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World Cup briefs - Low to wear lucky jumper

Published: 06 Jul 2010 - 14:54:54

His style of play is untypically German and seemingly taken from somewhere else. Now football fashionista Joachim Low has been told to continue wearing the latest item from his designer wardrobe by his players and backroom staff.

Having adorned the same blue cashmere V-neck for his sides' commanding and comprehensive victories over England and Argentina, Low, one of football managements more designer dressers has been ordered to continue in the same clobber.

"I am not superstitious, but the guys on my technical staff have asked me not to wash my famous pullover, commented Low."

After replacing Jurgen Klinsmann as Head Coach after staging the competition in 2006, Low has had the world talking about the 'new Germany', but perhaps it’s his style of the pitch that is making all the difference.

Fifty-Five And Now No-Ones Counting

Unless Luis Suarez goes on to score the goal that wins the Uruguay the World Cup, his quite staggering season will forever be remembered for his part in what will surely be the most dramatic chapter of the 2010 World Cup, when his handball prevented Ghana from shattering the African glass ceiling of achievement in the tournament's history.

Of course, had Asamoah Gyan tucked away Ghana’s golden chance no-one would even be talking about Suarez's actions. Yet, as you will have seen from his celebrations (surely he should have been ushered down the tunnel) his actions saved Uruguay’s World Cup.

I believe that any player would surely have done the same as Suarez in the circumstances to keep their country's heads temporarily above water. The call for him to be banned for longer than one game, which FIFA has rightfully ignored, is wrong.

The crime falls to a punishment of a one-game ban by the letters of the law - anger to his actions should not mean that his stretch increases. Rules cannot change during a tournament to pacify groundswell, but, as second-round Sunday showcased, hopefully those that govern our wonderful game can learn from such situations and it’s misfortune, to seek methods of improving integrity.

Welcome Home

England's players slipped back to Heathrow and then out to the beaches of millionaires row relatively quiet last week. Not the same could be said about the most pressured national side in the world, Brazil. Hounded as they touched back down at Rio de Janeiro International Airport on Sunday, after failing to negate the quarter-finals for a second successive tournament, they were faced with peeved press and seething supporters.

If they found themselves under pressure 6,000 miles from home in South Africa then just wait until 2014 when they host the tournament under enormous expectation. No major World Cup winning nation has failed to win the trophy on their home soil except Brazil.

Dunga's streetwise meets samba selection will be consigned to the graveyard in preparation for the country's most expectant hour. Expect style and sophistication as Brazil set out to show the world that no body lives and plays with more extravagance. The next generation have the ability to make expectation a reality.

If Only We Could Be Like The Germans

And I'm not talking about on the pitch - plenty of others have covered that in enough excess in the last week. On Saturday, as Germany dismantled Diego Maradona's Argentina, 400,000 fans sauntered and squeezed their way down Berlin's 'Fan Mile', made famous from their hosting of the 2006 World Cup, to roar on their side on big screens.

In London, as England were taken to pieces by Joachim Low's side six days earlier, there were no big screens and no communal gathering in place for fear of violence and disorder. It's not only on the football pitch that we need to take a long, hard look at ourselves.

Pleasure For the Purists

For those of us who don't revel in teams intent on parking the bus, tonight's semi-final in Durban, a repeat of the 2008 European Championship Final between Spain and Germany, should be one to sit back and enjoy.

After the semi-final stage, four of the five players who have made the most passes in South Africa are Spanish, Xavi, of course leading the way, alongside team-mates Xabi Alonso, Sergio Busquets and Gerard Pique, showing his importance to the Spanish mantra as the ball-player from the back. The remaining player is Germany's Bastian Schweinsteiger, revelling in his role as midfield move maker, in the absence of Michael Ballack.

Germany have been superb in their last two games, but, after their dismantling of Argentina, the best performance of the finals thus far, it should be remembered that their knockout results have been against sides woefully inept at the back. Expect Germany to allow Spain to play their 'tici taci' game before aiming to pick them off with the devastating effect they have demonstrated in the last 10 days. Although, this time, it might not be so straightforward.

Football's Not Quite The Same The World Over

A group of fans from El Salvador who won a competition run by a South African brewery to attend the World Cup finals have been touring the country lending their support to the Spanish-speaking nations.

Ahead of Uruguay's quarter-final with Ghana on Friday one of them was interviewed by a local reporter and explained why they were choosing to support the South Americans instead of the host continent’s only remaining participant.

"Uruguay is close to us - it's like people in Scotland supporting England at the World Cup."

Try explaining that in a pub in Glasgow.

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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