Playing your Enemy: FIFA World Cup 2010

26 11 2007

This is by far the most ironic preliminary draw in the FIFA World Cup history. BBC News did an amazing job at compiling the list of “enemy” countries which will be facing each other to qualify for the World Cup in South Africa.

You think England and Argentina were bad. Wait until you see these teams play.

Feel free to add any other rivalries or “enemies” in the comments section.

From BBC Sports:

TURKEY v ARMENIA

Turkey and Armenia are neighbours but diplomatic relations have been frozen for more than a decade. Their common border is closed.

The direct dispute is over a matter of history: The deaths of hundreds of thousands of Armenians in eastern Turkey in 1915-17, during the last days of the Ottoman Empire.

Armenia wants those deaths recognised as genocide. Turkey refuses to accept that term, saying the dead were victims of the general turmoil of World War I.

The two countries have never met on the pitch.

CHAD v SUDAN

Chad shares a long border with Sudan’s lawless Darfur region, where some 200,000 people have died and millions have been displaced during a four-year conflict.

Chad’s eastern areas have a similar ethnic make-up to Darfur, and the violence has spilled over the border.

Some 173,000 Chadians have fled their homes and joined the more than 240,000 Sudanese refugees in the camps.

The refugees are also threatened by the diplomatic fallout between Chad and Sudan as the neighbours accuse one another of supporting each other’s rebel groups.

NORTH v SOUTH KOREA

These political rivals fought the 1950-53 Korean War that ended in a truce, not a peace agreement, which means that the sides are still technically at war.

Relations warmed significantly after their first summit in 2000, although reconciliation efforts have been strained by the stand-off over the North’s nuclear weapons programme.

The two Koreas have faced one another several times on the pitch, with South Korea victorious on each occasion – including two World Cup qualifiers.

COLOMBIA v VENEZUELA

A day after the World Cup draw, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez froze bilateral ties with Colombia – its neighbour and second-largest trading partner.

The move followed the decision by Colombian President Alvaro Uribe to end Mr Chavez’s role as a hostage negotiator with Colombia’s Farc rebels.

This is by no means the first time that repercussions of Colombia’s civil war, which began in the 1960s, have spread beyond its 2,200km (1,400-mile) border with Venezuela.

However, the nations’ football teams seem so far unaffected by the diplomatic spats.

FIJI v NEW ZEALAND

New Zealand has imposed sanctions on Fiji’s military regime and their families following a military coup last year that deposed Fiji’s elected government.

Just last month Fifa postponed a World Cup qualifier between the two countries following a visa wrangle involving Fiji’s goalkeeper.

New Zealand denied entry to Simione Tamanisau because of his father-in-law’s links to the coup.





Cameroon striker Eto’o is the face of 2010 world cup

23 11 2007

FIFA World Cup in South Africa has reached a milestone long before the event has even started. It released its official poster for the World Cup where Samuel Eto’o was unveiled as the face of the 2010 World Cup.

etoo.jpg The poster (as shown in the picture) has Eto’o’s head and neck superimposed into the map of Africa. In FIFA president Sepp Blatter’s words, there will be no problem to recognize that it’s Africa and you have the face of one of the most popular and well-known faces of the continent.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter said:

“Portraying a country in the shape of a man heading a ball is a new idea with potent symbolism. For me, football is all about emotion and passion, which is why I was particularly attracted to this poster. It invites the world to join in the celebration of the greatest football event on earth, while highlighting the pride and passion of the African continent and her people. It represents the African dream come true. The South Africans made a good selection for the poster, which will represent their country all the way up to 2010,” said FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter.

Eto’o was only 17 years old when he appeared in the 1998 World Cup in France. The Cameroon team, which currently ranks 24, did not qualify for the last World Cup.





Martina admits testing positive for cocaine

1 11 2007

Martina Hingis, the winner of five Grand Slam singles titles – three Australian Open, one Wimbledon, and one US Open – has retired again after being tested positive for cocaine during this year’s Wimbledon championship. She has claimed innocence in her official statement.

Hingis said:
I only know that if I were to try to hit the ball while in any state of euphoria, it simply wouldn’t work.

martina.jpg