The Highlight Reel: Ghost goal ref is a no-show

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The Independent Football

Yesterday was open day for the referees. So who should be absent but Jorge Larrionda, the official who failed to give Lampard his "goal", and the Italian delegation responsible for Carlos Tevez's offside effort. Larrionda passed through Bloemfontein Airport unnoticed.

Hernandez puts foot down

Fifa has officially announced that Mexican striker Javier Hernandez is the fastest player at this tournament, with a top speed of 19.97mph. That compares with Usain Bolt's average speed of 23mph when running 100m in 9.58sec. A few other players' official speeds have also been released by Fifa*: Mesut Ozil (18mph), Gareth Barry (12mph), Matthew Upson (2mph).

* not true, Fifa left it at Hernandez

Theft recalls Johnson's heist

Seven replica World Cups have been stolen from Fifa headquarters in Johannesburg – suspects unknown. But this column thinks it impolite not to recall that Glen Johnson tried to steal a toilet seat and other bathroom fittings from a Dartford B&Q, in 2007. Maybe he knew it was as close to a World Cup as he would get?

Iran enjoys Satan's demise

Ignore the pundits – England, France and the US went out early because of their war against Iran and its ("civil") nuclear ambitions. Berating "those countries which played a key role in imposing new sanctions against Iran", Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said, "Whatever we witness today in the international political arena has been identically manifested in the 19th tournament of the World Cup." The US was of course the "Great Satan", according to the late Grand Ayatollah Khomeini, a known football nut. Iranians love football, but alas didn't qualify. What's Farsi for sour grapes?

Octopus backs the Germans

You remember Paul, the oracle. Two years old, born in England but living in Germany. He predicted 80 per cent of German results in Euro 2008 correctly, and was right on every result so far in South Africa, including the loss to Serbia. After agonising for an hour, Paul's decided Germany will beat Argentina. Paul is an octopus. He makes these choices by putting a tentacle over a glass draped in a national flag, containing a mussel.

Italy get revenge on England

Sour grapes cont'd. Italian paper Il Giornale screams: "The English insulted us after our defeat by Slovakia. Now they deserve the same treatment. They were idiots and idiots they remain."

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