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World Cup news & notes

*FIFA, in top form, quickly distanced itself from the incident at the Nigeria-North Korea friendly that injured more than a dozen people.

"FIFA and the [organizing committee] would like to reiterate that this friendly match has no relation whatsoever with the operational organization of the World Cup, for which we remain fully confident. Contrary to some media reports, FIFA had nothing to do with the ticketing of this game."

*From the local papers:

The cost to build and refurbish the World Cup stadiums in South Africa was 98 percent higher than estimated four years ago and reached $2.2 billion. ... Speculation has surfaced that SA President Jacob Zuma will take a fourth wife after the World Cup. ... Nigerian players are cheap tippers, workers at their hotel say. ... As part of its hotel contract, Paraguay requested caramel ice cream and a magician. ... Sky TV commissioned a perfume called Eau de Stade, which has the scent of cut grass, braai (South African bbq), Cape Town sea breeze and a leather ball. ... Benni McCarthy and a second South African player were not included on the final roster, in part, because they sneaked women into the team hotel at 4 a.m. late last week.

*Not in the papers but scandalous nonetheless: While enjoying a glass of Goats Do Roam with colleague Liz Clarke and others, I learned the Zulu word to make a toast: "Sisonke!" -- which means "togetherness."

By Steve Goff  |  June 6, 2010; 3:49 PM ET
Categories:  2010 World Cup , FIFA , South Africa  | Tags: FIFA, South Africa, World Cup  
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Next: Monday kickaround

Comments

I'm very much enjoying living vicariously thru you Mr Goff.
Keep up the good work.

Posted by: marksman37 | June 6, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Excellent work, Goff and Co. I am so not getting much work done next week.You guys are making us feel the energy. Thank you.

Very professional Benny McCarthy, didn't you learn from a certain Mr. Cole about sneaking the ladies into camp?

Posted by: Kosh2 | June 6, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Now here's a World Cup fun fact, the Netherlands and Slovakia are the only two teams in the World Cup that are playing two games during the earliest time slot (2:00 pm South African time / 7:30 am EST). After the group stages, the earliest games are at 4:00 pm (10:00 am EST).

Too bad for those West Coast Dutch fans.

Posted by: diego_r | June 6, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

After a little reflection, here are my top 6 games for the group stages:

6. South Africa / France
Tuesday, June 22 - 10:00 am
Both teams could be fighting for the spot in the top two. This game could very well determine whether South Africa is the first host nation not to advance past the group stage.

5. Argentina / Nigeria
Saturday, June 12 - 10:00 am
The second day of the tournament is going to be a doozy. The Diego Maradona train wreck begins.

4. Cameroon / Netherlands
Thursday, June 24 - 2:30 pm
With Ghana and the Ivory Coast losing key players (Essien and Drogba respectiely), perhaps Cameroon will become a surprise African team from this tournament.

3. Portugal / Brazil
Friday, June 25 - 10:00 am
Battle of the two Portugeese giants. Probably would be #1 but if Brazil has already wrapped up first place in the group then the match won't be nearly as exciting.

2. South Africa / Mexico
Friday, June 11 - 10:00 am
First match of the tournament. First World Cup finals match on African soil. Even better, first through fourth place in Group A are completely up for grabs.

1. England / USA
Saturday, June 12 - 2:30 pm
I bet this will be the most-watched soccer game in US history. Couldn't be better from a marketing stand point: second day of the World Cup, latest game in the day, on a Saturday.

Posted by: diego_r | June 6, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Okay - after thinking about it some more, since North Korea will probably lose all of its games, there is little chance Brazil could technically wrap up first place by the last day of group play. However, my rankings remain the same.

Enough procrastinating - got to go back to studying factor analysis!

Posted by: diego_r | June 6, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Is the Paraguay team made up of 10-year-old boys?

Posted by: ldmay | June 6, 2010 5:27 PM | Report abuse

maybe they just want to learn the Magician's Secrets but don't get Fox.

Posted by: fedssocr | June 6, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and this from a British blog I was reading: "Portugal are a half and half team – could be amazing if the show ponies dressage well" So, add that to the pear-shaped pudding file.

Posted by: ldmay | June 6, 2010 6:04 PM | Report abuse

So the US/England game will be on ABC? Is anyone else worried about this match being interrupted by commercial breaks?

Posted by: DadRyan | June 6, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Does Steinberg recommend Goat cheese with the Goats Do Roam?

I'm at the stage in my life where i pick my wines by label amusement. This vintner has been on my list...

Posted by: JkR- | June 6, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Oh, Sr. Goff,
You are in S. Africa drinking a cute-labeled wine. Why not come out to Colorado to drink a Coors Light? Please, for all of us Wine Geeks, try Mulderbosch, Muratie, Meerlust, or Simonsig. And when in Colorado, I'll buy you a great microbrewery beer, just ask.

Posted by: jojosbo | June 6, 2010 6:46 PM | Report abuse

So the US/England game will be on ABC? Is anyone else worried about this match being interrupted by commercial breaks?

Posted by: DadRyan | June 6, 2010 6:19 PM
__________________________________________

Selected matches have been shown on ABC during past World Cups, and I don't recall any commercial breaks during the run of play.

Posted by: universityandpark | June 6, 2010 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Interesting NPR piece about strategies for taking (and defending against) penalties:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=127495657

Posted by: universityandpark | June 6, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse

McCarthy and teammate are kicked off for bringing women to the hotel, yet Zuma may take a 4th wife. Cultural inconsistency.

Does Eau de Stade also smell like sweat, urine, and vomit?

Sequel: Men Who Stare At Goats do Roam. Psychic commandos go on a trip to South Africa's wineries where they meet women and disparage Merlot.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 6, 2010 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Did DadRyan time travel from 1993 or something?

Posted by: EricB1 | June 6, 2010 7:02 PM | Report abuse

seems more likely that Benni McCarthy would get caught sneaking chocolate bars into the team hotel after hours like at fat kids camp.

Posted by: dimesmakedollars | June 6, 2010 7:03 PM | Report abuse

So the US/England game will be on ABC? Is anyone else worried about this match being interrupted by commercial breaks?

Posted by: DadRyan | June 6, 2010 6:19 PM

-------

I was thinking "Which president will die?" or "Which country will invade whom?" to disturb us in progress!

Posted by: ZidVicious | June 6, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Did DadRyan time travel from 1993 or something?
Posted by: EricB1
=================

Dude's having flashbacks.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 6, 2010 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Dude I couldn't have cared less about anything soccer related in 1993 other than some of the hotties on my high school's team.
I may be old, and I may talk a lot of trash, but I've really only been paying attention about 4 years.

Posted by: DadRyan | June 6, 2010 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Well, a little longer than 4 years, and I guess calling myself old isn't exactly going to convince most of you ol' Fogey's :)

Posted by: DadRyan | June 6, 2010 9:03 PM | Report abuse

DadRyan... your old to me. I graduated high school in 2005!

Posted by: grubbsbl | June 6, 2010 9:30 PM | Report abuse

I thought my wine comment would mark me as old! I still remember Jim McKay yelling "touchdown" after one goal in 1986. We've come a long way, baby.

Posted by: jojosbo | June 6, 2010 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: universityandpark | June 6, 2010 11:08 PM | Report abuse

Old? I had to walk five miles, uphill and in the snow, to watch the 1974 WC on a black and white TV. On the way back homw, I had to look out for velociraptors.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 7, 2010 7:33 AM | Report abuse

"Does Eau de Stade also smell like sweat, urine, and vomit?"

No, you're thinking of Eau de RFK.

Posted by: Senor_Funk | June 7, 2010 7:53 AM | Report abuse

DadRyan... your old to me. I graduated high school in 2005!

Posted by: grubbsbl

We can see that you did well in your English classes.

Posted by: Reignking | June 7, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

DadRyan... your old to me. I graduated high school in 2005!

Posted by: grubbsbl

We can see that you did well in your English classes.

Posted by: Reignking

Duuude, I didn't even notice that...:)

Posted by: DadRyan | June 7, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

SA wine recommendation: Rust en Vrede. Had a bottle of their Merlot in the Netherlands recently, and it was very nice.

DadRyan: I bet I'm older than you are, but have been following soccer only a few years longer. My oldest child is 20, so I was introduced to it about 16 years ago and just become a serious fan in the past 6-7 years when I also started playing. We've all come a long way.

Posted by: ldmay | June 7, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

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