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Ryan’s England

On how far England can make it in the competition: The final! (if we don’t have to face any penalty shootouts =P)

On which team/player will excel in the competition: Teams: England, Spain, Brazil, the Netherlands.

Players: Wayne Rooney, Lionel Messi, David Villa, Ji-Sung Park.

On England’s Main Man: Wayne Rooney. He’s one of the best strikers in the world, unstoppable. Rooney’s a real contender for the golden boot

On the Second Favorites: Spain and Brazil are always a good team to watch and any team which has Manchester United players on it. And this year Bafana Bafana as they’re the local team. I hope to see them do South Africa proud.

Yesteryears: Thrashing Croatia 5-1 at Wembley to secured qualification for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Perfect revenge for knocking us out of Euro 2008 contention! The World Cup for England almost always ends in heartbreak. I’m praying this year will be different.

On a Personal Note

The football addict: I love football! Season ticket holder for Manchester United – I follow them all over the country and make my voice heard. This World Cup I won’t miss a game.

Celebration time! Not really. Just jump up and cheer haha.

Role of Football In Africa: It seems to have brought the whole continent of Africa together as one.

Words of Wisdom for the team: Give it all you’ve got. Make England proud!

 * The interview has been taken prior to the World Cup and hence may not reflect the current happenings in the tournament 


Justin’s North Korea

Though we may not know much about North Korea we can certainly say that they are a team with potential. Their performance against Brazil was remarkable and though they did not have a good game against Portugal lets not underestimate them against Côte d’Ivoire. We interviewed Justin Boes who took the time to tell us a little more about North Korea and the World Cup.

On how far North Korea can make it in the competition: If they finish first in the group, then I expect them to reach at least the quarter finals or maybe even the semi-finals. If they end second and play Spain in the first knock-out stage things might turn out a bit more difficult.

On which team/player will excel in the competition: Korea DPR will do especially well I think, they are the underdogs and people underestimate them like they did in 1966. The consequence was that Italy was defeated 1-0! I also expect New Zealand to do pretty good; they defeated Serbia in a friendly match prior to the World Cup.

On North Korea’s Main Man: Watch out for the ‘Asian Wayne Rooney’ – Jong Tae-Se! He is a key player, a very strong striker who is certainly going to be one of the most valuable players of the tournament. He scored two goals in the match against Greece in preparation of the World Cup!

On the Second Favorites: Holland, technical and superb strikers!


World Cup 1966: They did great at the 1966 World Cup and lost unfortunately from an objective point of view to Portugal. That was a pity!

On a Personal Note

The football addict: I categories myself as a pure addict! I live near the Utrecht stadium, play football myself and try to watch as many matches as possible. This World Cup, I will watch all the matches, take days off or be ‘sick’ and watch it with fellow Korea DPR supporters. The World Cup is why I like football and football made my life, it influences everything. The jobs I choose the holidays I plan and friends I have. What would be left without football?

Celebration time! I would love to send a video along, if I only had one. What we normally do is take of our shirts, start running through the park and in the summer time jump into the lake! Have to love it!

Role of Football In Africa: I do not think the World Cup has changed South Africa that much, it has made the rich richer and the poor poorer…I think it is going to socioeconomically backfire!

Words of Wisdom for the team: Think about this chance, think about each other and think about the final. Do it for the people and enjoy!

* The interview has been taken prior to the World Cup and hence may not reflect the current happenings in the tournament.

Karmen’s Slovenia

When you look at Group C the countries that grab your attention are England and USA. Slovenia and Algeria were not really given that much attention. If you look at the table, you will see Slovenia sitting at the top with 4 points, something not a lot of people expected.

Now for those of you who do not know much about Slovenia here’s a little trivia. They previously played for the Yugoslavia national football team. It was only after the split of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1991 that they played their first game which was in 1992. This is only their second World Cup. Prior to this they played in the 2002 FIFA World Cup but were eliminated in the group stages. They are currently 25th on the FIFA world ranking.

Karmen Kutin gives us her view of Slovenia and the World Cup.

On how far Slovenia can make it in the competition: I don’t know, If we will play good football and have a little luck, we can come up to the quarterfinals…if not, we won’t be too disappointed, because the mere fact, that we have come to the World Cup is a great success for Slovenia!

On which team/player will excel in the competition: England, Portugal, Argentina, Netherlands, France, Spain… these are all strong, quality teams. In my opinion, there are no favorites; all of them can surprise us! (so true) As far as the players are concerned… all of them are good in some way, but I think Lionel Messi will be brilliant.

On Slovenia’s Main Man: I will mention a few of them: Novakovič Milivoje, Koren Robert, Dedič Zlatko, Birsa Valter, Komac Andrej….. but every single player in our team is good! And together they are a great team. They have a strong heart and a desire to succeed! These boys are our pride and hope and we are always with them!

On the Second Favorites: Besides the Slovenian team I enjoy watching Netherlands, Portugal and England play…of course there are also other interesting matches, but when Slovenia lose, my favorites would definitely be Netherlands. Regarding players, my favorite player is Steven Gerard.

Yesteryears This is Slovenia’s second World Cup so there is not much to say but I remember the big finale between Italy and France in 2006, when Italy won. There were a lot of happy, sad, funny and shocking moments… we laughed, cried and cheered… football is a game where everything can happen. Of course, the happiest recently event is victory over Russia…it was a holiday for everybody in Slovenia, we were all celebrating!

On a Personal Note

The football addict: For me, football is the best game ever! I like to watch, play and discuss it. I would really love to go to South Africa and support my team, but it is too expensive for me, so unfortunately, I will had to stay at home and watch it on TV… Waiting for FIFA World Cup 2010 was long, exciting and nervous…we had to go through qualification and we were in a very tough group, and therefore the last win against Russia was even sweeter. We have demonstrated our ability and our heart and that’s why we deserved to go to South Africa!

Superstitious? No, I’m not superstitious when it comes to the game… all I have is a Slovenian flag or scarf around my neck, because I think it is necessarily… 🙂

Celebration time! Nothing special… we sing songs, our football anthem and we have the Slovenian flag 🙂 I’m from a little village, but if you go to a bigger town, people are on the streets, they watch the match on the big screen, there is music and the atmosphere is excellent! These people live for football and Slovenia!

Role of Football In Africa: I think the World Cup hasn’t changed South Africa, but it is a great event for the whole of Africa. Football has a special place in the hearts of Africans, they really love this game!

Words of Wisdom for the team: I would say: “Guys, you are simply the best, show them who we are and play with your heart! You are my heroes and you will always be! Let’s play!”

* The interview has been taken prior to the World Cup and hence may not reflect the current happenings in the tournament.

The French Fiasco

France’s early World Cup exit will come as a shock to many. The Reason: France have some of the finest players, they have won the World Cup and were considered as one of the favorites this time, they were said to have one of the easier groups in the competition and were expected to top it. So occupying last place in the group with just 1 point and a goal difference of -3 is a little disgraceful. Besides, let’s not forget their behavior off the pitch. They refused to train and Anelka was sent home for verbally abusing his manager at half time of Round II.

Sapphaz (with inputs from Zanzy), tells us what she thought of France this World Cup.

First of all, I do not support France and neither do I support any of the teams from Group A hence I’m not going to be biased here. I think France did not deserve to be in the competition in the first place. It was Henry’s handball which sent them through to the finals. Had this injustice not have happened, I don’t think France would have even qualified. If you look at it now, Ireland stood a better chance any day.

Moving on to the group stages, we did not see France play the way they usually do. In fact, they were terrible. For a country who reached the finals last World Cup, it’s a shock to see them exit so early this time. Inspite of having quite a few world class players they did not manage to win a single game. I would not blame the players here. They did try, but their job is to play and it is the manager’s job to tell them how. Every team has had their share of problems but there is a way of dealing with it.

Lastly, France looked to be a very disinterested team. The World Cup is about giving your best, where countries come together to fight till the very end. So if you are going to have a team like France in the competition who seems to lack interest in the game…. the tournament is going to get boring. (Imagine if every game was like France v Uruguay)

I’m happy that France are out now, they anyways never deserved to be there in the first place. I do, however, feel sorry for the players and the supporters.

Talking about the supporters, many of them have traveled over 5000 miles to cheer on their team. This hasn’t been a very cheerful World Cup for them. Prior to the start of the tournament I managed to get in touch with a French supporter, Riwan Makhlouf. Here’s what he had to say:

On his love for football: Bill Shankly once said “Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I’m very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it’s much more important than that.” This is my point of view when it comes to football.

On which team/player will excel in the competition: I think England & Gerrard will create a huge impact. Brazil, Germany and Spain too stand a chance. I would like a surprise from one of the African countries.

On how far France could have made it in the competition: If we play well we can reach upto the very end. There is no such thing as CAN’T.

On France’s main man: Malouda and Anelka play for Chelsea, one of the biggest clubs in England where they helped win the league. Ribery is another important player. I personally think Diaby has good tactics.

Yesteryears: France 98 will remain one of the most beautiful moments of my life. A magnificent mix of culture, a chaotic beginning and victory at the very end. The return of a whole nation united around the same cause.

Words of Wisdom for the team: Today you are the ones representing your country. You are eyes and heart of France. Forget your names, your culture, your family and your clubs and play in unity for your country.

David Abel’s Switzerland

Round I of the competition ended with a shock defeat…..I mean shock victory for Switzerland. Their defending was outstanding, their goal keeper was brilliant and they got that goal which got them 3 points. David Abel, a huge supporter of the Swiss National Football Team tells us what he thought about the game.

I am absolutely thrilled! My voice is still sore from yelling…..haha. The Swiss did a fantastic job playing defense the entire game and admittedly got a lucky break on a counter and managed to find the back of the net. Even without team captain Alexander Frei we managed to find a worthy goal scorer in Gelson Fernandes. And we can’t talk about the Swiss win without mentioning goal keeper Diego Benaglio for an absolutely outstanding performance in goal. Even if we didn’t score, he could have given us a valuable point with the shutout. I mean honestly, I thought we were going to lose today, everyone did, but even though I thought we were going to lose I was still rooting for my team the whole time. Even after we scored I went into the mindset that even if we were able to draw with Spain that would be a shock, but to win it, to win it was truly unbelievable. According to Yahoo! Sports, Spain had a 97% chance of winning, a 2% chance to draw, and the slimmest 1% chance of losing. All I have to say to all those who doubted the Swiss and thought that we never stood a chance is: DO YOU BELIEVE IN MIRACLES?!?!”

I certainly do believe in miracles. What about you? That was a splendid win, it truly was. David has been kind enough to give us his opinion on Switzerland and the World Cup. Here’s what he thinks:

On how far Switzerland can make it in the competition I think Switzerland has a chance at making it out of group play in the 2nd spot with Spain taking the 1st. However, if this is the case we will play the winners of group G which will most likely be Brazil, so I think that’s where the Swiss run will end.

On which team/player will excel in the competition I think Brazil, even without Ronaldinho, will make it pretty far if not to the final. Look for Robinho and (Luis) Fabiano to be the play finishers for Brazil. The other team I expect to do well is Italy. As defending champs they have everything to lose so I expect to see a great effort to repeat. They did it once back in the 30s so maybe we could see it again.

On Switzerland’s Main Man: Alexander Frei will be the player to watch out for. Team captain and football veteran, he knows how to get by the defenders and find the back of the net. (unfortunately, we have not seen much of Frei due to an ankle injury he picked up in training)

On the Second Favorites USA is the team that I’ll be rooting for when Switzerland fall out, unfortunately. Being an American myself, I have great pride in US football team. The US has in recent years proven themselves a force to be reckoned with on the pitch. I see them making it out of Group play, but it is going to prove to be a difficult run if they have any hope of making it to later rounds.


World Cup 2006: The first World Cup that I saw was the 2006 Cup in Germany. I remember seeing the amount of enthusiasm from the fans. I had never seen that kind of team support in my life and it made me realize that I wanted to be a part of that.

On a Personal Note

The football addict: I try to watch football at absolutely any chance I can get. I even took control of my roommate’s TV at college so I could watch the MLS Cup.

As far as the World Cup is concerned: I have waited for the FIFA World Cup 2010- South Africa since the end of stoppage time at the 2006 World Cup. I plan to watch as many games as I possibly can, and I will not miss a single Switzerland game!

Superstitious? I’m not an overly superstitious person when it comes to sporting events. I just support my team as much as possible. If they win, they earned it, if they lose, then in most cases they probably could’ve done better.

Celebration time! Usually when my team scores there’s just a lot of yelling and jumping around….haha. (that explains why your voice is still sore) 😉

The Atmosphere: Well unfortunately, I’m really the only one in my household that enjoys watching football on TV. When I’m with my friends though, we really get into the game: yelling at the TV, picking apart the plays, and becoming analysts and referees ourselves.(can I join you guys!) ❓

Role of Football

In Africa: By having the World Cup in South Africa, it puts focus on the entire continent in a uniquely positive way where there is so much negativity in recent years.

In your life: The World Cup is like a third Olympics to me. I absolutely love being able to see different nations from all over the world come together in the spirit of the game. Except, it seems like the fans get into the World Cup even more than the Olympics….. (that is soooooooo true)

* The interview has been taken prior to the World Cup and
hence may not reflect the current happenings in the tournament.   

Stars On 2010

I have always had a thing for football music and a couple of days before kickoff I happened to be browsing through the lists. What I came across was this amazing song ‘Stars On 2010’. The song was part of a World Cup Song competition and according to me it should have won.

I later managed to get in touch with the writer and composer Craig Furlong who I assumed was also the singer, but I was wrong. He’s an amazing person who very willingly agreed to do the interview (you got to keep in mind that I ain’t no top journo or presenter). Here’s what he had to say….

  • You have written and composed the song ‘Stars on 2010’. What inspired you to write this song?

As the World Cup got closer I tried to think of some way to do something different and at the same time profit from the idea. I’ve always been a bit of a poet and used to a get big applause from family and friends as I used to write meaningful poems to each one on their birthday. One day while trying to come up with another idea it suddenly dawned on me……..could I possibly put a song together for the World Cup??  I’m passionate about football, passionate about music and not a bad poet! That’s when the “idea” was born and I got to work.

  • Is this the first song you have done and do you intend to continue in the music industry?

Yes this is my first work and I do intend to persevere with it and see how far I can go.

  • You said composing music is one of your hidden talents. Would you like to share with us some of your other talents?

I’m not a bad footballer I guess and have won a couple of trophies but that’s where it ends.

  • What kind of music do you enjoy listening to?

I love the classics. I remember DJ ing at parties my mom used to throw at the age of 13 (my age, not my mom’s) and guy’s like Neil Diamond and Engelbert Humpberdinck have stuck with me. Being a big ‘jauler’ in the 80’s I absolutely love the music from that era. In fact my next song is going to be a REMIX of a Neil Diamond Classic.

  • Do you think music and football share a special bond?

Absolutely! There have been so many songs written about football. Look at the English, each club has an official song which is played at home games. It is that song that inspires the team to go on and win. What would LIVERPOOL be without ‘YOU’LL NEVER WALK ALONE’

  • Being South African, how does it feel to have the world cup at home?

At the time of the announcement I felt very excited for our country but unfortunately not for our National team. I didn’t think they stood a chance. It’s also been such a long wait but the ‘GEES’ is here now so bring it on!!!!

  • How far can South Africa reach this world cup and who do you think are the favorites to win this time?

There is no reason why they should not reach the 2nd Round but I’m afraid that will be as far as they go. We just don’t have the ‘goods’. I’m backing SPAIN to win it.

  • Do you have any special plans this World Cup?

Not really. Just to sit back and enjoy it. I’ll also be busy marketing my song to various Fan Parks so I’ll be pretty busy.

  • If you had to pick a player/team, who according to you will stand out in this tournament?

Player: Lionel Messi

Team: Spain

  • In what way do you think South Africa has changed because of the World Cup?

Tough one hey? I guess we are more united. My hope is that this bond stay’s after the World Cup (is over).

  • At the end of the tournament what is it that you are most likely to remember?

The kind of impact my ‘song’ has had and how many copies I managed to sell!! Bit self centered hey! 🙂

The next time you here this song, don’t forget to remember the man behind the music

Craig Furlong