When Jimmy Greaves turned up to take part in an advertisement for Burger King in Leicester Square, the film company had arranged a body double for what they imagined would be the hard part: volleying a football through the doors of the restaurant and into the street. Even with two reconstructed knees, Greavsie insisted on doing that himself and executed 50 in a row bang on target. He can't have been using the Jabulani.
Atkinson hits the spot
Rehabilitated as a pundit, locally at least, Ron Atkinson has been entertaining Wolverhampton's 'Express and Star' with some trenchant views on England's World Cup efforts. He condemns the players as "bellyaching", "pathetic", "scandalous" and "a disgrace". He says of Fabio Capello: "His body language tells me he doesn't want to be there." Would he take the job himself? "Only as player-manager. And I'd get in at centre-half."
Houllier: I'm just like Diego
As Roy Hodgson slips into a pretty hot seat in the Liverpool manager's office, a former incumbent who divided opinion about his achievements there has been comparing himself – not unfavourably, it has to be said – to one of the coaches of the moment, Diego Maradona. Gérard Houllier, a member of Fifa's technical committee here, wrote after Argentina beat Mexico: "Argentina had something extra – more thirst and desire to win plus their mental and emotional strength. The reason for that comes down to the personality of the coach and the aura he commands among his players. The Argentinians aren't just playing to win for themselves, but also for their coach. I experienced that same feeling at Liverpool, when you sense your players go on the pitch ready to give everything and want to succeed for themselves and for you."
Japanese fall on swords
More of those slogans on the side of the team buses (from last week). Ghana's "The hope of Africa" proved one of the few prophetic ones. Chile's "Red is the blood of my heart, Chile will be Champion" always sounded a little optimistic as well as over-wrought. "Shake the green field: Go Slovakia!" may have lost something in translation, though they did manage to shake Italy on the green field of Ellis Park. "One dream, one purpose – Portugal victorious!" did not survive the Iberian derby and "The Samurai spirit never dies! Victory for Japan!" did not unfortunately extend to a penalty shoot-out. Poor Yuichi Komano, who hit the bar with his spot-kick, looked suicidal, so we must hope they're not taking the Samurai spirit too seriously or there may be some falling on swords.
Remember White City?
Last week's quiz question asked: which country failed to qualify for the second stage of a World Cup after winning a group match 10-1? In 1982, Hungary beat El Salvador by that score but finished only third in their group behind Belgium and Argentina. This week: what, to the nearest 5,000, was the attendance at the one 1966 World Cup game played at the old White City stadium in London? Answer next Sunday.
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