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World Cup diary - Messi and Maradona raise the stakes

Published: 30 Jun 2010 - 13:08:04

Argentina forward Lionel Messi has agreed a 'double or quits' bet with coach Diego Maradona that the diminutive playmaker scores against quarter-final opponents Germany on Saturday.

The initial bet was struck before Messi's previous game against Mexico, but has now been doubled. The stake remains undisclosed, although a haircut and shave deal might prove attractive to the grizzly Maradona.

WORLD CUP TROPHY THEFT

Seven replicas of the FIFA World Cup trophy were stolen on Sunday, after a burglary at FIFA's offices in Johannesburg.

"We know there was a burglary at the FIFA offices. Seven replicas of the World Cup were stolen and several sweaters. Police are looking into it," said national police chief Bheki Cele.

Whether thieves are offering a free sweater with each World Cup trophy purchased remains to be seen.

URUGUAY KEEP THE AWAY FIRES BURNING

Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez may have stumbled upon the solution to England's repeated shortcomings at international level.

He said: "Most of the (Uruguay) squad joined the national squad when they were still playing in Uruguay at around 22 years of age. Four years later, almost all of them are playing at important clubs overseas and they are capitalising on that experience of playing high-level football abroad."

With no members of the England World Cup squad ever plying their trade abroad to gain the required continental experience, it is perhaps no coincidence that they meet an early exit on a regular basis.

HIDDINK BATTERS BLATTER

Outspoken Turkey coach Guus Hiddink believes FIFA president Sepp Blatter should make goal-line technology compulsory, or fall on his sword.

The Dutchman said "Sepp Blatter should announce tomorrow that video replays will be implemented, or he needs to resign."

It sounds like Guus is after somebody's job...

BROWN DIGS THE KNIFE IN

Former Scotland boss Craig Brown believes Scotland would have at least matched England's record at this summer's World Cup finals.

The former Scotland boss said: "Having seen the England games, I genuinely believe had Scotland been there, we would have done at least as well with the team we have at the moment and the manager we have."

We really are a laughing stock. With the majority of Scotland's international players plying their trade in the SPL, Brown's claims are more of an insult to the English than a measure of Scotland's ability.


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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