina; with no votes for either of the 2006 finalists, Italy and France, or the previous hosts, Germany. Asked to pick the best outside bet to do well, they cast votes for Ivory Coast and Ghana as well as Denmark and Serbia.
Wright-Phillips a class act
The answer to last week's trivia question: South London boys Scott Parker and Shaun Wright-Phillips both went to Haberdashers' Aske's school in New Cross, which means they should be experts on use of apostrophes. Parker left Chelsea in July 2005, just as Wright-Phillips arrived from Manchester City. This week's teaser: Which country lost 19-0 and 16-0 in World Cup qualifying games during the space of three days?