Something For The Weekend: 30/07/2011

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The Independent Online

It's squeaky-bum time for Vettel

For the first time in over a year, the momentum is against Sebastian Vettel.

The impermeably cool young German could manage only a fourth-placed finish on home turf last weekend. It was his first failure to make the podium in 12 grands prix. The outline of his rival Mark Webber must now be clear in his mirror, even with a 77-point cushion. But should he stumble again, in Budapest this weekend, and across the remaining races, it would be a collapse of nerve among the most dramatic in sport. Nothing that the South African cricket team has managed could match it, nor even the failures of the All Blacks to win a World Cup since 1987. Rather, the pressure on Vettel this weekend is to avoid a spiral which would embarrass the worst of chokers – Arsenal FC.

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The best way to silence critics is to give them what they want. So Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates, playing for the Carling Black Label Cup today, have allowed their fans to pick their teams. In the South African equivalent of the Community Shield, supporters can choose the team by text message. They might have hoped that, for this one game, they would keep everyone happy. Stripped of any legitimate grievance, the fans would have no choice but to get behind the team as it is, rather than any selection that might have been. But you cannot keep everyone happy in football, not even in the Carling Black Label Cup. "I don't like this format," said the emasculated Chiefs coach, Vladimir Vermezovic. "I'm definitely not the coach for this game."

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