If this World Cup has yet to really catch, there were high hopes beforehand that these two teams would provide the first really absorbing contest – both are packed with undoubted talent, and are probably battling for a single qualification sport behind Brazil. But with hindsight, this last factor was the critical one and ought to have made us realise that we’d be in for yet another game defined principally by caution. This game always looked likely to be the crunch one for both teams, and if it had come last it might have been a humdinger. Coming first, neither team was willing to take much in the way of risks, apparently happy to leave it to see who could nick a result off Brazil or else rack up the better goal difference against North Korea.
The 2010 FIFA World Cup kicks off in just two weeks today, which is so exciting the hair on my legs keeps on spontaneously erupting into flames. By this time next week – when your correspondent Dotmund (to use his Brazilian footballer nickname) completes his guide to the groups – all the final squads will be announced and we’ll be good to go. This is especially useful for him, as he’s just realised he’s not written the preview for Group H yet. Group G, however, is in the can. Let’s suckle at the teat of knowledge and learn about the fortunes of Brazil, North Korea, Ivory Coast and Portugal.
For many people, major sports tournaments are the only occasion that national anthems are heard. These peculiar tunes have become a genre of their own, transcending the mere hymns that many of them were in first place, and they range from the gloriously uplifting to mournful dirges. The selection of words has, in many countries, brought about national debate that has been all-encompassing. In the case of Spain, it was decided that it would probably be for the best just to not bother having any for the sake of national unity.