Photo: Soccer City Coming Along Nicely in Johannesburg

May 30, 2009

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“I know everyone’s a little worried about stadia not being completed on time in South Africa, but this recent photo of the Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg is nice and reassuring. Definitely more reassuring than the older photo.” (World Cup Blog)

South Africa Countdown (NYT)
“One of the first orders of business at the start of a news conference at the South African Consulate General on the East Side of Manhattan on Friday was to show a video highlighting a proud country and its herculean efforts to prepare for next summer’s World Cup. The pictures rolled across the screen, but, alas no sound.”

Oman – Egypt preview: Algeria’s rehearsals!! (World Cup Blog)
“Consider the stadium isn’t the stadium, the opponent isn’t the opponent and the fans definitely not the fans; I am talking about our game with Oman and the following one against Algeria. When our boys take the gulf champions, Oman in the friendly match in Muscat, the thoughts of the players, fans and Shehata will be on the game against Algeria and Oman will only be a final rehearsal before the game.”

Burton O’Brien out to prove South Africa wrong (Times Online)
“There are only a handful of players on the planet who can say with any certainty they will be going to the World Cup finals next summer. If your name is not Kaká, Lionel Messi or Michael Ballack, the chances are you have not yet cancelled any holiday plans.”

Bar set high for ’10 World Cup’ (The London Free Press)
“It was a good year for soccer. The year has been so good, that it augurs well for the 2010 World Cup in Africa. With most major competitions now down in Europe, there will be a summer of friendlies and a high-profile tournaments in South Africa, acting as a dress rehearsal for the World Cup. The next big event will be the resumption of World Cup qualifying.”

World Cup 2010 and ‘juju’ men (World Cup Blog)
“Photograph courtesy Oliver Becker, Occasione Documentaries. A witch doctor, or juju man, in Tanzania casts magic spells over a soccer ball and a player’s uniform before a game.”

Dunga Names Squad (sambafoot)
“Dunga announced on Thursday afternoon at the CBF headquarters in Rio de Janeiro his list of twenty-three player squad for the next two World Cup qualifiers. The auriverdes play Uruguay on June 6 in Montevideo and Paraguay on 10 June in Recife. They then fly to South Africa to compete in the Confederations Cup which will start for Brazil on 15 June with a match against Egypt.”

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Novo goal wins Cup

May 30, 2009

“Fans’ favourite Nacho Novo fired Rangers to a domestic double with the winner in a 1-0 victory over Falkirk in the Homecoming Scottish Cup final at Hampden Park. The diminutive striker heaped more Hampden heartache on the Bairns months after his double sent them crashing out of the League Cup, netting his ninth goal of the season to help Rangers claim the trophy for the 33rd time.” (ESPN)
Rangers 1-0 Falkirk (BBC)

Rep of Ireland 1-1 Nigeria (BBC)
“The Republic of Ireland warmed up for their World Cup qualifier against Bulgaria with a draw in Friday night’s friendly at Craven Cottage. Both sides were under-strength with the Republic giving debuts to six players.”

Wales 1-0 Estonia (BBC)
“Wales’ youngest side in history secured a morale-boosting friendly win before the World Cup qualifier in Azerbaijan by beating Estonia in Llanelli. Rob Earnshaw’s 26th-minute penalty proved enough, confidently converted after a harsh handball decision against Estonia captain Alo Barengrub.”