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The Rock-itt : June 2010
man whose tackle ruled Ballack out of the tournament, Portsmouth's Kevin Prince Boateng, will also be playing in group D, for Ghana. Ghana are known as the Black Stars and there will certainly be one at the side of his name as far as the Germans are concerned, especially as Boateng was born in Germany but chose to play for Ghana! Even more bizarrely Boateng may end up playing against his brother Jerome who DID choose to play for the nation of his birth, Germany!! The fourth team in our group are Serbia; this is their first World Cup as an independent nation. They are known as the Beli Orlovi or White Eagles (that's familiar!) and will play the Black Stars in their first game. We play the White Eagles last on June 23rd. If England wins their group and we come second in ours then its game on against them in the knockout stage probably on June 27th! England's World Cup bid is looking a bit dodgy with star player Wayne Rooney doubtful due to injury. A recent newspaper headline in the UK trumpeted "ROONEY'S GROIN WILL AFFECT BEER SALES" Pub and bar owners all over England are apparently building stadium-style seating, offering free meals and improving television reception in an attempt to draw big World Cup crowds into their premises. Bloomberg News stated somewhat dramatically "the future of England's dwindling pub industry rests with Wayne Rooney's groin." Picture of Wayne Rooney's groin removed in order to avoid distress! You will be hearing a lot about Bafana Bafana throughout at least the early part of the tournament. It is the nickname given to the South African team by The Sowetan newspaper. It simply means 'Boys'. It comes out of the phrase "abafana bam ba dlala kahle" (translated - my boys are playing well). Another thing we'll also be hearing a lot of in South Africa is the Vuvuzela, and the Africans pride themselves on really big ones!! Vuvuzelas are the large horns blown like crazy at every South African football match. There is, however currently legal action against FIFA by the local Schembe Church to stop the Vuvuzela being played at this year's World Cup because they say it belongs to the Church. A Schembe spokesman said "When people are playing football and hearing the Vuvuzela, they are getting the power of our Holy Spirit". Good luck! This is the first time the World Cup is being held on African soil and it's obviously a political move. Disappointing and probably unsurprising (given the cost of tickets) then to hear that only about 40,000 fans from other African nations apart from South Africa will attend the games. Here's a little World Cup trivia; Most goals in a World Cup Finals game? 12, Switzerland 5 Austria 7 in the Quarter Final 1954 Most goals by an individual in a game? 5 by Oleg Salenko Russia V Cameroon 1994 Youngest player to take part? Norman Whiteside 1982 in Spain 17yrs 41 days. (Pele previously held this record) Oldest player to take part? Roger Milla 1994 USA V Cameroon 42 years 39 days. Most World Cup appearances? Lothar Mattheus Germany and Maradona 21 games each. Largest attendance? 199,850 @ Maracana, Rio Brasil final 1950. Smallest? 300 Romania V Peru in Montevideo, Uruguay 1930. Jarbas Meneghini from Brasil has been sculpting and selling clay replicas of the Fifa trophy for the past 13 years. In a non-World Cup year, he sells around 50 a month. I would love to say we are offering one as a prize but tragically.... we're not!! Another South African Limo, with added Vuvuzela. Maybe we should put a didge on a Ute! Get your Brasil helmets, I'm told there are Socceroos ones, I hope someone brings me one back! This is Zakumi, the 2010 World Cup mascot. An endangered species I hope.