Join Owen Wyatt for our regular wrap of world sport. This week, it’s a World Cup qualifier special, as we consider the plight of Diego Maradona and the battle for golden tickets for South Africa 2010.
So, once again, England qualify in style. The garages can start stocking up on plastic flags of St George, the breweries can breathe a sigh of relief and the tabloids can start their gradual shift from cautious support to the crescendo of expectation that will accompany Fabio Capello and his squad to South Africa next year.
Michael Owen missed four glorious chances in Manchester United’s 2-0 friendly win over Valencia but the very fact that he was there to miss them signals a real chance of the former Liverpool reviving his career for club and country.
Former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson has described his next challenge as director of football at English League Two (fourth division) club Notts County as his toughest test yet.
The English hooligan problem was at its worst outside Britain, when fans went to international matches abroad. Violence in Argentine football, by contrast, has reached a point in recent years where it is rarely even a confrontation between the hardcore fans of rival teams.