World Cup 2006 Blog

From our reporters in Germany

About Laura Smith-Spark

laura_smithspark.gifHi, I'm Laura and I'm more usually found writing for the BBC News website's world desk. I arrived at the BBC three-and-a-half years ago, having kicked off my career on local papers in West Yorkshire.

My sporting claim to fame is having played rugby for England Students (yes, I was a hooker), beating Wales and Scotland in the process. Having peaked at 21, I've been in decline ever since.

However, I saw the sense of swapping an oval ball for a round one and have been playing 11-a-side and five-a-side for the past three years. Despite having no discernible left foot I've mostly been playing left back. I also like running, tennis and skiing and am a recent convert to cycling.

As a Leeds United fan I'm hoping for a return to the glory days. After all, it's not so long ago that we were in the Champions League…

About Claire Heald

claire_heald66.gifIt'll be a struggle to tear myself away from watching the World Cup on TV with friends. But it's in a good cause - to trail the thousands of fans following England around Germany.

I work on the UK desk of the BBC News website so my usual domain is news. But my all-round sporting knowledge has improved a lot since a (long-ago) trip to the Oval, when friends convinced me Andrew Flintoff was Freddie's identical twin brother.

Not a team player - is it a crime to admit that at work? - my sports are running and cycling. By the time I've covered my desk in bike bits and running gear, it can look like the office is something I fit in between my daily endorphin kicks.

During a spell living and working in Australia, a highlight was covering the Olympic Games and I saw how sport and a worldwide event can transform a country.

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