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World Cup Briefs - Daily Mail own goal puts 2018 bid in jeopardy

Published: 18 May 2010 - 07:54:50

What is it with the Daily Mail? Actually, let's not tackle that one too seriously...this is a blog not a bible.

England, a country which our Tory-favoured friend has been telling us for the last month or so is in financial ruin, has the chance to host what experts have claimed will be the most 'profitable World Cup ever', allowing us to swell the national coffers whilst revelling in the feel good factor of hosting a first World Cup in over half a century - the chance to do what we've wanted to do more than anything, apart from hold it aloft again, for the first time since 1966.

So what does the Mail on Sunday decide is the best course of action to take to help the country achieve its goal of welcoming the world in eight year's time? Stitch up Lord Triesman and publish it to the world, severely hampering England's bid despite him highlighting what everybody already knew, 'political tactics' - probably the best way we can kindly describe it - wins World Cups.

Brilliant, well done.

FORGET 2018 – JAPAN ARE LOOKING TO 2022

Japan, the world technological leaders, are looking to galvanise their scientific strength to land the right to stage the 2022 World Cup.

One of their innovations to make it a World Cup like no other include a broadcast system that uses 200 cameras to capture the movement of the ball and every player on the pitch from all angles in an attempt to put the viewer in the middle of the action. And the Japenese tell us they won't be stopping there.

Probably a bit too modern for the Daily Mail.

A KICK IN THE BALLACKS

Bad, bad news for Germany. Monday saw the story that all Germans did not want to hear ahead of this summer's World Cup. Their totemic and inspirational skipper Michael Ballack ruled out of what surely would have been his final World Cup for the Mannschafft.

Ballack, on the wrong end of a hefty challenge from Portsmouth's Kevin-Prince Boateng, who maybe tasted a touch of footballing karma half an hour after his challenge on the German, travelled to Germany to be assessed and found that he will be out for two months - giving him no chance of leading his side this summer.

Ballack is anything but the player we have seen at Chelsea, when he pulls on the white shirt, and adorns an armband formerly won by World Cup legends such as Franz Beckenbauer and Lothar Mattheus.

In 2002, he overcame a booking in the semi-final against co-hosts South Korea that ruled him out of a potential final, by going on to score the only goal of the game just a few minutes later. In 2006, he was the main driving force behind a poor German side that galvanised behind fervent home support to stand on the brink of a second successive final before two late Italian goals put paid to Jurgen Klinsmann's dream in Dortmund, whilst in 2008, he was the stand-out German player as they finished runners-up to Spain.

The problems do not end there for German coach Joachim Loew, who must wait until after this weekend Champions League Final in Madrid before he can begin to prepare his troops with seven of preliminary squad coming from Bayern Munich. The early school of thought is that Bastian Schweinstieger, who has shone in this season's Champions League, will fill the playmaker role vacated by Ballack.

GALLAS IN RACE FOR GALLICS

William Gallas remains hopeful of taking part in this summer's World Cup after Raymond Domenech cut his controversial preliminary World Cup squad down to 24. Bordeaux's Marc Planus is on standby should Gallas fail to overcome the calf injury aggravated in the 2-2 Champions League Quarter-Final draw against Barcelona.

Domenech, who it was announced on Sunday will be replaced by outgoing Bordeaux boss Laurent Blanc after the finals, chose to leave Karim Benzema, Patrick Vieira and Samir Nasri from his World Cup party.

Benzema, who joined Real Madrid in a deal worth more than £30m last summer, was a shock omission and one in which he can rightly feel hugely aggrieved at. Having played second-fiddle to the world's most expensive signing Cristiano Ronaldo and Gonzalo Higuain, who scored 27 goals in 31 League appearances this season, he still managed to find the net more often than Thierry Henry, Sidney Govou and Mathieu Valbuena whilst he has scored as many as Toulouse's Andre-Pierre Gignac despite 16 less League starts this season. Domenech at his best.

COLOURS FOR COMMUNISM

Their reputed brand of dour defensive football will do little to illuminate the world this summer, so North Korea, are hoping that their feet will do the talking. Not by the ability within them but by the colours on show.

In their first World Cup warm-up in Europe this weekend their players donned a collection of bright yellow, green, red, white and mixed colour boots.

Not quite the dull and depressing vision we have of the Communist state. Aren't they still meant to be playing in 1950s boots and balls with laces through the middle of them? Maybe most of us have got Kim's Korea all wrong.

Only Brazil, Portugal and the Ivory Coast stand in their way in the Group Stage.

Meanwhile, their good neighbours and semi-finalists in 2002, South Korea are taking their time whittling down 30 to 23.

Coach Huh Jung-Moo culled four from his squad on Monday after seeing his side beat Ecuador 2-0 in a friendly in Seoul. The only serious injury concern for South Korea is over striker Lee Dong-Gook whose thigh injury could keep him sidelined until the eve of the tournament.

They play further friendlies against Belarus and European Champions Spain before tackling Argentina, Nigeria & Greece when the tournament gets underway.

23 OR 30?

Each country will take 23 players to this summer's finals. Twenty-three men bestowed with the honour of representing their country in the biggest tournament their sport can offer. Twenty-three men seen as the most suitable to bring pride and glory to their nations.

Is it time that more coaches took the example of Dunga and picked 23 from the start, instead of hosting weeks of auditions, nerves and uncertainty by whittling down from 30?

What's wrong with picking your pack and sticking with it? Pick your platoon and drill the troops for as long as possible? Is anything positive achieved by letting down seven men, who stand on the brink of the summer of their dreams, only to pull them up just short of the finish line? Does it do anything positive for players who do make the cut, to see their friends and team-mates have their dreams dashed in-front of them?

Dunga bucked the trend of starting with 30 and finishing with 23 - instead picking his men and naming seven others in reserve. No need for players to be sent away from the hotel, no opportunity for the media to speculate on who goes and who doesn't, every opportunity for the men he believes best capable of delivering glory to understand the mantra. He might be on to something...

READ WORLD CUP BRIEFS EXCLUSIVELY AT FOOTBALL.CO.UK

DSG


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FOOTBALL.CO.UK BLOGGER:andy bishop
Having worked in radio, newspapers, magazines, internet and television I hope to now bring my passion for the game to your computer screens with analysis, comment and tongue-in-cheek humour on all things global in the world of football - from Barcelona to Boca and from Blatter to Berlusconi...enjoy!

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