Monday, June 14, 2010
06/14/2010 All the latest from South Africa

• Read Daniel Taylor's report of Germany 4-0 Australia
• Re-live all the action with our hypnotic Twitter replay
• Dowload the latest edition of World Cup Daily
• Paul Hayward's on what we learned this weekend
• Get the latest reaction from our Fans' Network

11.14am: Ugly scenes at the Moses Mabhida Stadium last night after Germany's win over Australia. Stadium security staff protesting over low wages had rubber bullets fired at them by riot police, who also used tear gas to break up the protest. PB

11.02am: Kevin McCarra in South Africa has this to say: "Just picked up my press ticket for New Zealand v Slovakia tomorrow. The staff produced it in a nanosecond. I don't think there was a long list of journos to explore. How many paying spectators are going to be present, considering that these are countries with very small populations whose fans are unlikely to have travelled in numbers in any case?

"Actually, Slovakia's population (5.5m) and New Zealand's (4.3m) aren't that different from Scotland's. Why can't my lot qualify any more goddamit!

"On another matter, please, no more about the ball! If the topic has to be covered there should be a piece on complaints about previous balls at World Cups. In the end, both teams use it and the more skilful one has little trouble. Thinks of Germany last night."

10.45am: OK, that's it for me for now. I'm off to the North Korea press conference, which kicks off at 2pm, and I'll be live blogging from that dongle permitting. Apologies for the spareness of the updates, by the way, the internet has been more scratchy than a week of chickenpox. My colleagues Paolo Bandini and Gregg Roughley will be keeping things ticking along until then.

10.35am: More on the news that Wayne Rooney has missed training with an ankle injury. However, as my colleague Dominic Fifield reports: "The injury is not believed to be too serious and Rooney is expected to start in England's second match of the tournament against Algeria on Friday, but, nonetheless, his absence from training comes at a particularly precarious time for Fabio Capello's team."

10.30am Meanwhile, here's some video on how England and USA fans reacted to Saturday's 1-1 draw.

10.20am: Meanwhile below the line Silencer makes an interesting point about the Jabulani ball:

"While the apparent swerve of the Jabulani has been brought up in every match so far, I haven't seen this yet - the ball seems to fly very true and not swerve from side to side very much at all. Weirdly, one difference seems to be extra bounce; In the opening game especially, Mexico played long crossfield passes and the ball took off, bouncing over their players heads in a really unexpected way, and at other times (Nigeria's chance vs Italy, for example) it doesn't seem to come down very well.

The other is that the ball just seems to take off when struck - almost every free kick so far has been into row Z, crosses have often been overhit (especially in Algeria/Slovenia - almost every cross sailed over the penalty area) and even goalies seem to be getting more
distance on their kicks. Have others noticed this too? All the comments about the ball have focused on the swerve (which I can't see at all, and in fact believe it's swerving less than usual), so I'm wondering if this is all in my head ..."

I think there are a couple of factors at play here: first, many matches are at altitude, so the ball will fly further through the air. Second, yesterday's Algeria v Slovenia match was on semi-artificial turf which the players in the mixed zone afterwards claimed made the ball more bouncy/harder to control. They also weren't helped by only having an hour to practice on the pitch on the day before the game. I also think it's ridiculous, whatever the pros and cons of the Jabulani, to bring it in just before the World Cup. Adidas should do it at least a season before so players can get used to it.

10.15am: Interesting stat from Opta: five of the last six meetings between the Netherlands and Denmark have ended in a draw.

10.05am: So what of Italy v Paraguay tonight? According to the bookies, Italy are strong favourites (about 5-4) to win but Paraguay shouldn't be underestimated. Although they're without Salvador Cabanas, who was shot in the head in Mexico bar at the turn of the year, they have a decent front line supported by Christian Riveros in midfield. Interestingly - well, to me anyway - 72% of their games in qualifying ended in less than 2.5 goals, which suggests they don't give much away at the back. And with Italy likely to have Alberto Gilardino leading the line it could be another low-scoring game.

9.50am Speaking of Italy, one of the Guardian Fans' Network members Rocco Cammisola considers how the Azzurri will get on without Andrea Pirlo (answer probably not too badly at all). Apparently Genaro Guttuso has an outside chance of taking his place in the starting line-up tonight - and I, for one, hope he does. Because four years ago, at about 1am in the Olympic Stadium mixed zone following Italy's World Cup victory over France, he came out clutching the trophy and very graciously let the few journalists speaking to him hold it. (It was surprisingly heavy - and yes, I did manage to resist the urge to lift it high above my head. But only just).

9.45am: Meanwhile on our sportblog Richard Williams reckons Fabio Capello has entered the business end of the World Cup with plenty of questions to answer:

"What England get for their six million quid a year, it seems, is a manager who brings two and a half years of preparation to a climax by committing the series of errors that led to a familiar sense of deflation as their opening match against the USA unwound to its conclusion. After appearing virtually bomb-proof throughout the qualifying campaign, Fabio Capello has entered the business end of the World Cup looking remarkably fallible."

I agree with the criticism of England on Saturday; they were woeful. But several teams have made sluggish starts to the World Cup - France and Italy in 2006, Italy in 1994, Argentina in 1990, Italy in 1982 all spring to mind - and recovered, so you never know ...

9.35am: More news from Dominic Fifield in the England camp: Rooney took a kick on his ankle on Saturday. Ledley being assessed on a "daily basis".

9.30am: The second game of the day is Cameroon v Japan and that's a difficult one to call. Neither side impressed in their warm-up matches - Cameroon drew two and lost two, Japan won just won match in four - but the Cameroons are favourites, partly because they have the stronger team and partly because Japan have never won a World Cup match outside Asia. Japan's coach Takeshi Okada has claimed his side can make the semi-finals; I think they'll do well to win a match.

9.20am This tweet from my colleague Dominic Fifield: England putting Jamie Carragher up today. Potentially now a key World Cup player in King's anticipated absence. May talk about Liverpool, too

9.15am Below the line, Chaval asks: "Sean, I'm of a mind to back the plucky Danish resistance to hang on for a draw against a languid Dutch side today, at odds not too shy of 3-1. How safe is my investment?" I don't think that's the worst bet in the world. Remember the excellent Dutch side in 1998 started their World Cup campaign with a nil-nil draw against Belgium, and the perceived chances of a draw today (just under 30% according to the odds) look fair to me.

9.10am: So, to today's matches, starting with Holland v Denmark. Certainly on form alone, the Dutch are rightly one of the five or six favourites for the World Cup - they had a 100% record in qualifying, have beaten some decent teams in the warm-up and have a forward line of Arjen Robben - when fit - Wesley Sneijder and Robin Van Persie, with Rafael van der Vaart, Dirk Kuyt and Hamburg winger Ejero Elia also able to come in. But can you trust their defence? Joris Mathijsen and Johnny Heitinga are not the strongest centre-backs in this tournament, while 35-year-old Giovianni van Bronckhorst looks like he wlll be plugging away at left back. They may prove to be the European Argentina; great going forward but susceptible to a well-organised and defensively well prepared side. Could that side be Denmark, who they play today? In Danes' favour, they topped perhaps the toughest European qualifying group ahead of Portugal and Sweden - but on paper they look ordinary.

9am: Sean again. Elsewhere in the news it's no surprise to hear that Ledley King is likely to miss the rest of the World Cup with a torn
abductor muscle - or that the English press pack is so divided over
their performance against the US. To quote from Paul Doyle's paper

The [Daily Express] chief sports writer, John Dillon, calls for the nation not to lose its head over the Three Lions' failure to dismantle the USA, soberly commenting: "There is a craven and pathetic overreaction mirroring precisely the overwrought frenzy of hype and unfounded expectation which comes beforehand. It makes us appear a land of children. It would be no surprise if someone suggested Fabio Capello should base his decision on whether or not to drop [Robert] Green on a Britain's Got Talent-style telephone poll. It is the place celebrity culture has been carrying us to for some time." A lucid voice there, you must agree. But turn the page and there's Dillon's editor, Bill Bradshaw, wailing that "Fabio Capello today has to show he is worth his £6m salary by bringing some sanity to the Rustenberg madhouse." Madhouse? A craven and pathetic overreaction, surely.

8.59am: Apologies - Sean is having some technical difficulties with his internet connection in South Africa. He will be back in shortly. In the meantime, here's today's Paper View from Paul Doyle - who found the English press to be every bit as disjointed as their team. Paolo Bandini

8.30am: For what it's worth, I'm not so opposed to them as every journalist I meet seems to be - one British tabloid hack, who shall remain nameless, has even bought a £250 pair of Bose noise-reduction headphones which he reckons "is the best investment he has ever made" - and I guess they at least give drab games an atmosphere. However it's a dominant, perhaps even bullying, noise that blocks out everything else: on Saturday, for instane, I was at Argentina v Nigeria and I couldn't hear the 8,000 Argentine fans at all. Yesterday, towards the end of the Slovenia v Algeria, the vuvuzelas suddenly stopped and there was a soulful rendition of 'Shosholoza' - the South African workers' theme song - which was a millions times more tuneful and beautiful than the swarm-of-bees sound the vuvuzelas produce.

8.20am: So what do you make of the news that Danny Jordaan says he will ban vuvuzelas if "there are grounds to do so?" Given that they divide opinion so violently it's perhaps not a surprise that the Citizen in South Africa is reporting that shopkeepers in Cape Town are running out of 'vuvu-stopper' earplugs. The newspaper quotes one shopkeeper who says:

I could have sold 300 pairs of earplugs yesterday if I'd had the stock, and the same today, but I've only got 200 pairs and that's just about finished. We can't keep up. I've ordered 1,000 more.

The paper adds that the earplugs, marketed as the 'Vuvu-Stop', have a label on the back of the packet which reads: 'Highly effective noise reduction. Uses include soccer, rugby, or for couch potatoes to block out your wife's moaning.'

Welcome to South Africa, the land political correctness forgot.

Welcome to day four of the's daily live World Cup blog, wherever you are in the world ... Our hope is that this blog will provide all of the following: breaking news, predictions, pontifications, colour from our 13-strong team in South Africa, plus lots of pointing outwards; to your comments below the line, to the best things we've seen on the web, to various World Cup randomania.

Our plan is to update the blog from 8am-6pm (9am-6pm at weekends), however the posts will come faster - and, when I'm in charge, possibly thicker too - between 8am until around midday, when our separate minute-by-minute reports will kick-in. As there's no point in duplication from that point on, we'll post the best bits of the minute-by-minutes, and bring you updates from our writers in South Africa and fans' networks members across the globe.

Sean Ingle ? Guardian News & Media Limited 2010 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

Greeny NEWS


Blog Archive