Archive for January, 2006

African Cup of Nations | Never-ending power supply

Conakry, Guinea | With its 3–0 defeat of Tunisia today in the African Cup of Nations, Guinea advances to the final eight as the undefeated winner of Group C. During this surprising run of supremacy, the state-operated power concern, Guinea Electricity, has discovered the importance of maintaining the power grid. Following Guinea’s first-round defeat of South Africa, one man died in […]

London diaries | Looking for football and not finding it

London | In part 1 of our diaries, we stumble down the King’s Road, Chelsea, braving the reckless challenges of shoppers and looking in vain for someone who might have a passing interest in the world game.

World Cup pre-production | Do we really need another gala?

Berlin | The Brandenburg Gate becomes the venue for a pre–World Cup “gala” after FIFA axed earlier plans for a star-studded spectacular. Having seen the production values for the Dec 9 draw in Leipzig (see Dec 6), the decision is probably for the best. But the re-think represents the type of PR misstep that, writ large, offers commentators […]

Africa | Land of DIY goals

Abidjan, Ivory Coast | The Jules Rimet World Cup trophy has been touring Africa, and the Times of London has tagged along. Fortunately, Owen Slot beats his own path through Angola, Ivory Coast, Togo and Ghana—the continent’s new entries in the 2006 finals—for a five-part series, which began Monday in the newspaper’s weekly football supplement, The […]

Supporters | Women welcomed to Prince Abdullah al-Faisal

Jedda, Saudi Arabia | Following evening prayers, Saudi Arabia and Sweden played a friendly match tonight with historic implications: for the first time, and after pressure from Swedish authorities, women were allowed to attend. The normally rigid gender separation in public was relaxed a bit for female Swedish supporters. “They will be allowed to watch the […]

Cinema | Should Spielberg rethink ‘Munich’ title?

Manchester, England | If Steven Spielberg had thought longer about the title for his latest blockbuster—or if he had spent more time in the north of England—he might not have chosen Munich. “[I]n this country,” writes Brian Viner of The Independent, “the word Munich has a prior claim on popular sentiment, relating more than anything to […]

Leadership | Simple square passes, simple striped sweater

Cochabamba, Bolivia | We have read of Bolivia President-elect Evo Morales‘s footballing passions, but until now had not come across a direct account. In 2004, however, Web logger Gabriel Iriarte Rico and friends invited Morales to play during a match in Morales’s central Bolivian power base of Cochabamba. Iriarte Rico recalls, according to a translation from […]

Fashion | Few things look good in orange

Amsterdam | Playing with the historical and footballing animosity between Holland and World Cup hosts Germany, a Dutch company has launched a line of $6 faux-Nazi plastic helmets bearing innocuous slogans. Designed so supporters can tweak Germans with memories of the World War II occupation of the Netherlands, Dutch officials are not amused. “We reject every link […]

Argentina | Parsing Maradona and culture

Buenos Aires | Marcela Mora y Araujo‘s Sunday profile of Diego Maradona introduces the reader to several key concepts in Argentine football culture. The first is picardia criolla, a “Creole cheekiness” with which Argentines spiced the game following its introduction by English sailors and railway workers. “The game is particularly suited to the poor,” she writes, no […]

Music | ‘England 2, Colombia 0′

Matthews, North Carolina | Thistle & Shamrock host Fiona Ritchie paid tribute to the late Kirsty MacColl as well as football-themed lyrics by airing the late singer-songwriter’s “England 2 Colombia 0” in show no. 1180 this past weekend. The tune from the one-time punk rocker, who died in a diving accident in Cozumel in 2000, describes an ill-destined love […]

2006 FIFA World Cupâ„¢ | Iran, sex, security and bad taste

Berlin | On New Year’s Day German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was “skeptical” concerning pleas from some Green Party politicians to ban Iran from the World Cup finals (see Dec 15). Flames of controversy were lit last month when Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made anti-Israel comments and publicly denied the Holocaust. Holocaust denial is a […]

Ghana | Making footballs ‘under the neem tree’

Accra, Ghana | Ghanaian writer Cameron Duodu reflects richly on the details of village football-making in his regular column, “Under the Neem Tree,” in the December New African. We took a cigarette tin into the bush and tapped the sap out of a gum tree called ofuntum. If you scraped off the bark of this tree, […]

Los Alamos | With nuclear arsenal squared away, researchers turn to soccer

Los Alamos, New Mexico | Soccer has been classified as the world’s most competitive sport, at least in statistical analysis covering English football’s top division, Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League, National Football League and National Basketball Association. Analysts representing Los Alamos National Laboratory and Boston University studied results of more than 300,000 games, concluding […]