The Highlight Reel: Curse of the Hammers?

First we had the curse of Chelsea, with the Michaels Ballack (Germany) and Essien (Ghana), Jon Obi Mikel (Nigeria) and Jose Bosingwa (Portugal) all pulling out with injury, Didier Drogba breaking his arm, and our own Joe Cole on the bench. And it got worse: Nicolas Anelka has been sent packing by France for an act of rebellion, and John Terry has had his attempted coup foiled before it had ever really begun.

But Highlight Reel asks: is a West Ham curse about to afflict England? First there was Robert Green and his goalkeeping gaffe. Then Valon Behrami was sent off for Switzerland against Chile. And who's about to make their World Cup finals debut tomorrow for England? Hammers defender Matthew Upson. Please keep everything crossed. Except, if you're reading this in the Slovenia camp, the ball.

Sarko blamed for Bleu murder

There is major political fall-out from the abominable failure of Raymond Domenech's side. "The atmosphere that prevails in the French team is one Sarkozy exudes," said Socialist Party honcho Jérôme Cahuzac. "It's all about individualism, egotism, everyone for themselves... the only way to judge human success is the cheque you get at the end of the month". Even centrist leader François Bayrou continued the class war: "The shipwreck of the French team tells us something about the weaknesses of France, of a model society that is based above all on money, which is adulated". Sacré bleu!



Buses rule OK

One of the more extraordinary but less obvious sights of the World Cup has been Jo'burgers coming to grips with public transport. The Rea Vaya bus system that delivered tens of thousands of fans to Brazil's match on Sunday with Ivory Coast at the extraordinary Soccer City stadium was the first time that many middle-class South Africans had seen the inside of a bus. "This is Lekker [Afrikaans meaning great]!" exclaimed one white South African in disbelief. "Public transport in Jo'burg? Mixed public space? Man, you live in the bubble all the time driving from one bubble to the next..."



The name game

Nominative determinism marches proudly on. We've had the pretty-boy head-band-wearing Chile defender Waldo Ponce. We've met the South African striker brought on to introduce an element of the unseen: Surprise Moriri. Now we have the charmingly named Honduras striker, who was brought in for another forward – Carlo Costly, of course! – bringing some vim and vigour to his country's frontline. Why, it's none other than Georgie Welcome.



God help us. No, really

So depressed was the Bishop of Croydon, the Rt Rev Nick Baines, by England's "remarkably aimless" performance against Algeria, he penned two prayers in response. We'll save you the second. Here's the first: "God, who played the cosmos into being, please help England rediscover their legs, their eyes and their hunger: that they might run more clearly, pass more nearly and enjoy the game more dearly. Amen." Amen indeed.

Look – I'm on the big screen!

Portugal's 7-0 victory over North Korea gave Cristiano Ronaldo a chance to indulge his favourite pastime: admiring himself on the big screen. He gazed up at his image during celebrations when team-mates Raul Meireles, Simao, Almeida, Tiago and Liedson all claimed a spot on the list of scorers, but the grin soon started to become a grimace until, phew, Ronaldo himself scored the sixth. There is no "i" in team, but in Portugese, there is in " equipe".

News
Denny Miller in 1959 remake of Tarzan, the Ape Man
people
Arts and Entertainment
Cheryl despairs during the arena auditions
tvX Factor review: Drama as Cheryl and Simon spar over girl band

News
Piers Morgan tells Scots they might not have to suffer living on the same island as him if they vote ‘No’ to Scottish Independence
news
News
i100Exclusive interview with the British analyst who helped expose Bashar al-Assad's use of Sarin gas
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Angel Di Maria celebrates his first goal for Manchester United against QPR
Football4-0 victory is team's first win under new manager Louis van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
art
News
newsIn short, yes
Arts and Entertainment
Rob James-Collier, who plays under-butler Thomas Barrow, admitted to suffering sleepless nights over the Series 5 script
tv'Thomas comes right up to the abyss', says the actor
Arts and Entertainment
Calvin Harris claimed the top spot in this week's single charts
music
Sport
BoxingVideo: The incident happened in the very same ring as Tyson-Holyfield II 17 years ago
News
Groundskeeper Willie has backed Scottish independence in a new video
people
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor poses the question of whether we are every truly alone in 'Listen'
tvReview: Possibly Steven Moffat's most terrifying episode to date
News
i100
Life and Style
Cara Delevigne at the TopShop Unique show during London Fashion Week
fashion
News
The life-sized tribute to Amy Winehouse was designed by Scott Eaton and was erected at the Stables Market in Camden
peopleBut quite what the singer would have made of her new statue...
Sport
England's Andy Sullivan poses with his trophy and an astronaut after winning a trip to space
sport
News
peopleThe actress has agreed to host the Met Gala Ball - but not until 2015
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week
The fall of Rome? Cash-strapped Italy accused of selling its soul to the highest bidder

The fall of Rome?

Italy's fears that corporate-sponsored restoration projects will lead to the Disneyfication of its cultural heritage
Glasgow girl made good

Glasgow girl made good

Kelly Macdonald was a waitress when she made Trainspotting. Now she’s taking Manhattan
Sequins ahoy as Strictly Come Dancing takes to the floor once more

Sequins ahoy as Strictly takes to the floor once more

Judy Murray, Frankie Bridge and co paired with dance partners
Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

Alexander Wang pumps it up at New York Fashion Week
The landscape of my imagination

The landscape of my imagination

Author Kate Mosse on the place that taught her to tell stories