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World Cup diary - Algeria prepare for war

Published: 18 Jun 2010 - 06:50:26

In preparation for their clash with England today, the Algeria squad have watched 'Battle of Algiers', a film about the struggle against French colonial rule.

Will it be a case of roll your sleeves up lads, or roll out the barrel (sorry, Emile)?

IKAN'T BELIEVE IT

Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas was part of a bizarre post-match interview on Wednesday, as his girlfriend Sara Carbonera, a touchline reporter, asked him "How did you muck it up?"

The shock of the 1-0 defeat to Switzerland left Casillas clearly shaken: "I don't know what to say. I don't know if this defeat will have consequences. The dressing room is fed up."

THURSDAY'S ACTION

- Argentina 4-1 Korea Republic

- Greece 2-1 Nigeria

- Mexico 2-0 France

OLD BOY BLANCO ON THE SCORESHEET

Mexico dramatically beat France last night to leave the French all but eliminated from the World Cup at the group stage.

In a largely one-sided affair at the Peter Mokaba stadium in Polokwane, the first chance Mexico took came about when substitute Javier Hernandez, 22, broke the offside trap to receive a speculative pass from Marquez, and rounded Hugo Lloris before rolling the ball into an empty net.

Pablo Barrera, on as a substitute for Carlos Vela, was chopped down by a ludicrous challenge (78) from supposed central defender Eric Abidal, who only received a yellow card as referee Khalil Al Ghamdi took pity on his feeble attempt at a tackle.

Cuauhtémoc Blanco, at 37 the oldest outfield player at the World Cup, smashed home emphatically to leave El Tri needing only a point from their match versus Uruguay on Tuesday.

THE DIEGO MARADONA SECTION (your daily update)

Diego Maradona yesterday pleaded for protection for his flair players, before watching his team destroy South Korea 4-1.

The Argentina coach was perhaps indulging in a spot of gamesmanship when he stated: "If we are going to see a match when the star players are not going to be mistreated then I think the referees need to be a lot stricter, and if Korea's players do something to Messi or Carlos Tevez then they need to get out the yellow cards, and if it happens a second time, then that's it."

Maradona needn't have worried, as his players actually picked up more bookings than their opponents in a game which saw Gonzalo Higuain hit the first hat-trick of the World Cup.

Maradona used yesterday's post-match press conference to issue an apology to UEFA president Michel Platini, after making disparaging comments about the Frenchman two days previously: "Mr Platini has sent me a letter and I would like to read it to you. He says he has never said what you (reporters) told me he said, so through you I would like to apologise to Mr Platini."

GEKAS BLOWS HIS TRUMPET

Greece striker Theofanis Gekas has put his weight behind the unofficial campaign to ban vuvuzelas from World Cup matches. Gekas believes that they may have affected his own team's performance, a 2-0 loss in their opening game.

"I do think the trumpets should be stopped. They are affecting the players as we cannot communicate properly," said the Greek. The vuvuzelas must have been left on the floor later yesterday at the Free State Stadium, as Greece made an unexpected comeback to beat Nigeria 2-1.

JAPAN READY TO GO DUTCH

It looks like we might be treated to a firework display on Saturday, as Japan midfielder Yuki Abe has asserted that his team will need to 'wind up and frustrate" the Netherlands in the Group E clash at Durban's Moses Mabhida Stadium.

Both sides will be looking for their second victory of the tournament.

HEATING LAMPS TO SAVE PITCH

Torrential rain has forced Serbia and Germany to cancel training sessions at the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium, as match officials try to protect the pitch before tonight’s Group D fixture between the two sides.

FIFA ordered both camps to find alternative training destinations. Heating lamps and a huge tarpaulin have been utilised, in an effort to dry the playing surface.

DSG


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FOOTBALL.CO.UK BLOGGER:Tom Littlefield
Seen as the heir apparent to Jan Molby until an underactive thyroid gland curtailed this youngster’s development, Tom Littlefield will now concentrate on making a “big pitch” (pun) during South Africa 2010. As Barnet’s staunchest Gooner, he is well placed to judge good football. So, while the England team provides your compulsory tournament displeasure, Tom will look to rouse your enthusiasm for the beautiful game (and WAGS) in the oasis of oratory that is his World Cup Diary.

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