Friday, March 24, 2006

World Cup News - March 24th

In case you were wondering, there will be a strong police/military presence in Germany doing the World Cup. Although terrorism is a fear, the German's think hooligans and hard right wing neo-Nazis are a bigger problem. That idea got a boost this week when an Italian member of such a group promised a "Muslim Massacre."

He said, "We will all be in Germany and there will be Turks, Algerians and Tunisians. They are Islamic terrorists…We will attack them. They are all enemies that need to be eliminated, just like the police." So they condemn all people of a certain religion or nationality for the actions of a few and promise to make it right by using the exact same actions of the few that they say are so horrible. These people really are something.

German officials say they are ready for just such attacks. However, a few people are worried about what kind of lasting effect having a strong police presence might have. The fact that uniformed German police will be on UK soil to identify 'potential troublemakers' who plan on traveling to the tournament this June has caused a few questions to be raised.

But enough about large-scale violence and police states, let's enjoy the show.

Stop me if you have heard this before, but Dutch fans are pissed off that they only get 8% of tickets to World Cup matches. 180,000 fans put in for the 18,000 tickets.

By the way, if you are buying a ticket from someone else, you will need to register the transfer through the World Cup ticket portal. This portal will open on Monday (March 27). However, FIFA will only accept 7 reason for a transfer. They are:

· Transfer within the family or a legally recognized cohabitation
· Illness of the purchaser/visitor
· Purchaser/visitor cannot obtain a visa for Germany
· Purchaser/visitor is subject to a ban on travelling
· Act of God (e.g. political unrest, epidemic, natural disaster)
· Death (of the purchaser/visitor or in the family of the purchaser/visitor)
· Other case of hardship

If you can't get tickets to the 12 venues, perhaps you will want to travel to the new 13th venue. Adidas will construct a mini-World Cup stadium in the heart of Berlin where international football fans can watch their national teams on multiple giant-sized video screens. The mini-stadium will hold up to 10,000 people.

By the way, if you were in China, you could watch the World Cup for free on broadband.

Wayne Rooney says that England will not accept anything except total victory in Germany. David Beckham says he does not pick the English national squad and that fans should expect a lot from the team. Chris Kirkland's dream of being England's keeper feel apart when he broke his left index finger during practice yesterday. He will be out for 6-weeks.

Francesco Totti is recovering well from his injury and is on track to be ready to play for Italy by June.

Ruud van Nistelrooy is worried that he might not make the Holland squad after his falling out with Manchester United.

Either Ronaldinho or Ronaldo is the key to Brazil's success this summer.

Serbia and Montenegro's hopes might just rest on Nemanja Vidic and Goran Gavrancic. The team's manager said, "They are both terrific, among the best defenders in the world." Being in a group with Argentina, the Netherlands and Ivory Coast, defense will be a very needed thing.

The Ivory Coast will play Switzerland, Chile and Slovenia in friendlies leading up to Germany, while Ghana will take on Turkey and Jamaica. By the way, Ghana recently called off a match against Iran because many of the players would not be available.

If you are afraid of getting lost in Germany, GPS navigation company Keomo has announced a free service that will allow fans to find the stadiums they are looking for.

If you think that World Cup results have some big impact on international business, you will want Italy to win the trophy this year. "The Italian economy is hampered by an inflexible labor market and deteriorating competitiveness,'' said Charles Kalshoven, an Amsterdam-based economist at the bank. "An Italian victory would boost consumer and producer confidence and thus lead to more spending and investment.''

Finally, the Houston Chronicle has a good general piece on what the '06 cup looks like for America. Maybe pass this one around to your non-hardcore soccer buddies.

77 days till kickoff...


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