As more than half of the 32 World Cup teams return home, some of those brave slogans on the Hyundai team coaches, selected by online voting, look a little more relevant than others. Cameroon had "The Indomitable Lions are back". Well, back home after three defeats. "Italian Azzurro on African sky" at least did not make any promises about the holders winning a match. Algeria did: "One goal: victory." Alas, it was two defeats and a draw. "Advance Australia" was always more of a dream than a reality. South Korea, who did get through, may have been making a subtle political statement with "The Shouts of Reds, United Republic of Korea". Their northern half, with less desire for any sort of unification thank you, settled for "1966 again! Victory for DPR of Korea!" The USA's message, which was maybe aimed at North Koreans as well, was the pompous: "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Victory!" England proclaim that they are "Playing with Pride and Glory" which some may consider an overstatement. Saddest of all was surely the hopelessly disunited French with "Tous ensemble vers un nouveau rêve bleu". (All together for a new dream in blue.)
Next season already here
Football officially becomes a 12-month sport this week as Champions' League qualifying games begin on Tuesday, 12 days before the World Cup final. Groundhoppers seeking an early start to the season will also have noted a friendly on Friday between Dagenham & Redbridge and Boreham Wood. Did there not used to be a formal agreement that pre-season games were not played until a fortnight before the various leagues began?
Fifa in tizz over fizz
More Fifa paranoia (continued from last week). One of their marketing men, in the meal queue at the Pretoria media centre, apparently told the manager there to zip up her top as it was exposing her – wait for it – Coca-Cola T-shirt. She pointed out they were official tournament sponsors but was brusquely told that it was not a regulation T-shirt and should be kept hidden. An alternative T-shirt now on the market in Cape Town reads: "Fick Fufa". The Dutch foreign minister has called Fifa's handling of the Bavaria beer marketing ambush "absurd" after criminal charges were finally withdrawn against two of the Dutch women involved.
Can you solve our teaser?
Last week's quiz question asked which countries were involved in the World Cup group that produced 32 goals in its four matches? At the famously high-scoring World Cup in Switzerland in 1954, the results from Pool B were: Hungary 9 South Korea 0, West Germany 4 Turkey 1, Hungary 8 West Germany 3 and Turkey 7 South Korea 0. (Oddly, each team only played two of the other three). This week: still on the subject of high scoring, who failed to qualify for the second stage after winning a group match 10-1? Answer next Sunday.