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More points for opening matches, less yawning



The World Cup is under way and with it the traditionally lifeless opening group matches with teams happy to settle for a draw, fearful all could be lost in only the first encounter.

But that could change for ever with one magic swipe. Teams that win their first match in the group phase should be awarded four points for victory compared to the current three, and all but make sure of a spot in the second round. That would give teams a great incentive to play entertaining, attacking football instead of the drab game we saw between Uruguay and France in Group A on Friday. After all this is the World Cup.

World Cup opening matches should not feel like a bad date. You have waited so long for this moment but when it comes it is all you did not want to see. Teams playing safe, scared coaches piling bodies into midfield to avoid a fast break from their opponents and happy to settle for a point. But that is not what the World Cup should be about. You get that week in week out in domestic league matches. Let’s up the ante and see how teams will react to the bigger prize on offer.

PHOTO: Uruguay’s Diego Godin (L) battles for the ball with France’s Thierry Henry during the 2010 World Cup Group A soccer match at the Green Point stadium in Capetown June 11, 2010. REUTERS/Oleg Popov

Maradona no more of a cheat than ‘hard men’



Diego Maradona’s appeal for fair play has had certain sections of the British media sniggering like naughty school boys.

They find it amusing that, 24 years on, the man who scored the so-called “Hand of God” goal at the 1986 World Cup and is now coach of Argentina could himself make such a request. One television reporter from a well-known cable channel openly labelled Maradona a cheat.

Rajevac accused of divided loyalties before Serbia match



Milovan Rajevac has already had to defend himself on several occasions as to the extent of his commitment to Ghana’s cause.

But suggestions that divided loyalties might cloud his commitment to the Black Stars’ opening game of the World Cup seem underhand and divisive.

The new Landon Donovans


SOCCER The following is a guest post by Michael J. Agovino, author of  “The Bookmaker,” who will be blogging about the World Cup for The opinions expressed are his own.

Tomorrow afternoon, a great drama will unfold in Rustenberg, South Africa, one that no matter what happens will be talked about for years to come.

Soccer World Cup – live


Welcome to our live coverage of the World Cup in South Africa. Join us here for live updates and on-the-spot colour from every game and the times inbetween.

from Africa News blog:

Community Blog: Power cut dampens township’s World Cup mood

SOUTH-AFRICANwabisa Ingrid Jamekwana writes from Khayelitsha township on the outskirts of Cape Town on the difficulties of watching the World Cup there.

The excitement is here in the townships too. We have our flags, our caps, our second hand sport shirts. All that is missing are the games.

Our electricity was cut off just a few days ago in what looks as though it was a crackdown on irregular power connections by the power company Eskom. No light. No television.

Community Blog: Via Orlando!


SOCCER-WORLD/CONCERTOrlando in Soweto provided the venue for the first ever FIFA World Cup Kick Off Concert. And what a night it was. This whole week I was soothed to sleep by the sounds of night rehearsals by the artists who were preparing at Orlando Stadium, which is about five minutes away from my home.

People braved the cold Highveld weather….it is June after all….and came in their thousands. Angelique Kidjo, who is a bundle of endless energy, danced around the stage with much zest. John Legend brought the house down with his rendition of “Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes’ “classic “Wake up everybody”. Hugh Masekela’s “Grazing in the grass” added the Kofifi flavour and later local RnB sensation Lira paid tribute to Miriam Makeba with “Pata Pata”.

Community Blog: Street traders get paid

SOCCER-WORLD/Street traders in Port Elizabeth seem to be raking in the benefits of being a host city in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Known as the Friendly City, Port Elizabeth’s street traders said this week they too were enjoying the business boom brought by the tournament.

This comes after Cape Town Street traders were flighted on a TV news channel this week saying they were taking home about R1800 on busy days, selling football paraphernalia.

Will America ever love soccer like Brazilians?


brazilfan2The following is a guest post by Dan Friedman, a former captain of the Cambridge University soccer team, a contributor to the New York Times soccer blog and a qualified New Jersey soccer coach. He is also the Arts and Culture editor for the Jewish Daily Forward. The opinions expressed are his own.

As Africa hosts the biggest sporting tournament the world has ever seen, the world is watching. Huddled around television sets in favelas and townships, villages and suburbs, towns and cities across the globe, billions will tune into FIFA’s World Cup 2010. By whatever name — football, calcio, futbol — soccer truly is the world’s game.

I’m not one to blow my own trumpet…


My vuvuzela is a glorious item – 70 cm of shiny plastic in the colours of the South African flag with the potential to deafen anyone nearby with the “sound of a herd of elephants”.

The minute I handed over my cash to the roadside hawker I was itching to try out my new toy – I hung it round my neck, took a deep breath, drew the trumpet to my lips and prepared to make an almighty racket.