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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/" accesskey="6">World Cup 2006 Blog

From our reporters in Germany

  • %3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/05/">< May 2006
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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/something_like_a_phenomena.html">England fans flood into Germany

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/claireheald">Claire Heald - News Interactive journalist
  • 30 Jun 06, 03:33 PM

claire_heald66.gifGELSENKIRCHEN - The Germans call it “a phenomenon”.

They’re left scratching their heads at how so many English people make it here for the match one day but are gone the next.

Incidentally, out of 5,800 people arrested in the tournament so far, guess how many have been English?

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/on_the_road_again.html">On the road again

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/martinrichardson">Martin Richardson - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 30 Jun 06, 02:57 PM

MartinA SERVICE STATION, NORTH OF HAMBURG – Svan’s fixed! Yippee!

Well, it’s only a patch up job on our %3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/when_svan_hit_a_gate_1.html">busted rear end but it looks good enough to keep us going for the rest of the tournament – touch wood – and more importantly to get us to Gelsenkirchen for %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/world_cup_2006/4991618.stm">tomorrow’s England match.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/ray_winstones_verdict_on_engla.html">Ray Winstone's England verdict

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paulfletcher">Paul Fletcher - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 30 Jun 06, 01:54 PM

paul_fletcher.gif HAMBURG - %3Ca%20href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ray_Winstone">Ray Winstone, actor, West Ham fan and all-round top bloke, has been in Germany since the World Cup started.

In fact, earlier in the tournament one of our %3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/winstone_on_tour.html">bloggers bumped into him in Frankfurt.

The actor has been keeping a close eye on England and was privileged enough to watch them train on Thursday. We caught up with Ray to find out what he made of England’s prospects.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/world_cup_hits_fever_pitch_in.html">"Argentina shaking in front of hands of God"

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/samwilson">Sam Wilson - News Interactive journalist
  • 30 Jun 06, 01:39 PM

sam_wilson.gifBERLIN - The German newspapers have invoked Jurgen Klinsmann's call for passion in today's quarter-final with Argentina.

%3Ca%20href="http://www.tagesspiegel-berlin.de/">Der Tagesspiegel promises "a German tango", saying stereotypes will be over-turned as the home team's "fire and intensity trumps the Latin Americans' controlled game".

"Close to Heaven," is the paper's headline and it's a feeling shared by many supporters.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/skinner_and_baddiel_judge_our.html">Skinner and Baddiel judge our 3 Lions karaoke

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/glenlevy">Glen Levy, Match of the Day assistant producer
  • 30 Jun 06, 01:08 PM

glen_levy.gifBERLIN - Picture the scene: you’re on a work night out as it’s a rare chance to catch up with colleagues outside of the hectic office environment. After all, this is the brief period of rest before one of the most hectic weeks in your four-year work cycle. The bar is of an Irish nature, everyone is relaxed and there’s even the prospect of karaoke with the ominous machine looming large in the corner.

Three of your colleagues – for argument’s sake, let’s call them Alex, Chris and Noel – make the brave decision to “sing” for the benefit of the rest of the room. Their weapon of choice? Popular England terrace anthem Three Lions. Easy. Everyone knows the words to that one. The music starts and the ‘It’s Coming Home’ refrain strikes up. The entire room sings along, briefly believing that 40 years of hurt might just be coming to an end.

And guess who walks in?

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/once_more_unto_the_breach_dear_1.html">Once more unto the breach dear Sven

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/philmcnulty">Phil McNulty - Sport Online chief football writer
  • 30 Jun 06, 12:44 PM

phil_mcnulty.gifGELSENKIRCHEN - %3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/ray_winstones_verdict_on_engla.html">Ray Winstone will apparently be seen on video reciting %3Ca%20href="http://www.chronique.com/Library/Knights/crispen.htm">Henry V's St Crispin's Day speech and maybe even some %3Ca%20href="http://www.churchill-speeches.com/">Churchillian oratory to motivate England’s players before the World Cup quarter-final against Portugal.

Judging by what we saw of Gary Neville in his meeting with the media on Thursday, he could not be any more motivated to meet Portugal.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/one_mans_story.html">Just one man's story

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/blogeditor">Blog Editor - Sport Interactive
  • 30 Jun 06, 11:22 AM

LONDON - Yesterday I asked %3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/post_10.html">29-year-old Antje to blog about her thoughts on German patriotism, which by many accounts has been given unprecedented licence of expression by this World Cup.

Today I pass on the thoughts of someone from the older generation, who left Germany in 1939 and now lives in Costa Rica. I felt Alfred - a regular reader of this blog and now aged 75 - had an interesting story that deserved to be told.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/germany_or_argentina.html">Germany or Argentina?

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paulfletcher">Paul Fletcher - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 30 Jun 06, 11:01 AM

paul_fletcher.gif A PARK IN HAMBURG - %3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/when_svan_hit_a_gate_1.html">Svan is in the garage hopefully being fixed and I am sat on a patch of grass in some park near the stadium wondering who I want to win in the match between Germany and Argentina.

We have tickets for Italy's match with Ukraine in Hamburg later this evening, but lets be honest that is not really the game that has the host nation gripped.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/joy_and_despair_in_hamburg.html">Joy and despair in Hamburg

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/martinrichardson">Martin Richardson - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 30 Jun 06, 12:26 AM

MartinHAMBURG – The incident between %3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/when_svan_hit_a_gate_1.html">Svan and a gate post, leaving us spending the night on a Fiat garage forecourt, brought me crashing down to earth after what I thought was my biggest achievement of the trip.

I managed to purchase a World Cup ticket via Fifa’s website.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/when_svan_hit_a_gate_1.html">When Svan hit a gate

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paulfletcher">Paul Fletcher - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 29 Jun 06, 04:55 PM

paul_fletcher.gifHAMBURG - Disaster struck this afternoon.

We were on our way to visit Ricco's grandparents, almost there, when an approaching car forced Ricco to move over to one side of the narrow lane.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/post_10.html">Is it ok to wave the German flag?

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/blogeditor">Blog Editor - Sport Interactive
  • 29 Jun 06, 04:53 PM

claire_stocks2.gifLONDON - This blog has many German readers (and indeed readers %3Ca%20href="http://www.2006fanposter.com/">from all over the world).

So bearing in mind how the country will be gripped for Friday's quarter-final against Argentina in Berlin, I thought it would be interesting to get a take on the issue of %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/5108134.stm">German patriotism, which has cropped up in quite a few of our %3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/the_old_and_the_new_in_nurembe_1.html">blog debates.

I asked one reader, 29-year-old Antje - who was born in Rostock in the former East Germany but has lived in London for four years - for her thoughts on following her country.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/lovin_an_escalator.html">Lovin' an escalator

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/samwilson">Sam Wilson - News Interactive journalist
  • 29 Jun 06, 04:28 PM

BERLIN - %3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/a_beer_beaker_eureka.html">Unexpected interest in the German escalator phenomenon obliges me to explain. (Though Eva did a pretty good job in her response to my last post.)

escalator203.jpg

Basically the escalators don't move until someone approaches, when sensors pick up the movement. If you're at the bottom, it then carries you up. If you're at the top, it carries you down, unless there's already someone on the way up, in which case you have to wait till they get off.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/brazil_v_argentina_who_wins_1.html">Brazil v Argentina - who wins?

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/mandeepsanghera">Mandeep Sanghera - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 29 Jun 06, 04:14 PM

mandeep_sanghera.gifON A TRAIN TO DORTMUND - Making my way around Germany I've noticed a contest between Brazil and Argentina exists on - and off the pitch.

I've seen Brazil play twice at this tournament and was in town when they beat Ghana last time out and there’s one thing that stands out.

When the %3Ca%20href="#" onClick="javascript: void window.open('http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediaselector/check/sol/ukfs_sport/hi/av?redirect=fs.stm&nbram=1&bbram=1&nbwm=1&bbwm=1&news=1&nol_storyid=5092292','console','toolbar=0,location=0,status=0,menubar=0,scrollbars=0,resizable=0,width=681,height=487');return false;">samba kings are around everybody suddenly becomes a Brazilian.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/the_two_sides_of_svengoran_eri.html">The two sides of Sven-Goran Eriksson

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/philmcnulty">Phil McNulty - Sport Online chief football writer
  • 29 Jun 06, 03:48 PM

phil_mcnulty.gifBADEN-BADEN - Sven-Goran Eriksson is showing signs of finally coming out fighting - and finally running out of patience with constant criticism.

Eriksson's sudden switches of formation and personnel in Germany have led to understandable fears that he is formulating his World Cup policy on the hoof, overseeing a movable feast of tactical changes that may end in a World Cup famine.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/team_of_the_tournament_as_rate.html">Team of the tournament - as rated by you

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/blogeditor">Blog Editor - Sport Interactive
  • 29 Jun 06, 11:04 AM

team_of_tournament2_203.gifLONDON - For the past two weeks many of you have been judging the performances of every team's World Cup players using our %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/world_cup_2006/5103830.stm">Player Rater.

Yesterday we had a look at how %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/world_cup_2006/teams/england/5124518.stm">England's players measured up according to your ratings.

Today we've aggregated your votes to show which players have got the highest overall rating in each position, to make up the team of the tournament so far - check it out and tell me if you agree. We've also worked out the overall top 10 best and worst rated players...


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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/scolaris_secret_weapon.html">Scolari’s secret weapon

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paulfletcher">Paul Fletcher - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 29 Jun 06, 10:28 AM

paul_fletcher.gif BREMEN - Luis Felipe Scolari seems to have the irksome knack of emerging victorious when it comes to matches against Sven-Goran Eriksson’s England.

As Brazil manager at the %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport3/worldcup2002/hi/matches_wallchart/england_v_brazil/newsid_2049000/2049924.stm">World Cup in 2002 and as boss of %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/euro_2004/3830451.stm">Portugal at Euro 2004 he defeated England at the quarter-final stage - and one guy I spoke to told me it was because he has some friends in pretty high places...

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/a_beer_beaker_eureka.html">A brilliant beer beaker, eureka!

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/samwilson">Sam Wilson - News Interactive journalist
  • 28 Jun 06, 07:44 PM

sam_wilson.gifBERLIN - You know when you go abroad and see an idea so simple you think "why don’t we do that at home?"

glasses203.jpg

Well some German boffin with a fondness for his ale has come up with these plastic glasses being used at some stadiums and Fan Fests.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/bremen_happy_to_dodge_world_cu.html">Bremen happy to dodge World Cup

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/martinrichardson">Martin Richardson - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 28 Jun 06, 07:14 PM

MartinBREMEN - You might expect that a club who applied to host World Cup matches, but was rejected, would feel particularly left out now.

And with %3Ca%20href="http://www.werder-online.de">Werder Bremen currently the second best club side in the country after a third successive Champions League qualification, you would think they are feeling hard done by.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/win_a_table_football_signed_by.html">Win a table football signed by Sven

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/blogeditor">Blog Editor - Sport Interactive
  • 28 Jun 06, 04:11 PM

svensigns203.jpg
LONDON - In conjunction with %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tv_and_radio/sport_relief/default.stm">Sport Relief, we are offering a first prize of a table football signed by England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson and Brazil legend Pele. All you have to do is to answer the following question:

Fletch and Ricco are driving from London Television Centre to Berlin's Olympiastadion for the World Cup final. If they were to drive directly (and they are not!), which of the following three distances is closest to the number of miles they would clock up?

a/ 650 miles
b/ 1000 miles
c/ 1650 miles

To enter just text "Blog" plus your choice of (a) (b) or (c) to 82125

Full competition rules %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tv_and_radio/sport_relief/5050702.stm">here and best of luck. As a special bonus from Fletch and Ricco, we can now add two special runners-up prizes of signed Shevchenko T-shirts, among other goodies, into the prize pot.


%3Ca%20href="#" onClick="javascript: void window.open('http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediaselector/check/sol/ukfs_sport/hi/av?redirect=fs.stm&nbram=1&bbram=1&nbwm=1&bbwm=1&news=1&nol_storyid=5063650','console','toolbar=0,location=0,status=0,menubar=0,scrollbars=0,resizable=0,width=681,height=487');return false;">Check out on video when Fletch met Sheva

Blog Editor, Claire S

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/rio_happy_to_win_ugly_at_world.html">Rio happy to win ugly at World Cup

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/philmcnulty">Phil McNulty - Sport Online chief football writer
  • 28 Jun 06, 03:55 PM

phil_mcnulty.gifBADEN-BADEN - Rio Ferdinand is happy to win the World Cup any way he can - style does not get the vote over substance.

And he even used former Arsenal striker Alan Smith, covering the tournament in Germany for a national newspaper, to make his point.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/analyse_this.html">Inside an England O.B.

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paulatherton">Paul Atherton - Match of the Day journalist
  • 28 Jun 06, 01:07 PM

paul_atherton.gifIBC, MUNICH - Match of the Day’s studio base during the World Cup is in Berlin. But for a few of the big games Gary Lineker and the team broadcast live from the stadium. Here Suzanne Whiston explains one of the key roles at an outside broadcast (OB)

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/biased_chinese_commentator_apo.html">Biased Chinese commentator apologises

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/blogeditor">Blog Editor - Sport Interactive
  • 28 Jun 06, 11:03 AM

LONDON - China Central Television commentator Huang Jianxiang, who I %3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/my_soul_is_crumbling_1.html">blogged about yesterday following his over-enthusiastic commentary on Italy's last-minute defeat of Australia, has apologised.
The Associated Press reported the following statement posted on CCTV's website: "In the last minutes of the Italy-Australia game, I added too much personal emotion to my comments. What I said led to the viewers' displeasure, and they have expressed their views and criticisms, and I sincerely apologise."

Anyway, you can %3Ca%20href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wzGMTD4ZufQ&search=Huang%20Jianxiang">re-live every second of his fantastically biased five-minute rant, I mean commentary, here. (Sorry if this is stating the obvious, but it's in Chinese..).
Claire S, blog editor

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/what_no_football.html">What, no football?

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paulfletcher">Paul Fletcher - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 28 Jun 06, 10:57 AM

paul_fletcher.gif HANNOVER - The World Cup might only happen once every four years but when it does it sure means business.

Three games a day for 11 consecutive days, followed by four games a day for four days and two games a day for the next four. And then what?

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/kungfu_fighting.html">Kung Fu fighting

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paulfletcher">Paul Fletcher - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 28 Jun 06, 12:49 AM

paul_fletcher.gif HANNOVER - I saw something this evening that made my jaw drop.

Two photographers queuing for some kind of ticket, or pass, or whatever for %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/world_cup_2006/4991524.stm">Spain's game with France suddenly started fighting. It was truly remarkable.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/youre_all_doing_terribly_well.html">You’re all doing terribly well

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paularmstrong">Paul Armstrong, Editor, Match of the Day
  • 27 Jun 06, 08:52 PM

paul_armstrong_55x55.gifMUNICH: An astonishing 8.8m people watched the penalty shoot-out climax of %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/world_cup_2006/4991532.stm">Switzerland v Ukraine on Monday night.

It’s difficult to calculate how many of those were %3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/theeditors/2006/06/cest_la_guerre.html">waiting for the News but, if they were, it was good of them to stay tuned and thereby swell our viewing figures.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/dont_write_them_off.html">Don't write them off......

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/nigeladderley">Nigel Adderley - Five Live correspondent
  • 27 Jun 06, 06:52 PM

nigel_adderley.gifOLYMPIC STADIUM, BERLIN - Michael Ballack wasn't at training which caused a brief flutter of excitment amongst those of us at the German training ground next door to where they hope to win the World Cup on July 9th.

When Miroslav Klose falied to show as well it became a major news event until the German Football Federation's (DFB) highly efficient media staff nipped any talk of a selection crisis in the bud with a quick bulletin on their fitness which was quickly gobbled up by the half-dozen or so TV stations taking Robert Huth sweating profusely live.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/england_montage_reprise.html">England montage reprise

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paulatherton">Paul Atherton - Match of the Day journalist
  • 27 Jun 06, 05:38 PM

paul_atherton.gifIBC, MUNICH - Last week producer Sarah Williams %3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/post_9.html">asked for your suggestions for music to accompany an England montage. Here she explains what she chose and why.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/the_germans_taste_in_music.html">The Germans' taste in music

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/martinrichardson">Martin Richardson - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 27 Jun 06, 05:10 PM

MartinHANNOVER - We haven’t really discovered a theme tune for this World Cup while driving Svan up and down the autobahn, possibly because while one of us drives the other is often in the back working.

My introduction of Nena’s %3Ca%20href="http://www.eightyeightynine.com/music/nena-99luftballoons.html">99 Red Balloons – the original German version – on the stereo yesterday was just met with bemusement from Fletch, so I think it’s a non-starter.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/how_bbc_itv_will_split_quarter.html">How BBC & ITV will split quarter-finals

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/blogeditor">Blog Editor - Sport Interactive
  • 27 Jun 06, 01:39 PM

LONDON - The BBC and ITV have agreed the division of games for the quarter finals. The games will be shown on TV in the UK as follows:

Friday 30 June
Germany v Argentina 1600 BST ko. ITV
Italy v Ukraine 2000 BST ko. BBC

Saturday 1 July
England v Portugal 1600 BST ko BBC
Brazil or Ghana v Spain or France 2000 BST ko ITV

The BBC games will also be streamed on broadband (UK only).
If England reach the semi-final stage, both BBC and ITV will show the game live, with ITV showing the remaining semi-final exclusively.
If England do not reach the semi-final stage, ITV will have first pick of the semi-final games, with BBC broadcasting the other match.
Both broadcasters will show the World Cup final live.
All games will be on Five Live, with the commentary streamed on this website (UK only)

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/brazil_v_ghana_on_the_mike.html">Brazil v Ghana - on the mike

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/blogeditor">Blog Editor - Sport Interactive
  • 27 Jun 06, 12:21 PM

LONDON - The %3Ca%20href="http://football.guardian.co.uk/worldcup2006/story/0,,1805311,00.html">Black Stars may not seem to have much of a chance against Brazil (odds = 10-1).

But it's a more even contest in the music stakes - %3Ca%20href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DR4clBFT5tc">watch hip-hop rapscallion Sway (Ghana) take on beatboxsamba boys Instituto (Brasil) in this rap-off. The Ghanaians certainly %3Ca%20href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yywJrnfZqCU&mode=related&search=">do like to party. Our production manager Kofi was born %3Ca%20href="http://www.accra-mail.com/mailnews.asp?id=17088">there - and whipped a bongo out from under his desk for a spot of drumming after qualification was secure.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/spain_ready_to_deliver.html">Spain ready to deliver?

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paulfletcher">Paul Fletcher - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 27 Jun 06, 11:46 AM

paul_fletcher.gif HANNOVER - Spain have a well-earned %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/world_cup_2006/teams/spain/5119712.stm">reputation for disappointing at major tournaments - but here at an overcast Hannover both players and supporters are confident of %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/world_cup_2006/4991524.stm">beating the French this evening.

Last night I went to watch Spain's final training session before their second-round match and Luis Aragones' squad looked focused and relaxed.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/my_soul_is_crumbling_1.html">My soul is crumbling

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/blogeditor">Blog Editor - Sport Interactive
  • 27 Jun 06, 10:37 AM

claire_stocks2.gifLONDON - "My soul is crumbling," was how one Australian described %3Ca%20href="http://blogs.smh.com.au/worldcup/archives/2006/06/what_a_way_to_l.html">the pain of their last-minute defeat to Italy on Radio Five Live.
To some England fans who have suffered decades of heartbreak, often also at the hand of perceived %3Ca%20href="http://australia.worldcupblog.org/round-of-16/australia-0-italy-1.html">cheating, or penalties, or both, it may seem sweet justice that their Antipodean cousins get to drink from the same sour-tasting cup so early in their fledgling foray into football.
But %3Ca%20href="http://www.smh.com.au/news/aussie-update/you-were-robbed-say-brits/2006/06/27/1151174192571.html">you have to feel for them, don't you. Don't you..?

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/technical_tantrums.html">Technical tantrums

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/martinrichardson">Martin Richardson - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 26 Jun 06, 08:46 PM

MartinERNST-AUGUSTUS-PLATZ, HANNOVER – Finally! I can’t tell you how good it feels to be blogging again after 24 hours of technical gremlins and tantrums from yours truly.

My laptop internet connection and digital camera had stopped working leaving me as the chocolate teapot of this blog operation.

I don’t take very well to things that previously worked, just breaking for no apparent reason and so I’ve been stomping about our camper van, two campsites and a fair few motorway service areas, with Fletch eyeing me warily in case I was about to explode.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/post_8.html">How England can turn it on

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/blogeditor">Blog Editor - Sport Interactive
  • 26 Jun 06, 06:42 PM

LONDON - Phil McNulty's post this morning on England %3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/jeers_or_cheers_for_england.html">divided opinion.
On a similar theme, Newsnight correspondent Paul Mason has some strong views on %3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/paulmason/2006/06/if_sven_quit_this_morning.html">what the team need to do to fire on all cylinders.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/verdict_on_that_18card_trick.html">Verdict on that 20-card trick

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/mandeepsanghera">Mandeep Sanghera - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 26 Jun 06, 04:42 PM

mandeep_sanghera.gifNUREMBERG - The antics of Holland and Portugal's players stunned me as I watched their second-round match from the stands.

The referee was more like a croupier than the match official of a last-16 World Cup tie.
He dealt a record-equalling number of cards - 16 yellows, including four players (two from each side) being booked twice and seeing red.

Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy had to watch from the bench and said afterwards that he thought the referee had lost control of the game. It certainly appeared so from where I was sitting.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/doing_it_jurgens_way.html">Doing it Jurgen's way

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/nigeladderley">Nigel Adderley - Five Live correspondent
  • 26 Jun 06, 02:32 PM

nigel_adderley.gifGERMAN MEDIA CENTRE, BERLIN - You can tell things are going well for Germany when the television pundits start pontificating wearing their old football shirts. Even Stefan Effenberg - whose own international career %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/funny_old_game/2006306.stm">ended in disgrace at the World Cup - has donned one to get behind the cause.

Even with my poor German it's noticable how the words %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/internationals/4808796.stm">"Klinsmann" and "California" have now been banished to the dust-bin of German football history as well.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/whats_the_world_cup_like_where.html">What's the World Cup like where you are?

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/clairestocks">Claire Stocks - Sport Interactive assistant editor
  • 26 Jun 06, 02:16 PM

claire_stocks2.gifLONDON - Our blog has readers from all over the world, many of whom are forced to go to all sorts of lengths to watch the action.

There is %3Ca%20href="http://beamaninberlin.blogspot.com/">Beaman in Berlin, %3Ca%20href="http://eplleague.blogspot.com/2006/06/britannia-rules-waves.html">The Gaffer in Florida, %3Ca%20href="http://www.owatalk.com/">Wes in Melbourne (he's got Ashes tickets!), %3Ca%20href="http://www.workingnomad.com/">Working Nomad (an ex corporate slave trying to pay his way around the world via his blog), %3Ca%20href="http://englandfaninbarca.blogspot.com/">England fan in Barcelona and %3Ca%20href="http://expatworldcup.blogspot.com/">Super Si in Sydney (his wife left him after moving there two years ago apparently) to name but a few.

I asked Steve Ditchburn to tell us what it's like in %3Ca%20href="http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=malta%20football&w=all">Malta at the moment. If you would like to tell us about what it's like watching the World Cup where you are, %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/front_page/3701180.stm">get in touch by email or post a comment with a link to your blog.
Claire S, blog editor.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/snapping_rooney_as_he_bursts_t.html">Snapping Rooney as he bursts through

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/clairestocks">Claire Stocks - Sport Interactive assistant editor
  • 26 Jun 06, 02:15 PM

Ross Kinnaird is a sports photographer covering the World Cup for %3Ca%20href="http://www.gettyimages.com/worldcup">Getty Images. He has been sharing some of his photos and the techniques behind them on our blog.

His latest guest entry shows Wayne Rooney muscling his way through the Ecuador defence.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/the_strangest_man_weve_met_1.html">The strangest campsite in Germany?

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paulfletcher">Paul Fletcher - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 26 Jun 06, 11:22 AM

paul_fletcher.gif HEADING TO %3Ca%20href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hannover">HANNOVER - Ricco and I have stayed at quite a few campsites over the last few weeks.

Some have had great facilities, others modest. Some have been in great locations, others miles from anywhere - but none have been quite like Herr Schmidt's.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/jeers_or_cheers_for_england.html">Jeers or cheers for England?

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/philmcnulty">Phil McNulty - Sport Online chief football writer
  • 26 Jun 06, 11:00 AM

phil_mcnulty.gif BADEN-BADEN - It was intriguing to see the change in body language among England fans as a steamy afternoon in Stuggart moved to its conclusion.

Exuberant at the start, anxious in the middle, name on the cup at the end.

England's campaign is a World Cup %3Ca%20href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Groundhog_Day_%28film%29">groundhog day. Play poorly, do enough to win or at least get the result you need, progress towards the closing stages...

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/is_torres_man_uniteds_main_man.html">Is Torres Man United's main man?

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/philmcnulty">Phil McNulty - Sport Online chief football writer
  • 26 Jun 06, 10:04 AM

phil_mcnulty.gifBADEN-BADEN - England's World Cup win against Ecuador was top of the agenda in Stuttgart - but there was a hot little rumour doing the rounds among the foreign media.

Namely, that Manchester United are close to sealing a £20m deal for Atletico Madrid's brilliant Spanish striker Fernando Torres.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/last_to_leave_the_party.html">Last to leave the party

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/claireheald">Claire Heald - News Interactive journalist
  • 26 Jun 06, 02:30 AM

organ_grinder_203.jpg STUTTGART - Outside of the passion and pain on the pitch, it is the little things that catch your eye as the world’s cultures collide at this tournament.

The last guests to leave England’s post-match party were dancing in the streets as I walked back through the city’s main square in the early hours.

The strains of Football’s Coming Home and "1-0 to the Arsenal" sounded bizarre coming out of the pipes on a traditional German wind-up organ.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/colditz_dresden_and_a_long_wal.html">Colditz, Dresden and sleepy England

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paulfletcher">Paul Fletcher - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 25 Jun 06, 11:02 PM

paul_fletcher.gif SUBURB OF DRESDEN - Last week we mentioned that we would be going to Leipzig and asked you to suggest where we should visit in the near vicinity.

Many thanks for %3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/bruce_arenas_evening_stroll.html">all the ideas. Lots of people said Dresden, while I quite liked the idea of Colditz - and so we squeezed them in around England's match with Ecuador, learning lots along the way and encountering some very strange people.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/watching_england_from_the_benc.html">Watching England from the bench

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paularmstrong">Paul Armstrong, Editor, Match of the Day
  • 25 Jun 06, 08:17 PM

paul_armstrong_55x55.gifBERLIN: Having edited last night’s game and not travelled to Stuttgart, I was in the same position as the rest of the nation watching England struggle through on the BBC this afternoon.

And probably even more relieved than most, given that we have first pick of the live quarter-finals, and will, unsurprisingly, now pick England.

At one point, though, those of us back here at base thought we might be heading for a Theo Walcott-like desperation-inspired appearance from the bench.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/germany_believes.html">Germany believes

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/martinrichardson">Martin Richardson - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 25 Jun 06, 04:07 PM

MartinLEIPZIG – In five short days the atmosphere at this World Cup has changed.

With confident victories over Ecuador and Sweden, the Germans have gone from accommodating hosts to real contenders in this tournament, at least that is what millions of supporters of Juergen Klinsmann’s team believe.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/if_england_cant_stand_the_heat.html">If England can't stand the heat...

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/philmcnulty">Phil McNulty - Sport Online chief football writer
  • 25 Jun 06, 09:41 AM

phil_mcnulty.gifEN ROUTE TO STUTTGART - England's traditional obsession with the weather has been derided here in Germany as we swelter in the heat.

The complaints about the temperatures and humidity after the opening game against Paraguay were treated with barely disguised contempt by outsiders, scornful of the fact England appeared shocked at it being a little sunny during %3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/5day.shtml?world=0189">high summer in Germany.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/hold_the_lottery.html">Hold the lottery

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paularmstrong">Paul Armstrong, Editor, Match of the Day
  • 25 Jun 06, 09:19 AM

paul_armstrong_55x55.gifBERLIN. Having re-arranged the BBC One schedules for the weekend at a couple of days’ notice, we spent this evening re-arranging it live on the hoof as Argentina v Mexico went into extra-time.

Our planned 2215 off air, with leisurely post-match analysis, a re-cap of the Germany game and a look ahead to England tomorrow fell by the wayside. In its stead was a hasty agreement with Network Control to get off the air five minutes after coming back to the studio once extra-time and/or penalties were over.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/mexico_waves_farewell.html">Fantastic Mexico waves farewell

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paulfletcher">Paul Fletcher - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 25 Jun 06, 01:19 AM

paul_fletcher.gif LEIPZIG - Mexico departed the World Cup after their %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/world_cup_2006/4991492.stm">defeat to Argentina on Saturday evening.

But they gave one of the favourites a real run for their money and their fans stopped the traffic - literally.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/overflowing_fan_fests_1.html">Overflowing Fan Fests

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/martinrichardson">Martin Richardson - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 24 Jun 06, 07:53 PM

MartinLEIPZIG - As Fletch and I approached Leipzig city centre via tram this afternoon we thought it unusually quiet, assuming tonight's game here between two American teams was not accompanied by many travelling fans.

That illusion was soon shattered as the Hauptbahnhof honed into view - thousands of fans were spilling out of the main station and into the city's pedestrian district.

There were many wearing the light blue and white of Argentina, many more wearing the green and sombreros of Mexico, but today Leipzig was painted black, red and gold.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/maradona_mayhem_1.html">Top team talks

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/celinahinchcliffe">Celina Hinchcliffe - Match of the Day reporter
  • 24 Jun 06, 03:41 PM

celina_hinchcliffe2.gifSTUTTGART STATION - Talking of celebrity spotting, the other night I was three rows away from one of the greatest footballers of all time. Maradona sparked a flash bulb frenzy when he popped into the commentary stand to do spot of TV punditry at the Spain Tunisia match.

The media and press are obviously used to seeing big names at games but in the presence of a legend, they flocked to row W10. There was the stocky one, his barrel chest bursting his Argentina shirt. He talked animatedly about the game, gesticulating like an Italian chef. Unfortunately, I couldn’t understand a word he was saying.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/patriks_second_homecoming.html">Patrik's second homecoming

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/samwilson">Sam Wilson - News Interactive journalist
  • 24 Jun 06, 02:54 PM

sam_wilson.gif JUST ARRIVED IN MUNICH - It’s a strange return to Munich for Patrik Andersson, the Swedish giant who helped Bayern win the Champions League final in 2001.

On his first visit to the city since he left the club after that triumph, I asked him if he’s fondly remembered here. “I hope so, because I decided the championship for Bayern,” he said, in reference to his last minute equaliser in the final Bundesliga match in the same season.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/the_halfway_point.html">The half-way point

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paulfletcher">Paul Fletcher - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 24 Jun 06, 09:23 AM

paul_fletcher.gif BAMBERG - At some point over the next 24 hours our trip will reach its half-way stage.

With two weeks gone and two weeks left to go, the World Cup has also reached the same juncture (though admittedly more than 50% of the fixtures have been played).

With this in mind - and the group stage now over - how do you think the tournament is shaping up?

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/what_a_difference_a_day_makes.html">What a difference a day makes.....

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/nigeladderley">Nigel Adderley - Five Live correspondent
  • 23 Jun 06, 07:20 PM

nigel_adderley.gifBERLIN - When you´re constantly travelling, swotting up on players you´ve never seen before and simply thinking about the next game it´s difficult to assess the overall quality of the World Cup so far.

If, like me, you saw Brazil´s second-half exhibition against Japan you´d still be purring about the beautiful game but then sit through Ukraine´s laboured win over Tunisia (me again) and you´d wonder why people bother putting it on television.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/king_carlos_1.html">King Carlos

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paulatherton">Paul Atherton - Match of the Day journalist
  • 23 Jun 06, 07:07 PM

paul_atherton.gifIBC, MUNICH - One of the best things about being at the World Cup (and there are many, many reasons why it’s great to be here) is celebrity spotting. I know, I should probably be above it. But I’m not. Yesterday at the USA v Ghana match I met (‘saw’ is perhaps more truthful) a true footballing legend. The only man in the world who can pull off a blonde afro – Carlos Valderrama.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/the_boys_from_brazil_1.html">The Boys From Brazil

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/glenlevy">Glen Levy, Match of the Day assistant producer
  • 23 Jun 06, 11:19 AM

glen_levy.gif BERLIN - If you think our pundit %3Ca%20href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonardo_Nascimento_de_Araujo">Leonardo is charming on screen, just try spending a day with him, as I did to secure our %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/world_cup_2006/teams/england/5106196.stm">exclusive interview with Portugal and ex-Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari.

Firstly, when I arrived at Leonardo's hotel at 6am, he’d only had four hours sleep after doing the late-night highlights show.

Most of us, at best, might grunt a “good morning” or cursory nod, but he pretty much exited the hotel whistling a show tune, delighted to see what 6 o’clock looked like. And, somehow, he still resembled a movie star. Life ain’t fair, is it?!?

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/if_its_sunday_then_it_must_be_1.html">If it's Sunday then it must be Stuttgart

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paularmstrong">Paul Armstrong, Editor, Match of the Day
  • 23 Jun 06, 09:55 AM

paul_armstrong_55x55.gifBERLIN - Television schedules are usually drawn up months in advance, set in stone weeks in advance, then fine-tuned by no more than a few seconds here and there. However, at this stage in a World Cup, all that goes out of the window.

At a couple of days’ notice, BBC1 have completely redrafted their plans for the coming weekend and slotted in an avalanche of live football. Events like Wimbledon or the Olympics hijack the airwaves in a similar way, but they can be planned with a fair degree of precision months and sometimes years ahead.

Sharing a football tournament with ITV, and the absence of even a day’s gap between the first and second phases meant that four days’ television output was put on hold until the last possible minute.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/italy_win_the_world_cupapparen.html">Italy win the World Cup...apparently

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/philmcnulty">Phil McNulty - Sport Online chief football writer
  • 23 Jun 06, 08:19 AM

phil_mcnulty.gifBADEN-BADEN - Turn your back for a minute and Italy win the World Cup.

It seems that in the time it takes to have a 20-minute spin on the treadmill and spend the usual several hours in the recovery position, the final fortnight of the tournament has actually taken place and Marcello Lippi’s men are triumphant.


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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/glorious_glorious_ghana_1.html">Glorious, glorious Ghana

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paulfletcher">Paul Fletcher - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 23 Jun 06, 12:22 AM

paul_fletcher.gif NUREMBERG - I'll come clean straight away.

I went on holiday to Ghana last year and I loved the place to bits - even more so the people.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/gutted_in_nuremberg.html">Gutted in Nuremberg

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/martinrichardson">Martin Richardson - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 22 Jun 06, 04:18 PM

MartinALMOST INSIDE THE FRANKENSTADION, NUREMBERG - I'm sat here on some concrete steps, staring at the Frankenstadion not 30 metres away, listening to the cheers and jeers of the Ghana v USA crowd.

Why no closer? Because I bought a cancelled ticket off a tout and am now stuck in the eerie no-man's land between the outer security checkpoint and the entance to the stands.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/how_we_get_the_footy_fixtures_1.html">How we get the footy fixtures to you

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/blogeditor">Blog Editor - Sport Interactive
  • 22 Jun 06, 02:38 PM

LONDON - I know this is the World Cup blog but it's also a notable day for domestic football in that all next season's fixtures were published.

I asked Mark Mitchener, one of the stalwarts of our team of football journalists here in London, to blog about what it takes to get them to you.

To outside observers, the fixtures may seem to appear magically at the appointed hour of 1000 BST on the BBC Sport website and on Ceefax - but the preceding hours are a hive of activity here at BBC Sport Interactive Towers (inside Television Centre in London's White City district).
We are sent the fixtures under strict embargo from the Press Association (PA), around an hour and a half before the publication time, so we can get them ready for 10am. Luckily, we made it - just!

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/the_old_and_the_new_in_nurembe_1.html">The old and the new in Nuremberg

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paulfletcher">Paul Fletcher - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 22 Jun 06, 01:47 PM

paul_fletcher.gif NUREMBERG - Cultural excursions don't appear to have been a particularly high priority for fans at the World Cup - there is just too much football to watch.

But here in Nuremberg the situation is different because the area around the %3Ca%20href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frankenstadion">Franken-Stadion carries the indelible mark of history.

Quite simply, it is difficult to reach the ground without seeing some reminder of %3Ca%20href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adolf_Hitler">Adolf Hitler and his Nazi party, which used the stadium as a marching ground in the 1930s.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/knockout_games_on_bbc_1.html">Knockout games on BBC

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/blogeditor">Blog Editor - Sport Interactive
  • 22 Jun 06, 12:25 PM

LONDON - We have agreed with ITV which of the knockout games will be shown on which TV channel:

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/german_comedy_1.html">German comedy ha ha?

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/mandeepsanghera">Mandeep Sanghera - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 22 Jun 06, 12:20 PM

mandeep_sanghera.gifFRANKFURT - Don't ask me why but I've found myself watching German football entertainment/comedy shows on telly a couple of times.

As I don't speak German, I haven't got a clue what they're babbling on about but the fact that they're taking the mickey out of events at the World Cup still draws me in.

And despite the language gap, it's obvious some elements of football humour are the same as back home.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/suggest_an_england_track_follo.html">Suggest an England track - follow-up

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paulatherton">Paul Atherton - Match of the Day journalist
  • 22 Jun 06, 12:01 PM

paul_atherton.gifWow, what a response! Thanks to everyone who %3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/post_9.html">suggested a piece of music to accompany an England montage.

There were some brilliant suggestions and people clearly put a lot of thought into it. It looks like you lot are as passionate about your music as you are about football!

Make sure you look out for our coverage of England v Ecuador on BBC ONE on Sunday to see what music was used.

I’ll follow this up again next week with one of the producers who will explain what music he/she chose, and why.
And if you have any other music suggestions for any upcoming games (Togo v France anyone?), then please do let us know!

Oh, and here's a little %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/5106006.stm">football chants quiz you might want to try.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/the_other_side_of_the_world_cu.html">The other side of the World Cup

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/nigeladderley">Nigel Adderley - Five Live correspondent
  • 22 Jun 06, 09:51 AM

nigel_adderley.gifLEIPZIG - %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/5102844.stm">Iran verses %3Ca%20href="http://angola.worldcupblog.org/group-d/proud-of-the-palancas-proud-of-angola.html">Angola never looked like a match which would live long in the memory and the quality of the football in the Zentralstzadion means it certainly won't, but it at least showed that even in the cut-throat, mercenary world football now chooses to live in, the Olympian ideal of simply taking part re-sufaces now and again.

Iran were already out but it didn't stop thousand of their fans clogging up Leipzig's pretty market places at lunchtime, while Angola had a slim chance of beating Mexico into second place but in their heart of hearts they seemed to know they weren't going to be good enough.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/bruce_arenas_evening_stroll.html">Bruce Arena's evening stroll

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paulfletcher">Paul Fletcher - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 22 Jun 06, 12:15 AM

paul_fletcher.gif NUREMBERG - You, the readers, %3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/a_football_quandry.html">decided that we should watch Holland versus Argentina on a big screen rather than try to buy tickets for a dead-rubber match between Ivory Coast and Serbia & Montenegro at the Allianz Arena in Munich.

One was a fairly low-key draw between two teams keeping their powder dry for forthcoming encounters, the other sounded like an electrifying match betweens two sides desperate to leave the tournament with some points.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/post_9.html">Any suggestions for England music?

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paulatherton">Paul Atherton - Match of the Day journalist
  • 21 Jun 06, 04:44 PM

paul_atherton.gifIBC, MUNICH – Every week we receive hundreds of emails about music used on BBC Sport coverage. Here assistant producer Sarah Williams explains the process behind picking a piece of music.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/where_will_you_be_watching.html">Where will you be watching?

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/blogeditor">Blog Editor - Sport Interactive
  • 21 Jun 06, 03:41 PM

LONDON - Joe and his friends have been blogging about their attempts to watch every single World Cup game - and as many as possible in a bar supporting one of the nationalities playing. Their trip to London's Dean Street last night is %3Ca%20href="http://www.worldcuppubcrawl.blogspot.com/">a sorry tale of disappointment of which all landlords should take note.

Mark, who had the same idea,%3Ca%20href="http://www.worldcupinonecity.com/"> had more luck in a Sikh pub Southall.

England's 4pm match against Ecuador on Sunday promises to bring bumper takings for the country's pubs.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/my_legs_hurt_1.html">My legs hurt

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/martinrichardson">Martin Richardson - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 21 Jun 06, 03:11 PM

MartinAUTOBAHN A6, RICHTING NUREMBERG – Ulm Munster has the tallest church tower in the world, it stands 161.53m high and has 768 steps, and this morning we sweated all the way to the top.

Not such heartfelt thanks are due to blog reader James who directed us towards it when we asked for things we should do on our way to Nuremberg.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/goooooal_1.html">Goooooal!

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/blogeditor">Blog Editor - Sport Interactive
  • 21 Jun 06, 02:58 PM

Here's the latest picture post from our guest contributor, sports photographer Ross Kinnaird of %3Ca%20href="http://www.gettyimages.com/worldcup">Getty Images, who got a great snap of the second Sweden goal last night - red shirts woefully absent!

What makes a good goal picture? For me it's a bit like making a omelette. Eggs, cheese, onion and a little chilli. My perfect omelette! It's the same for a goal picture - there are four main ingredients and when you put them all together you have the "perfect" goal picture (not necessarily the perfect picture).
So, take:

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/england_fans_rock_on_the_river.html">England fans rock on the River Rhine

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/celinahinchcliffe">Celina Hinchcliffe - Match of the Day reporter
  • 21 Jun 06, 01:37 PM

celina_hinchcliffe2.gif COLOGNE TRAIN STATION - It was tough getting any sleep last night. England fans were partying in the Cathedral square, right outside our hotel.

They were in full voice til about 4am and then started again at 6. As I opened my curtains this morning, I could see some of their St George flags still blowing - Stoke City, Hull City boys on Tour: Gaz, Phil, Pete and Darren and Worksop Owls.

I was at the game last night, such a privilege. I was perfectly placed, looking right down the barrel for %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/world_cup_2006/5062160.stm?goalid=500127">Joe Cole's stunning opener. But what struck me was England's lack of width - and that has been the real buzzword out here around the in-form teams.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/england_fans_winning_over_germ.html">England fans winning over German kids

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/claireheald">Claire Heald - News Interactive journalist
  • 21 Jun 06, 12:56 PM

claire_heald66.gifCOLOGNE - A whopping 85,000 England fans made it here for the match, the latest figures guestimate from officials.

But before the biggest crowd so far packed the stadium and city, one group of fans made it to a local school to teach the German children a few football songs. And it wasn’t like assembly in my day.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/which_knockout_games_will_be_o.html">Which knockout games will be on the BBC?

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/blogeditor">Blog Editor - Sport Interactive
  • 21 Jun 06, 12:40 PM

We've had a few questions about our coverage going into the knockout phase of the tournament.
So I've got this from the boss, Roger, this morning:

All of England's remaining games are guaranteed to be on BBC television, radio and broadband. In terms of the TV split with ITV: we have the Ecuador game and any England quarter-final to ourselves. An England semi-final or (getting carried away) final would be shown by both of us. We can stream on broadband all BBC TV games - and Five Live has, of course, got the lot. As for all the remaining non-England games in the second round - we don't yet know which will be on the BBC and which will be on ITV - but hope to soon and will let you know when we can.

We'll update our %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/world_cup_2006/schedule/default.stm">schedule page with the details when we have them.
Claire S, blog editor.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/muddling_through.html">Muddling through

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paularmstrong">Paul Armstrong, Editor, Match of the Day
  • 21 Jun 06, 10:32 AM

paul_armstrong_55x55.gifBERLIN - Once again, setting aside our personal feelings, England’s result was satisfactory, in that they won the group. An England v Germany clash on Saturday would have been enormous, but would have presented us with a few headaches.

The split with ITV gives us sole live coverage of England’s second-round game. We will have a studio on site but are happier with Stuttgart on Sunday rather than Munich on Saturday. Like the team, we could use an extra day’s preparation time.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/the_plugs_dont_work.html">The plugs don't work

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/philmcnulty">Phil McNulty - Sport Online chief football writer
  • 21 Jun 06, 08:19 AM

phil_mcnulty.gifCOLOGNE - It was night of tension and high drama that left those at the centre of the action knee-deep in chewed fingernails at the final whistle - and that was just in the media tribune.

England made it through to the second round with a draw against Sweden, but not without a few serious scares and nervous moments along the way.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/england_in_ulm.html">England in Ulm

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paulfletcher">Paul Fletcher - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 21 Jun 06, 12:12 AM

paul_fletcher.gif ULM - I met a Swedish fan at the start of the tournament who had a T-shirt that read "Sweden 2-2 England - agreed?".

Well, it may have been agreed or it may not have been agreed but at the end it was indeed 2-2.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/mark_and_teds_excellent_advent.html">Mark and Ted's excellent adventure

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/claireheald">Claire Heald - News Interactive journalist
  • 20 Jun 06, 07:20 PM

claire_heald66.gifCOLOGNE - This city is a 70,000 strong throng of England fans, but two friendly faces caught my eye in the England fans area today - Mark Perry and Ted Burke.

Last time I saw these two, they were preparing their %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/5042984.stm">World Cup campaign to drive round Germany in Vanessa the Camper Van, spreading fan friendship.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/oneill_or_no_oneillim_ready_fo.html">Got a question for Martin O'Neill?

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/glenlevy">Glen Levy, Match of the Day assistant producer
  • 20 Jun 06, 06:46 PM

glen_levy.gif BERLIN - The next subject of our popular Q&A sessions will be with ex-Celtic manager and BBC pundit, Martin O’Neill. Please feel free to post your questions below.

I'm sure you will want to quiz him about the football, but if you’re interested in what films, literature and music Martin’s into, this is also your chance to find out!


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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/keep_on_trucking.html">Keep on trucking

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/martinrichardson">Martin Richardson - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 20 Jun 06, 06:39 PM

Martin A CAR/CAMPER VAN PARK, ULM - Being on the road quite a lot has meant we've missed out on watching a lot of the footie, but with the games getting more interesting at the end of the group stage we're determined to halt that trend.

So, at four this afternoon we pulled off the motorway and wandered into the services in the hope of seeing Germany take on Ecuador.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/inside_the_world_of_five_live.html">Inside the world of Five Live

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/jamesbridgeman">James Bridgeman
  • 20 Jun 06, 05:46 PM

james_bridgeman.gif COLOGNE - What a set of guests we've had on in the last 24 hours.

Tony Blair co-presented 606 last night with Adrian Chiles %3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/fivelive/programmes/606.shtml">(well worth a download if you haven't heard it), Sir Geoff Hurst was on Breakfast, Paul Jewell on Victoria's phone-in, swiftly followed by Craig Brown, and then Frank Skinner and David Baddiel came along to entertain us all for half an hour before lunch.

I must admit it was rather weird to see %3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/fivelive/presenters/derbyshirev_biog.shtml">Victoria Derbyshire signing autographs - for Frank Skinner!

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/a_mosey_round_the_ibc_1.html">A Mosey round the media centre

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paulatherton">Paul Atherton - Match of the Day journalist
  • 20 Jun 06, 03:26 PM

paul_atherton.gifIBC, MUNICH – The BBC’s director of sport %3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/sporteditors/2006/04/about_the_authors.html">Roger Mosey popped into the International Broadcast Centre on Sunday night to see Match of the Day’s Munich operation in full flow. I took the opportunity to get his %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/shared/spl/hi/predictor/html/football/world_cup_06/default.stm">predictions for our office World Cup sweep.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/stern_faces_at_badenbaden.html">Stern faces at Baden-Baden

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paulfletcher">Paul Fletcher - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 20 Jun 06, 12:55 PM

paul_fletcher.gif BUHLERHOHE SCHLOSSHOTEL, BADEN-BADEN - Lots has already been said, filmed and written about the official %3Ca%20href="http://www.thefa.com/WorldCup2006/England/EnglandsBase/">England team hotel in the mountains outside Baden Baden.

But with the England team away in Cologne, Ricco and I thought we would pop along to see if we could get any interesting chat off the staff there.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/eye_witness_account_of_cologne_1.html">Eye witness account of Cologne skirmish

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/blogeditor">Blog Editor - Sport Interactive
  • 20 Jun 06, 10:30 AM

Joe is a student who has travelled to Cologne for the World Cup and is %3Ca%20href="http://aloneincologne.wordpress.com/">writing about his experiences on one of the blogs we've been linking to. He was caught up in %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/5097208.stm">the trouble last night. Here's an extract:

The riot police ran 20 yards towards the English and were relentless in their clubbing. As I ran out of the way the cover to my phone fell off. After only perhaps 30 seconds of chasing that wave finished. I was recording the events on my phone alongside a Croation news team. Then the police came back in a wave and a riot policeman knocked my to the floor as I searched for my mobile phone cover.
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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/maradona_mayhem.html">Maradona mayhem

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/mandeepsanghera">Mandeep Sanghera - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 20 Jun 06, 03:48 AM

mandeep_sanghera.gifThere I am sitting in the press box reporting on the Brazil v Australia game and who goes and strolls past me and takes up a pew a few rows down from me - just the great Diego Maradona.

Naturally, he came up to me and asked about how I was doing and asked after my family before arranging to hook up so we could trade stories and football tricks. I WISH!!

The big man (or not so big anymore) was puffing on a cigar and had been given a seat in amongst the crowd. What a shocker.

I thought this was asking for trouble - and indeed suddenly cameras and people popped out from nowhere to get a glimpse or shot of him.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/life_in_england_camp.html">Life in England Camp

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paulfletcher">Paul Fletcher - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 20 Jun 06, 12:30 AM

paul_fletcher.gif ENGLAND CAMP, ACHERN - Compared to the rest of our journey through Germany our life in %3Ca%20href="http://www.englandcamp.com/">England Camp got off to the most unusual start.

After days of melting in the hot sun our arrival was greeted by a thunderstorm of biblical proportions. The fencing blew over, the bar area flooded, the big screen went off and the visitors chanted "It's just like being at home".

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/liverpool_trio_meet_an_old_fri.html">Liverpool trio meet an old friend

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/philmcnulty">Phil McNulty - Sport Online chief football writer
  • 19 Jun 06, 07:42 PM

phil_mcnulty.gifCOLOGNE - It was just like old times for Liverpool duo Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher, along with former Anfield team-mate Michael Owen, as England prepared to train in Cologne.

As they came out of the tunnel to start the session they were greeted by former Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier, now at Lyon but working at the World Cup as he prepares for next season.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/a_football_quandry.html">A football quandary

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/martinrichardson">Martin Richardson - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 19 Jun 06, 02:21 PM

MartinON THE ROAD AGAIN IN BAVARIA - We've left Munich now and are heading back to Stuttgart to do some filming with Celina Hinchcliffe and her touring BBC crew - keep your eyes peeled for us on the MOTD highlights some time this week and check out the %3Ca%20href="#" onClick="javascript: void window.open('http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediaselector/check/sol/ukfs_sport/hi/av?redirect=fs.stm&nbram=1&bbram=1&nbwm=1&bbwm=1&news=1&nol_storyid= 5097060,'console','toolbar=0,location=0,status=0,menubar=0,scrollbars=0,resizable=0,width=681,height=487');return false;">video- and after a night in the England fans' camp near Baden-Baden we're going to take the scenic route towards Nuremberg.

But we are undecided on what to do with ourselves on Wednesday evening.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/end_of_an_era_1.html">End of an era ?

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/nigeladderley">Nigel Adderley - Five Live correspondent
  • 19 Jun 06, 11:25 AM

nigel_adderley.gifLEIPZIG - He trudged off after his second yellow card of the tournament, ripped off his captain´s arm-band and tossed it towards the bench. Is that the last we´ll see of Zinedine Zidane on a football pitch ?

His laboured performance summed up the mood of a nation. England may not be world beaters on current form but at least they´re winning. The French body languages suggests there´s plenty going wrong beneath the surface.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/anyone_need_a_swapsie.html">Anyone need a swapsie ?

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/matthewroberts">Matthew Roberts - Match of the Day producer
  • 19 Jun 06, 11:05 AM

matthew_roberts.gifCOLOGNE Because 69-year-old Frau Betz has well over a million football stickers - and it looked like almost as many left to swap. We went and filmed her last week for a piece for Match of the Day and we've been talking about little else since.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/kolsch_whets_the_whistle.html">Kolsch whets the whistle

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/claireheald">Claire Heald - News Interactive journalist
  • 19 Jun 06, 10:46 AM

claire_heald66.gif COLOGNE - If there was an international football party circuit, Cologne would be on it. With its famous %3Ca%20href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C3%B6lsch_%28beer%29">Kolsch beer, %3Ca%20href="http://www.koeln.de/tourismus/en">pretty sights, and an eclectic stumble of fans, it has buzzed with good-natured banter all weekend.

Every time you turn the corner of a beerhaus-lined street in the old town it’s to find more and more of the latest guests are England fans – and %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/5093118.stm">the police have told us they hope they will behave.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/cheer_up_michael_owen_1.html">Cheer up Michael Owen

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paulfletcher">Paul Fletcher - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 19 Jun 06, 10:15 AM

paul_fletcher.gif MUNICH - Based on the performances of the England team in their opening two games there are many issues that need resolving.

Not least of these is the form of Michael Owen - so with this in mind Ricco and I went to visit the scene of one of his greatest performances.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/the_desperate_search_for_ticke.html">The desperate search for tickets

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paulfletcher">Paul Fletcher - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 18 Jun 06, 11:45 PM

paul_fletcher.gif MUNICH - There was real tension outside the ground as Brazil prepared to face Australia - and it wasn't about the match.

The sheer number of people hanging around outside looking for tickets really took me by surprise.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/we_all_love_the_germans.html">We all love the Germans!

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/laurasmithspark">Laura Smith-Spark - News Interactive journalist
  • 18 Jun 06, 03:49 PM

laura_smithspark.gifIsn’t it funny how 10 days of football can change so many people’s ideas about other nations?

I never expected to hear so many voices from around the world say how great the Germans are. I also didn’t expect the World Cup to be quite such an international love-in.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/world_cup_lookalikes.html">World Cup look-alikes

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paulatherton">Paul Atherton - Match of the Day journalist
  • 18 Jun 06, 03:43 PM

paul_atherton.gifIBC, MUNICH – There’s a football pundit on German TV who looks uncannily like %3Ca%20href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jackie_Stewart">Jackie Stewart.

I discovered today he is former West Germany international %3Ca%20href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%BCnther_Netzer">Gunter Netzer. He seems to be their number one pundit (in fact, possibly their only pundit) – Germany’s answer to Alan Hansen I reckon.

Has anyone else got any good World Cup look-alikes?

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/rooney_stars_behind_closed_doo.html">Rooney stars behind closed doors

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/philmcnulty">Phil McNulty - Sport Online chief football writer
  • 18 Jun 06, 02:19 PM

phil_mcnulty.gifBADEN-BADEN - England's "open" training sessions in front of the media are hardly the most informative of affairs.

The 15 minutes allotted usually allows you enough time to confirm international footballers can run, stretch, jump, and play a clever little game where one player stands in the middle and his team-mates torment him by passing the ball around him.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/samba_beat_hits_munich.html">Samba beat hits Munich

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/martinrichardson">Martin Richardson - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 18 Jun 06, 01:17 PM

Martin MUNiCH - Arriving in Munich we've walked straight into another massive party, the Brazilians and Aussies are in town for their match on Sunday.

As every other first time visitor to the city, Fletch and I made a bee-line for the %3Ca%20href="http://www.discover-munich.info/sightseeing_hofbrauhaus.htm">Hofbrauhaus to try and get something to eat and drink.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/meeting_my_hero_waddle_in_ktow.html">Meeting My Hero Waddle in K-Town

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/celinahinchcliffe">Celina Hinchcliffe - Match of the Day reporter
  • 18 Jun 06, 11:57 AM

celina_hinchcliffe2.gif HEIDELBERG - They say never meet your heroes because they will only disappoint you. Well when I saw him shimmy out of the commentary box after the Italy USA game, I knew that wasn't going to be the case.

Chris Waddle hadn't lost his touch.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/gerrard_unconcerned_about_roya.html">Gerrard unmoved by Honours snub

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/philmcnulty">Phil McNulty - Sport Online chief football writer
  • 17 Jun 06, 05:57 PM

phil_mcnulty.gifBADEN-BADEN - Steven Gerrard was clearly unaware of a little bit of local difficulty brewing back in his home town over Liverpool's snub in the Queen's Birthday Honours list.

There is apparently a renewed outcry on Merseyside that another round of gongs have gone by without Gerrard or Liverpool being rewarded for the Champions League win against AC Milan last year.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/us_fans_at_home_in_ktown_1.html">US fans at home in K-town

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/laurasmithspark">Laura Smith-Spark - News Interactive journalist
  • 17 Jun 06, 04:31 PM

laura_smithspark.gif
KAISERSLAUTERN – The streets of this %3Ca%20href="http://fifaworldcup.yahoo.com/06/en/d/c/kaiserslautern.html">sleepy town are filling up again ahead of tonight’s match between Italy and the US.

Whoever’s in charge of the music pumping out from the loudspeakers is obviously keen to keep all comers happy - at least until the final whistle – with an unusual playlist combining Italian folk music with Springsteen’s Born in the USA.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/snippets_from_the_dutch_camp.html">Snippets from the Dutch camp

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paulfletcher">Paul Fletcher - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 17 Jun 06, 02:54 PM

paul_fletcher.gif MUNICH - As we travelled south this morning I pulled up at traffic lights on the outskirts of Stuttgart.

Another camper van stopped alongside me. The driver, resplendent in orange, turned towards me so I said "hello" - what I did not expect was his reply.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/lost_earplugs_1.html">Lost earplugs

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/mandeepsanghera">Mandeep Sanghera - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 17 Jun 06, 02:30 PM

mandeep_sanghera.gifBefore I left for the World Cup our departmental administrator Kofi chucked some packets of earplugs my way.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/that_was_the_best_golfer_ever.html">That was the best golfer ever

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/blogeditor">Blog Editor - Sport Interactive
  • 17 Jun 06, 01:54 PM

LONDON - A colleague had the luxury of watching the first half of the Argentina game in a London pub, where they had subtitles on the telly (it was full of old blokes). Chris writes:

Not that I want to have a laugh at the BBC's expense, but there were some absolute classics. Being an old school journalist, I happened to have pen and paper on me and took them down....

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/england_v_brazil_kind_of.html">England V Brazil. Kind Of.

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/glenlevy">Glen Levy, Match of the Day assistant producer
  • 17 Jun 06, 11:38 AM

glen_levy.gifBERLIN - I've already alluded to the unofficial World Cup which is taking place - when work commitments allow - in our table football area. Well, not so much an area as a gap between the water cooler and the photocopier but you know what I mean.
Yesterday, a match of simply epic proportions took place between Ian Wright of England and Leonardo of Brazil.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/dutch_party_1.html">Oranje boom

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/martinrichardson">Martin Richardson - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 17 Jun 06, 10:37 AM

MartinON THE MOTORWAY HEADING TOWARDS MUNICH - The Dutch are here in Germany in force, that much I can confirm.

The thousands upon thousands without tickets for the Ivory Coast match in Stuttgart crammed into the city centre's Schlossplatz and partied hard once qualification for the second round was assured.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/post_7.html">One-nil to the BBC

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paularmstrong">Paul Armstrong, Editor, Match of the Day
  • 16 Jun 06, 08:40 PM

paul_armstrong_55x55.gifBERLIN: All’s fair in love and ratings

Peter Crouch’s late goal yesterday was greeted with joy unconfined here in our Berlin studios. Even amongst the non-English contingent. We now know for certain that we will be covering at least one more England match live, and that our very own selection gamble has paid off.

The BBC and ITV bought the UK rights jointly, and divided up the live coverage in a meeting after the draw. We had only one group game – the opener v Paraguay – in return for first choice of 2nd round and quarter-final matches. An England semi would be transmitted by both channels, as will the final.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/my_new_favourite_hobby.html">My new favourite hobby

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/martinrichardson">Martin Richardson - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 16 Jun 06, 06:49 PM

MartinA SAUSAGE SHOP, STUTTGART HAUPTBAHNHOF - Not that I expect the remotest bit of sympathy from you dear blog reader, but it can be very frustrating being outside a stadium when a World Cup match is on with no prospect of getting in.

For the second time in a week Fletch is happily settled in his press seat, while I have to glumly drag myself away from the ground and towards an establishment with a TV.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/argentinian_ecstasy.html">Argentine Ecstasy

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/celinahinchcliffe">Celina Hinchcliffe - Match of the Day reporter
  • 16 Jun 06, 06:14 PM

celina_hinchcliffe2.gif AUFSCHALKE STADIUM, GELSENKIRCHEN - I've just watched the most beautiful football of my life at the AufSchalke stadium. %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/world_cup_2006/4853028.stm">Argentina were scintillating against Serbia and Montenegro.
The stands were full of banners proclaiming Messi as the new Maradona - both their pictures side by side.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/when_rooney_took_his_world_cup.html">When Rooney took his World Cup bow

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/blogeditor">Blog Editor - Sport Interactive
  • 16 Jun 06, 05:28 PM

LONDON - Here's the latest entry from our guest blogger, Ross Kinnaird, the %3Ca%20href="http://corporate.gettyimages.com/marketing/Sport2006/pages/usa/FIFA.asp">Getty Images sports photographer whose %3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/how_to_get_a_head_shot_1.html">last entry created a bit of a debate on the merits, or otherwise, of digitially manipulating images.

His latest snap shows Sven-Goran Eriksson briefing Wayne Rooney as he prepares to make his first appearance versus Trinidad & Tobago.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/living_the_dream.html">Living the dream

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paulatherton">Paul Atherton - Match of the Day journalist
  • 16 Jun 06, 04:04 PM

paul_atherton.gifIBC, MUNICH – It’s not just the likes of me who can’t believe their luck at working on the World Cup – even the presenters keep pinching themselves! Here are Adrian Chiles’ thoughts on working on Match of the Day in Berlin:

If there's one thing worse than anyone being smug, it's a television presenter being smug. But sorry folks, here goes: I am in paradise. Paradise.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/therell_be_dancing_in_the_stre_.html">"There'll be dancing in the streets of Quito......"

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/nigeladderley">Nigel Adderley - Five Live correspondent
  • 16 Jun 06, 03:10 PM

nigel_adderley.gifHAMBURG - Salute magnificent Ecuador! Their fans who drank the buffet car dry by mid-morning on the train up from Berlin were determined to enjoy the World Cup experience and were adamant their players were about to make history. I only hope the bloke who had to be rolled along the platform by his mates once we got to Hamburg had sobered up by kick-off for what most in yellow said was the greatest day of their lives.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/we_are_the_champions.html">"We are the champions"

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/jamesbridgeman">James Bridgeman
  • 16 Jun 06, 03:00 PM

james_bridgeman.gif NUREMBERG - I've experienced something I never thought I'd ever see.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/moyles_in_germany.html">Moyles in Germany

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paulfletcher">Paul Fletcher - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 16 Jun 06, 02:31 PM

paul_fletcher.gif STUTTGART - The Chris Moyles Radio One breakfast show is being broadcast from here in Germany so we went to visit them this morning to see how it is all going.

Perched high in the hills, Svan took his time tackling some of the gradients - especially as a few wrong turns were involved - but we made it eventually.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/waynes_a_blessing_and_a_curse.html">Wayne's a blessing and a curse

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/philmcnulty">Phil McNulty - Sport Online chief football writer
  • 16 Jun 06, 01:19 PM

phil_mcnulty.gifBADEN-BADEN - A journey down the autobahn in the early hours from Nuremberg to Baden-Baden was the perfect opportunity to ponder the near-debacle we witnessed in the Frankenstadion.

And to weigh up the Wayne Rooney effect on England - both good and bad.

Rooney's very presence on the touchline was a blessing and curse for England and their players during the game against Trinidad and Tobago.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/making_his_mark.html">Making his Mark

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/tomgeoghegan">Tom Geoghegan - News Interactive journalist
  • 16 Jun 06, 12:10 AM

tom_geoghegan.gifraven_203.jpg
NUREMBERG - Among the estimated 50,000 England fans who were in the city today for the match was Mark Raven, 37, from Sussex (right).

Mark lost the sight in one eye in 1993 after being hit by a rock thrown by Turkey fans in Izmir. Such a loss would have understandably deterred some people from following England again but instead it hardened his resolve to "not let them win".

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/england_with_the_klinsmanns.html">England with the Klinsmanns

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paulfletcher">Paul Fletcher - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 15 Jun 06, 11:00 PM

paul_fletcher.gifA CARPARK, SORRY CAMPSITE, STUTTGART - Ricco and I went to find the %3Ca%20href="http://www.klinsmann.us/bakery.htm">Klinsmann family bakery in the Stuttgart suburb of Botnang this afternoon.

Alas, Thursday just happened to be the %3Ca%20href="http://www.germany.info/relaunch/welcome/travel/holidays.html">Corpus Christi holiday in this part of Germany and the place was closed - but that was definitely not the end of the story.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/bloggers_get_predicting.html">Bloggers on the block

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/blogeditor">Blog Editor - Sport Interactive
  • 15 Jun 06, 06:05 PM

LONDON - You won't know this yet, but we've set up a friendly prediction league between our bloggers.

There are no prizes. There are no forfeits, just pride among sport journalists. And lot's of it.

We've used Five Live's Challenge Lawro (you know that Mark Lawrenson chap from the TV) to get our league going and the early front runners were Five Live's very own Nigel Adderley and a certain blog editor.

Perhaps more importantly, Fletch is well ahead of Ricco so things could turn nasty in their mobile home Svan. %3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/fivelive/challengelawro/worldcup/league_bbcsport.shtml?season=2006">Check out the latest standings here.

Alex T, blog editor

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/spanish_serenade.html">Spanish serenade

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/bridgetchandler">Bridget Chandler
  • 15 Jun 06, 01:43 PM

Afternoon folks,
Hope you're all enjoying the blog today - I've had a call from Nigel Adderley who is mortified to think anyone reading his %3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/30m_are_you_having_a_laugh_1.html">blog entry about the Spain Ukraine match last night mistook his comments about Andriy Shevchenko..

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/arrests_but_the_party_goes_on.html">Arrests - but the party goes on

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/laurasmithspark">Laura Smith-Spark - News Interactive journalist
  • 15 Jun 06, 01:08 PM

DORTMUND – It was certainly a lively night in the city, with over 400 arrests and more van-loads of police in riot gear than I’ve ever seen in my life before.

It seems that when the German police move in, they do it in numbers.

But the clampdown on suspected hooligans and drunken fans was only a part of the picture.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/causing_trouble_1.html">Causing trouble

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paulfletcher">Paul Fletcher - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 15 Jun 06, 12:29 PM

paul_fletcher.gifA MOTORWAY, TOWARDS STUTTGART - Fresh from doing three-point turns on the finishing straight at %3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/svan_goes_racing.html">Hockenheim on Wednesday, we are now heading further south.

Last night we watched Germany's narrow win over Poland in the beautiful town of Heidelberg, but the evening was not without its more unsavoury aspects.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/england_drowned_out_by_german.html">England drowned out by German din

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/philmcnulty">Phil McNulty - Sport Online chief football writer
  • 15 Jun 06, 10:18 AM

phil_mcnulty.gifNUREMBERG - England’s World Cup base near Baden-Baden is equipped with all mod cons – most crucially the technology to watch their usual television channels from home.

Wayne can keep up with his personal favourite Coronation Street, thus not losing track of which murderer, abuser, poison pen writer, or general all-round bad egg Gail Tilsley’s got herself involved with in the last fortnight.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/svan_goes_racing_the_movie.html">Svan goes racing - the movie!

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/martinrichardson">Martin Richardson - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 15 Jun 06, 10:06 AM

MartinHEIDELBERG - It's another fine morning in Germany and I think my adrenalin has finally stopped pumping after the %3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/svan_goes_racing.html">Hockenheim experience, but it'll get going again ahead of the England game, I'm sure.

Check out our %3Ca%20href="#" onClick="javascript: void window.open('http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediaselector/check/sol/ukfs_sport/hi/av?redirect=fs.stm&nbram=1&bbram=1&nbwm=1&bbwm=1&news=1&nol_storyid=5082708','console','toolbar=0,location=0,status=0,menubar=0,scrollbars=0,resizable=0,width=681,height=487');return false;">video of Svan tackling the turns of a Grand Prix circuit - I wonder what our advanced driving instructor %3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/05/carry_on_camper_van.html">Ronny would think of it...

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/post_6.html">Tor! Tor! Tor!*

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paularmstrong">Paul Armstrong, Editor, Match of the Day
  • 15 Jun 06, 09:26 AM

paul_armstrong_55x55.gif BERLIN: I know that the BBC has to be neutral, but I must admit to celebrating that dramatic late German winner last night. I’m also really enjoying %3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/answer_to_some_of_your_questio_1.html">all the feedback and reaction we’re getting through this site.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/30m_are_you_having_a_laugh_1.html">£30m - are you having a laugh

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/nigeladderley">Nigel Adderley - Five Live correspondent
  • 15 Jun 06, 08:53 AM

nigel_adderley.gifLEIPZIG - Diego Maradona's presence as a pundit created chaos in the press box ahead of the %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/world_cup_2006/4852902.stm">Spain v Ukraine game as his security entourage seemed determined to stop anyone else from doing their jobs. But nothing could disguise Spain's terrific start to the tournament - or Andriy Shevchenko's disappointment.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/svan_goes_racing.html">Svan goes racing

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/martinrichardson">Martin Richardson - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 14 Jun 06, 07:54 PM

MartinHEIDELBERG - We've had two heroes on our blog journey today, %3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/svan_on_the_move.html">Herr Schacher, whose magic fingers helped get Svan up and running this morning, and %3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/anxious_wait_for_svan.html">Sib who suggested we head to the Hockenheim Grand Prix circuit to test out the repair.

Quickly confirming that this was en route, we hit the road and headed south from Frankfurt.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/svens_world_cup_sideshow.html">Sven's World Cup sideshow

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/philmcnulty">Phil McNulty - Sport Online chief football writer
  • 14 Jun 06, 06:08 PM

phil_mcnulty.gifNUREMBERG - Sven-Goran Eriksson's closing press conferences of his reign as England manager have been among the most intriguing and entertaining during his time in charge.

From presenting a Sir Geoffrey Boycott-style dead bat to most inquiries for the last five years, Sven has suddenly opened up. A little bit of controversy here. A little bit of humour there.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/more_chins_than_shots.html">More chins than shots?

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/nigeladderley">Nigel Adderley - Five Live correspondent
  • 14 Jun 06, 06:02 PM

nigel_adderley.gif BERLIN - I was commentating on the %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/world_cup_2006/5078194.stm">Brazil v Croatia game for Five Live last night.
And though the samba beat was throbbing under the Brandenburg Gate into the early hours - the mood among the Brazilian fans suggested they felt short-changed by the World Champions.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/how_to_spot_a_fake_ticket.html">How to spot a fake ticket

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/blogeditor">Blog Editor - Sport Interactive
  • 14 Jun 06, 05:54 PM

LONDON - If you are on the lookout for England tickets - %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/world_cup_2006/5079948.stm">check this out before you buy.


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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/trainspotting.html">Trainspotting

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/laurasmithspark">Laura Smith-Spark - News Interactive journalist
  • 14 Jun 06, 04:40 PM

laura_smithspark.gifDORTMUND – The Polish are out in force ahead of tonight’s game. Coming out of the Hauptbahnhof (central station) were plenty of fellas in their Poland kit – but also a fair few female fans in tiny tops and mini skirts. All in team colours of course - sadly I didn’t manage to get a photo before they disappeared into the crowd.

I was also startled by what some of the Croatian ladies were wearing (or not) yesterday in Frankfurt as they faced %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/world_cup_2006/4852868.stm">Brazil.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/come_on_feel_the_noise.html">Come on feel the noise

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paulatherton">Paul Atherton - Match of the Day journalist
  • 14 Jun 06, 04:29 PM

paul_atherton.gif
IBC, MUNICH – The fun thing about watching games at the International Broadcast Centre is hearing cheers echo around the building when a goal’s been scored.

Even though the IBC is broadcasting to millions of people around the world, any football fan knows it’s virtually impossible to contain yourself when your team scores.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/how_to_get_a_head_shot_1.html">How to get a head (shot)

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/blogeditor">Blog Editor - Sport Interactive
  • 14 Jun 06, 03:06 PM

In his latest guest post, %3Ca%20href="http://www.gettyimages.com/worldcup">Getty Images photographer Ross Kinnaird reveals how he tries to liven up stock media conferences with a more creative approach.

DavidBeckamGetty140606_2.jpg


I’ve been attending quite a few press conferences and training sessions in the %3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/wayne_wayne_go_away.html">build-up to the next England match tomorrow (Thursday) and this image is just one of many I’ve been having some fun with – capturing static head shots can be quite soul-numbing for a sports photographer after a few days so I always like to experiment!
It took me four or five attempts to get this effect, using a 70 - 200 mm lens, shot at a 15th of a second F8 (no flash allowed at the conference). My biggest challenge was to get the camera to swivel on a central and static point. Any lateral movements blur the whole image.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/svan_on_the_move.html">Svan on the move

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paulfletcher">Paul Fletcher - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 14 Jun 06, 01:08 PM

paul_fletcher.gif A GARAGE FORECOURT, DREIEICH-OFFENTHAL - Magic mechanic Schacher has installed the new immobiliser part in Svan and we are on the move again.

%3Ca%20href="http://a%20href="#" onClick="javascript: void window.open('http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediaselector/check/sol/ukfs_sport/hi/av?redirect=fs.stm&nbram=1&bbram=1&nbwm=1&bbwm=1&news=1&nol_storyid=5081596','console','toolbar=0,location=0,status=0,menubar=0,scrollbars=0,resizable=0,width=681,height=487');return false;"">Watch the video.

We are heading south, stopping for the night near Hockenheim, where Ricco will do his best %3Ca%20href="http://www.topgear.com/content/timetoburn/sections/videos/18/chooseconnection.html">Jeremy Clarkson impression, driving Svan around the %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/formula_one/circuit_guide/4251659.stm">Formula One racetrack.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/wayne_wayne_go_away.html">Wayne, Wayne go away?

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/philmcnulty">Phil McNulty - Sport Online chief football writer
  • 14 Jun 06, 01:07 PM

phil_mcnulty.gifON A BUS BOUND FOR NUREMBERG - Wayne Rooney is definitely playing. He looks in fantastic shape and it's great to see him with the England number nine shirt on again.

Sadly, it is only on the dvd currently keeping us entertained on the three-hour drive from Baden-Baden to Nuremberg, a morale-boosting repeat showing of England's 3-2 win against Argentina in Geneva.

A replay perhaps, but proof again that no matter where you look, there is no escaping Rooney.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/a_wright_dess_youve_got_me_int.html">A Wright Mess You've Got Me Into

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/glenlevy">Glen Levy, Match of the Day assistant producer
  • 14 Jun 06, 12:07 PM

BERLIN - Tomorrow marks part one of an exclusive interview with Ian Wright for the World Cup Daily. He was honest and forthright and I hope you enjoy watching the results (the video will be available from tomorrow).

And take a bow Messrs. Cobley, Zasikowski, Wilkinson, Newbold, Dobbie and Barnes for your questions. Ian was impressed with you all. I’m more than happy to take your suggestions for which pundit you would like to quiz next…the results of which should be seen on the Daily next week.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/crossing_the_border.html">Crossing the border

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/celinahinchcliffe">Celina Hinchcliffe - Match of the Day reporter
  • 14 Jun 06, 11:22 AM

celina_hinchcliffe2.gif BERLIN MAIN STATION - I'm crossing the border today, travelling to Poland, from where I will watch their match against Germany in Dortmund tonight. We're heading for %3Ca%20href="http://www.city.poznan.pl/mim/strony/turystyka/index.html?lang=en">Poznan. I know it's the birthplace of Polish striker %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/world_cup_2006/5069588.stm">Maciej Zurawski, and famous for its male choirs so hopefully the fans will be in full voice this evening.

Does anyone out there know much about Poznan? Let me know if you do. Also I was at the Brazil game last night - can anybody in Brazil tell us what your media made of it??

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/svans_appointment_with_destiny_1.html">Svan's appointment with destiny

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paulfletcher">Paul Fletcher - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 14 Jun 06, 11:22 AM

paul_fletcher.gifDREIEICH-OFFENTHAL - OK, so the %3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/anxious_wait_for_svan.html">part has arrived.

There was real tension in Svan this morning when I called the garage to find out whether it had turned up.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/the_bbcs_new_football_channel.html">The BBC's new football channel..

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paularmstrong">Paul Armstrong, Editor, Match of the Day
  • 14 Jun 06, 09:31 AM

paul_armstrong_55x55.gif BERLIN - It seems like we’ve been broadcasting on a BBC Football channel. Well, OK, it was actually BBC One but three live games plus a highlights show on Tuesday make eight hours in total. Add in the interactive World Cup Extra, and it’s probably some kind of record.

The vagaries of the BBC/ITV split give ITV three live games on Thursday, while we showed all three on Tuesday.
Incidentally, that’s one more than we had in the whole of the 1998-9 season...

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/anxious_wait_for_svan.html">Anxious wait for Svan

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paulfletcher">Paul Fletcher - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 14 Jun 06, 12:56 AM

paul_fletcher.gifDREIEICH-OFFENTHAL - On Wednesday morning we find out when Svan will be fixed.

Basically, we are praying that a part has arrived from Italy to the garage near our campsite.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/sun_of_david.html">Sun of David

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/tomgeoghegan">Tom Geoghegan - News Interactive journalist
  • 13 Jun 06, 09:22 PM

tom_geoghegan.gifbild_203.jpgNUREMBERG - German tabloid %3Ca%20href="http://www.bild.t-online.de/BTO/Startseite/StartBuehne.html">Bild has provoked a war with its old British sparring partner The Sun, after it poked fun at David Beckham's family.

If you missed it, here's %3Ca%20href="http://www.thesun.co.uk/article/0,,2-2006270277,00.html">Round Two from the red-top corner.

But while Wapping may be rallying to the support of the Beckhams, there's less sympathy among some locals in Nuremberg.

Stefen Koch, pictured, said: "Yes, I read it and I thought it was funny. Maybe it wasn't fun for the Beckhams but Bild is a good newspaper, although it sometimes goes too far."

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/togo_no_go_1.html">Togo no go

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/martinrichardson">Martin Richardson - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 13 Jun 06, 05:00 PM

MartinFRANKFURT - I'm sure you'll all feel very sorry for me when I tell you I didn't get into the South Korea v Togo match this afternoon.

I'd given up the chance of making it in when I was delayed collecting our new 3G cards for the laptops but a call from Fletch in the press box informing me of quite a few empty seats sent me scurrying back into the public transport system and heading to the Waldstadion.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/if_you_go_down_to_the_woods_to.html">If you go down to the woods today....

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/philmcnulty">Phil McNulty - Sport Online chief football writer
  • 13 Jun 06, 02:37 PM

phil_mcnulty.gifBADEN-BADEN Security is understandably tight around England's training base in the woods high above Buhlertal - and it needs to be to cope with the intrepid band of journalists following Sven-Goran Eriksson's squad.

One newspaper reporter, rightly and justifiably seeking out more information, adopted a high-risk policy today in the hope of being rewarded with that extra snippet of news about Wayne Rooney, or perhaps that subtle change in Eriksson's formation.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/welsh_supporting_england_or_tr_1.html">Welsh supporting England or Trinidad?

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/clairestocks">Claire Stocks - Sport Interactive assistant editor
  • 13 Jun 06, 02:20 PM

LONDON - The BBC's North East Wales website is %3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/walesnortheast/">running a debate on whether locals should be supporting England - by virtue of Michael Owen's roots, or Trinidad & Tobago because of 6ft 7in defender %3Ca%20href="http://www.wrexhamafc.premiumtv.co.uk/page/News/BreakingNewsDetail/0,,10311%7E838271,00.html?ptvParm=">Dennis Lawrence, a cult figure with Wrexham FC.

Owen Hargreaves, the Canadian-born Germany-residing England player, gets a lot of stick. I watched him address the %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/world_cup_2006/teams/england/5075478.stm">media conference this morning and he was very forthright, admitting he's been surprised by the negative reaction. Expect to see his "England fans have not seen the best of me yet," plea making headlines in the tabloids tomorrow.

%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/_maradona_stories.html"> Maradona stories

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paulfletcher">Paul Fletcher - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 13 Jun 06, 01:24 PM

paul_fletcher.gifFRANKFURT - People are wandering around and around the Waldstadion as we approach kick-off in the match between Togo and South Korea.

I just bumped into a colleague from BBC World Service who told me a story about Maradona.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/answer_to_some_of_your_questio_1.html">Answer to some of your questions

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paularmstrong">Paul Armstrong, Editor, Match of the Day
  • 13 Jun 06, 10:51 AM

paul_armstrong_55x55.gif
BERLIN - Today is a bonkers day as all three games are live on BBC One.
But I wanted to answer some of your questions about our coverage, including some feedback on the camera positions, so here goes:

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/life_in_small_german_town.html">Life in a German town

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/martinrichardson">Martin Richardson - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 13 Jun 06, 12:57 AM

MartinDREIEICH-OFFENTHAL - Our problems with %3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/svan_breaks_down_again.html">Svan have had a positive knock-on effect in that we've been afforded an evening when we don't have to be rushing around and can actually sit down and watch some football.

With Fletch rooting for Ghana and myself just hoping football was the winner, we settled down in a traditional German biergarten and enjoyed what this particularly leafy Frankfurt suburb had to offer and watched this evening's game.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/theyre_having_a_laugh.html">They're having a laugh....

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/nigeladderley">Nigel Adderley - Five Live correspondent
  • 12 Jun 06, 11:20 PM

nigel_adderley.gifBERLIN - Just what is %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/world_cup_2006/teams/brazil/4751387.stm">the secret of Brazil's success? On the evidence of their final training session here at the Olympic Stadium it seems incredible they've won two of the last three World Cups. It was a chaotic circus which was %3Ca%20href="%3Ca%20href="#" onClick="javascript: void window.open('http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediaselector/check/sol/ukfs_sport/hi/av?redirect=fs.stm&nbram=1&bbram=1&nbwm=1&bbwm=1&news=1&nol_storyid=5060858','console','toolbar=0,location=0,status=0,menubar=0,scrollbars=0,resizable=0,width=681,height=487');return false;"> high on flair and low on any sort of organisation.

In a fantasically entertaining kick-about, Ronaldo (not as fat as you may believe) played in a holding midfield role while goalkeeper Dida put himself about up front and knocked in a couple of very tidy goals.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/inflatable_kangaroos.html">Inflatable kangaroos

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/laurasmithspark">Laura Smith-Spark - News Interactive journalist
  • 12 Jun 06, 10:47 PM

laura_smithspark.gifKAISERSLAUTERN - Watching the Australians party after %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/world_cup_2006/4852706.stm">beating Japan 3-1 - and scoring their first World Cup goal in the process - was quite an education.

In no time at all, the Aussies had poured out of the Fritz-Walter-Stadion and into the town's "fan mile", lined with bunting, beer tents and sausage stalls - check out the pictures.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/in_case_you_were_wondering_wha.html">In case you were wondering what we do...

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paulatherton">Paul Atherton - Match of the Day journalist
  • 12 Jun 06, 07:23 PM

paul_atherton.gifIBC, MUNICH - To give readers an idea of how World Cup Match of the Day gets made, over the next couple of weeks I’ll be asking different members of our team at the IBC to explain their roles. Today it’s the turn of Phil Sibson, one of two VT (video tape) directors.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/having_breakfast_with_five_liv_1.html">Having Breakfast with Five Live

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/jamesbridgeman">James Bridgeman
  • 12 Jun 06, 06:14 PM

BERLIN - I'm busy putting together video diaries of the Five Live staff out here in Germany - so if you want me to ask your question to one of our presenters out here, such as Nicky Campbell or Victoria Derbyshire, or one of our reporters like Gordon Farquhar or Philo Holland, then let me know and I'll try to get them to answer it for you.

Just leave a comment on this post.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/svan_breaks_down_again.html">Svan breaks down - again!

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paulfletcher">Paul Fletcher - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 12 Jun 06, 05:28 PM

paul_fletcher.gifDREIEICH-OFFENTHAL - Another hot day, another %3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/our_van_wont_start.html">Svan failure.

This morning our van was fixed. This afternoon it once again failed to start.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/on_the_spot_for_the_owngoal.html">On the spot for the own-goal

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/blogeditor">Blog Editor - Sport Interactive
  • 12 Jun 06, 03:57 PM

Here's the latest contribution from Ross Kinnaird, the %3Ca%20href="http://corporate.gettyimages.com/marketing/Sport2006/pages/usa/FIFA.asp">Getty Images photographer who is following the England team and was covering the Paraguay game in Frankfurt.

EnglandParaGoal300_2.jpg

It might look as if I was just sitting behind the net but Fifa don't like a dozen or more photographers cluttering up their goal mouths so I was working – honest! We all had to wear our nice green bibs and sit patiently behind the ad boards waiting for the action to begin. Behind the net, I positioned a Canon EOS-1 Mark II camera with a 16-35mm zoom lens, mounted on a mini-tripod. It was triggered by a radio transmitter which went off when I shot the action in and around the penalty area. I set it up just after the teams had finished their warm-up - you don't need £4,500 worth of camera equipment to be used for shooting practice. Once it was all in place I just waited for the ball, keeper and a few players to do their thing – or score an own-goal in this instance!
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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/hugos_there.html">Hugo's there?

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/mandeepsanghera">Mandeep Sanghera - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 12 Jun 06, 01:34 PM

mandeep_sanghera.gifHANOVER - I'll tell you who goes there... only the legendary Mexican striker Hugo Sanchez! And, apart from %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/world_cup_2006/teams/england/5070230.stm">interviewing him, another memorable moment saw the Mexican national team join me (well sort of) on the train as I left Nuremberg.


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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/wright_here_wright_now.html">Wright Here Wright Now

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/glenlevy">Glen Levy, Match of the Day assistant producer
  • 12 Jun 06, 10:55 AM

glen_levy.gif
BERLIN – Some advance warning is in order. At some point over the next few days, I’ll be sitting down with Ian Wright to interview him for the World Cup Daily.

But I felt that the questions should come from you - not least because they’re sure to be more insightful. If you leave your questions in the comments box below – topics along the lines of his thoughts on the World Cup so far, England’s chances, who else he rates and his favourite World Cup memories – Ian will read out and answer them for the Daily.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/what_to_do_on_wednesday.html">What to do on Wednesday?

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paulfletcher">Paul Fletcher - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 12 Jun 06, 10:46 AM

paul_fletcher.gifTROISDORF, FIAT GARAGE - %3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/our_van_wont_start.html">Our mobile home - Svan - is now fixed!

What we need to do now is work out what to do on Wednesday - any suggestions?

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/oranje_fever_1.html">Oranje Fever

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/celinahinchcliffe">Celina Hinchcliffe - Match of the Day reporter
  • 12 Jun 06, 10:19 AM

celina_hinchcliffe2.gif LEIPZIG - The Dutch fans in our hotel are nursing a few sore heads this morning after their team's win over Serbia and Montenegro. I was at the Zentralstadion for the match - my first ever World Cup game. It was an experience I'll never forget, but more on that later.

After the game, I managed to speak to the former East German goalkeeper Renee Muller who kept goal for Lok Leipzig for 20 years. He was overjoyed that this day had arrived for the people of Leipzig, the East German city that was in the former German Democratic Republic.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/waynes_man_stretford_gets_in_s_1.html">Wayne's man Stretford gets in shape

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/philmcnulty">Phil McNulty - Sport Online chief football writer
  • 12 Jun 06, 09:49 AM

phil_mcnulty.gifBADEN-BADEN Wayne Rooney's agent Paul Stretford was among the early starters at our hotel gym this morning - maybe getting in shape for a busy week of calming down Sir Alex Ferguson if his charge plays against Trinidad and Tobago.

Paul pummelled the exercise bike as the strains of %3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio2/eurovision/2006/index.shtml?refresh">Eurovision Song contest winner %3Ca%20href="http://www.lordi.org/main.html">Lordi's "Hard Rock Hallelujah" pounded the walls of the gym.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/in_the_hands_of_the_hosts.html">In the hands of the hosts

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paularmstrong">Paul Armstrong, Editor, Match of the Day
  • 12 Jun 06, 09:39 AM

paul_armstrong_55x55.gifBERLIN - The football in this tournament has so far mostly been highly entertaining. As I've said before, that's by far the most important variable in our output - but the one over which we have no control whatsoever.

For 23 months out of 24, we also have complete control over live match coverage - if a less than illuminating replay is used on the FA Cup Final or an England home game, or there is a cut to a close-up camera while the ball is in play, then we only have ourselves to blame.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/good_morning_cologne.html">Good Morning Cologne..

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/matthewroberts">Matthew Roberts - Match of the Day producer
  • 12 Jun 06, 12:33 AM

matthew_roberts.gifCOLOGNE - Went to the Portugal v Angola match, which wasn't in the same league as last night's Sweden-Trini match (which must make it into the all-time top ten 0-0 matches list ) but was still a good one - and had the major plus point of unearthing one of the gems of this tournament - Stadium announcer Michael.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/the_orange_are_coming.html">The Orange are coming...

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/nigeladderley">Nigel Adderley - Five Live correspondent
  • 11 Jun 06, 08:43 PM

nigel_adderley.gifLEIPZIG - The World Cup finally arrived in the old Eastern Bloc for the first time in its history, although driving through the streets of Leipzig to the stadium (think Reebok with a bit more style) there was little sign of World Cup fever until we hit a wall of orange.

Like the English, the Dutch seemed to get their hands on 25,000 tickets whatever the circumstances and, with a healthy contingent of Serbs, it was a terrific atmosphere with not the remotest hint of menace.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/our_van_wont_start.html">Our van won't start!

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paulfletcher">Paul Fletcher - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 11 Jun 06, 08:18 PM

paul_fletcher.gifA CAR PARK, TROISDORF - The problem with Svan, our mobile home, is that it won't start.

We went to watch the %3Ca%20href="http://www.fif.ci/">Ivory Coast play a friendly match at their training ground in %3Ca%20href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troisdorf">Troisdorf against the local team that normally calls the Aggerstadion home.

vanbreakdowndayfive203.jpg
The Elephants team comprised the players that did not figure against Argentina on Saturday and dished out a 9-0 hammering in a 30-minutes each-way match.

Ricco and I then made our way back to Svan and prepared to head off to Frankfurt. Several hours later, with the time just gone nine in the evening here in Germany, we remain in a less than picturesque car park.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/paracetamol_bitte.html">Paracetamol, bitte

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/tomgeoghegan">Tom Geoghegan - News Interactive journalist
  • 11 Jun 06, 07:07 PM

tom_geoghegan.gifFRANKFURT - A day of recovery. There were English bodies strewn around the city centre and along the river this morning and many still immobile this afternoon, although a quick wash in one of the fountains seemed to help.

For some it was their first sleep for 48 hours after driving through Friday night.

Combined with a hot day, strong German lager and a tub-thumping, invigorating performance from the team (erm, actually I made that bit up - watching the match was more like being given a sedative) no wonder the English were happy to slink into the background and let the Iranian and Mexican fans take centre stage.

Many who watched the game on the river complained they had to queue for up to two hours for beers. Perhaps today their heads are thankful.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/englands_heated_debate.html">England's heated debate

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/philmcnulty">Phil McNulty - Sport Online chief football writer
  • 11 Jun 06, 03:02 PM

phil_mcnulty.gifBADEN-BADEN - England arrived in Baden-Baden last Monday just hours after heavy rain hit the area - and have now walked right into the middle of a German heatwave.

There was concern among England's medical staff about getting fluids on to players during the win against Paraguay, when temperatures were well into the 80s, and opposition players commented on how Sven-Goran Eriksson's side will struggle if the weather stays as it is.

It was certainly an unusual sight to see so many players heading towards the touchline at every break in play to take drinks on board.

And sympathy goes to Joe Cole, who on a couple of occasions wandered over for his drink from the left-flank in the first half only to for the game to re-start just before he could get refreshment - the footballing equivalment of arriving in a pub just as the barmaid puts the towels on.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/angolans_take_on_former_master.html">Angolans take on former masters

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/laurasmithspark">Laura Smith-Spark - News Interactive journalist
  • 11 Jun 06, 01:36 PM

laura_smithspark.gif COLOGNE – There’s a lot at stake for the Angolans tonight.

Not only is it their debut World Cup match but by a fluke of the draw, their first ever finals game is against their former colonial master – Portugal.

The two countries share a troubled %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/5068932.stm">history on and off the pitch.

In fact, when they last played in 2001 the game had to be abandoned 20 minutes from time after four Angolans were given red cards. At that point they were losing 5-1...

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/mexican_magic.html">Mexican magic

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/mandeepsanghera">Mandeep Sanghera - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 11 Jun 06, 12:26 PM

mandeep_sanghera.gifThe sombreros are out and waves of green are flowing through Nuremberg which can only mean one thing – El Mexicana are in town.

And aren't they letting the locals know they've arrived for the game against Iran on Sunday!!

They forced the temporary closure of a main road in the city centre on Saturday after gathering outside the hotel in which their squad are staying.

A rhapsody of songs to encourage Mexico's team followed and they then started to dance the day away as music blared out from a stage erected in the city's square.

Fans from other countries also joined in the party atmosphere but, for those of a calmer disposition, pan-pipe musicians were at close hand to sell CDs of their soothing sounds if the pumping dance music was a bit too much.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/downcast_in_dortmund_1.html">Downcast in Dortmund

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/martinrichardson">Martin Richardson - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 11 Jun 06, 11:05 AM

MartinDORTMUND - Yesterday they were going to be world champions, today the Swedish fans are searching for answers as to why their team failed to beat Trinidad and Tobago.

The guys next door to us on the campsite, who were extremely bullish about their chances on Friday evening, just greeted me with a croaky "Oh, go away!" as I approached their caravan this morning.

tshirts_swedes203.jpg"We've got a dumbass coach," said my new friend, Frederick. "Where was Kallstrom when Svensson was rubbish? He doesn't know when to use substitutes."

I managed to cheer them up with a set of Fletch and Ricco T-shirts, fast becoming the must-have fashion accessory of the World Cup, and they got a little bit more confident.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/swede_nothing.html">SWEDE NOTHING

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/matthewroberts">Matthew Roberts - Match of the Day producer
  • 11 Jun 06, 02:02 AM

matthew_roberts.gifDORTMUND - Lot's of debate on what to title this blog entry, so it's open to a vote at the the bottom. But first what a a game !! Sweden against Trinidad and Tobago was just an absolute epic. Great ground, great atmopshere and the right result. It was one of those games it was just fantsastic to be at and everyone in the ground loved it. We were lucky enough to interview some of the Trinidad player's afterwards and they'd just loved every second.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/kaiser_coins_it_1.html">Kaiser coins it......

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/nigeladderley">Nigel Adderley - Five Live correspondent
  • 10 Jun 06, 08:29 PM

nigel_adderley.gif BERLIN - As the man who's running the World Cup, Franz Beckenbauer was always guaranteed a high profile here - and a seat next to the future king of England - but what ever he earned for leading Germany to The Big One as both coach and manager must be dwarfed by his commerical income this year.

Der Kaiser is everywhere. On every billboard, every newspaper and every advert break he's there, immaculate as ever.

My favourite is one is for a mobile phone where he, Lothar Matteus, Berti Vogts and Sepp Maier have all gone sweatered and sports-casual in a sort of Man Behaving Badly sketch.

Inevitably when the former coaches of Hungary and Scotland get a bit lairy, it's Franz who shakes his head in resignation and introduces some decorum. I dread to think how much their middle-aged high-jinks have cost.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/tt_ticket_triumph.html">T&T ticket triumph!

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/martinrichardson">Martin Richardson - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 10 Jun 06, 08:28 PM

MartinDORTMUND - While Fletch is a member of the accredited media out here in Germany, I'm having to watch the games in whichever way I can.

So the e-mail I received on Thursday informing me my ticket application for the Sweden v Trinidad game had been successful was a real bonus.

swedenfansinqueue.jpgDespite some problems trying to print out the confirmation, I joined a relatively short queue at the ticket centre here in Dortmund and there I was in the Westfalenstadion today - although I was offered 2000 euros for it last night, 20 times the face value.

Forget the red carpet that runs from the city centre to the stadium, the paths around the stadium became a yellow river of confused supporters trying to make their way to a very poorly sign-posted entrance - it seemed for a while that the famous German efficiency was in danger of coming off the rails.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/very_nervous_swedes.html">Very nervous Swedes

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paulfletcher">Paul Fletcher - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 10 Jun 06, 02:55 PM

paul_fletcher.gifDORTMUND - Sweden's game with Trinidad & Tobago is a matter of hours away and I've heard a rumour that all is not well with the men from northern Europe.

I was talking to a journalist from Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet and he was of the opinion that the players are very, very nervous.....
SwedenfansDortmunddayfour203.jpg

Their recent form has been poor and a sense of anxiety has run through the camp. Rather than focusing on how many they will score against T&T they are more concerned with avoiding a slip-up.
Furthermore, the relationship between the Swedish players and media is very fractious.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/aufstehen_wenn_sie_deutsch_sin.html">Steh auf wenn du Deutscher bist!

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paulatherton">Paul Atherton - Match of the Day journalist
  • 10 Jun 06, 02:35 PM

paul_atherton.gifI was lucky enough to be at the Germany v Costa Rica match yesterday. What an experience! My first ever World Cup game and the highest-scoring opening match in World Cup history – not a bad one to be at, eh?

I was sat just to the left of the half-way line, towards the back of the bottom tier. It was a perfect spot for Philip Lahm’s opening goal – I was on the side of the pitch that he cut inside from, so I had a great view of the arc of the ball as he curled it into the far corner. I won’t go into too much detail about the %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/world_cup_2006/5064518.stm">opening ceremony or %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/world_cup_2006/4852498.stm">game, as you can already find that elsewhere on the website. But, for what it’s worth, although Germany scored four goals, I thought they looked quite sluggish, and their defence looked vulnerable to say the least. Costa Rica only had two shots and scored both.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/rude_awakening_on_big_day_1.html">Rude awakening on big day

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/philmcnulty">Phil McNulty - Sport Online chief football writer
  • 10 Jun 06, 08:21 AM

phil_mcnulty.gifFRANKFURT - What is the first sight you like to gaze upon when you pull back the curtains in the morning?

Well maybe we won't actually pursue that one too far, but for me at my hotel in Frankfurt I was greeted by the faces of Michael Ballack, Kaka and Lionel Messi.

Not a nightmare about the biggest threats to %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/world_cup_2006/teams/england/5038930.stm">England's footballing ambitions, but a giant signal that World Cup fever has now officially taken hold and the big day has finally arrived for Sven-Goran Eriksson's side.

Those three stars adorn a giant high-rise office building just yards from my bedroom window. A swift reminder that at last we have some football to be played.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/post_5.html">Saturday snippets

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/blogeditor">Blog Editor - Sport Interactive
  • 10 Jun 06, 07:49 AM

LONDON - Good news for BBC South East's Rob Smith, who is finally on his way to Germany (and should have arrived by now).

Smith, familiar to those in Kent, Surrey & Sussex as a presenter on TV show South East Today, is travelling in a genuine VW camper (unlike Fletch and Ricco who have a big ugly white box thing) - though it appears to have %3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/kent/content/articles/2006/06/06/robs_world_cup_2006_diary_feature.shtml">let him down.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/triniparty_shenaningans.html">Trini-party shenanigans

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/martinrichardson">Martin Richardson - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 10 Jun 06, 01:51 AM

MartinDORTMUND - After our %3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/deadlines_in_dortmund.html">technological problems with BBC World this morning, we rightly began to focus on the football.

%3Ca%20href="#" onClick="javascript: void window.open('http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediaselector/check/sol/ukfs_sport/hi/av?redirect=fs.stm&nbram=1&bbram=1&nbwm=1&bbwm=1&news=1&nol_storyid=5067280','console','toolbar=0,location=0,status=0,menubar=0,scrollbars=0,resizable=0,width=681,height=487');return false;">Check out the video
We settled on the main square in Dortmund to watch the opening game but after two hours baking under the harsh evening Nordrhein-Westfallen sun with only half a view of the big screen - both Costa Rica goals were offside, by the way, according to a better-placed German informant - we decided to move on.

The stadium in Dortmund is twinned with an exhibition cente, the Westfallenhalle, and tonight they were hosting a tribute to their visitors from Trinidad & Tobago.

Although mainly lost on us, acts like %3Ca%20href="http://www.shurwaynewinchester.com/">Shurwayne Winchester are the business in the Caribbean and we were treated to a feast of music and dance - the Soca that Trinidad's Soca Warriors are indebted to.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/football_breaks_out.html">Football Breaks Out

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paularmstrong">Paul Armstrong, Editor, Match of the Day
  • 9 Jun 06, 11:25 PM

paul_armstrong_55x55.gif
BERLIN - As I write this, it’s two matches down, sixty-two to go. The highlights team are preparing their first show and I’ve just been out for a bite to eat having been the programme editor for the opening game.

For the first time, German flags are everywhere. The Berlin fanpark is located on the other side of the Brandenburg Gate from our studio, so there are thousands of happy locals thronging the bars and restaurants blissfully unaware of the caning their nation’s defenders have just taken from Messers Hansen, Shearer and O’Neill.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/deadlines_in_dortmund.html">Deadlines in Dortmund

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paulfletcher">Paul Fletcher - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 9 Jun 06, 03:24 PM

paul_fletcher.gifDORTMUND - Ricco drove us through the night (more or less) to get us to Dortmund in time to do a piece for BBC World.

Alas, the technological aspect of our trip is not running as smoothly as Svan (our camper van) when Ricco is behind the wheel.

The search for a hotspot was pretty intense this morning but deadlines proved unrealistic and our webcam slot on the programme went begging.

The episode wasn't a total waste of time as we discovered that the headphones we are supposed to use are pretty dodgy.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/winstone_on_tour.html">Winstone on tour

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/tomgeoghegan">Tom Geoghegan - News Interactive journalist
  • 9 Jun 06, 02:20 PM

tom_geoghegan.gifFRANKFURT - There I was, chatting to Steve "Boo-boo" Smith (left) and Tony Yeates (right) about their drive from London, when their third musketeer saunters up, "Mr Tough Guy" Ray Winstone (centre).ray_203.jpg


The Hammers fan is an FA ambassador who watched England win at Wembley in 1966, aged nine, although he says his memory is just in "black and white".

The trio have tickets for the England matches and intend to stay the full five weeks, taking in a trip to Austria as well.

With countless away matches under his belt, Ray says it's a much friendlier atmosphere now than in the seventies and the Germans are putting on a great show.

"Even fans without tickets know they can come and see it on a big telly - that's great, they can watch the games with Germans and Brazilians and everyone else."

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/counting_down_to_kickoff_1.html">Counting down to kick-off

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paulatherton">Paul Atherton - Match of the Day journalist
  • 9 Jun 06, 01:22 PM

paul_atherton.gifIBC, MUNICH - Are there any readers from Peru out there? (!) I only ask because I made my debut on Peruvian radio station %3Ca%20href="http://www.gruporpp.com.pe/">Grupo RPP last night, and was wondering how I came across.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/united_nations.html">United Nations

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/nigeladderley">Nigel Adderley - Five Live correspondent
  • 9 Jun 06, 12:44 PM

HEATHROW - Here in the cavernous lounge of terminal one even those who are usually completely oblivious to football can't escape the World Cup.

I've seen shirts proudly worn by Trinidad and Tobago fans, French, Mexican, Brazil, Spanish in addition to hundreds of England looking nervously towards the boards from the pub to check there'll be in Frankfurt when they can still remember where they were going.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/football_mania_in_munich.html">Football mania in Munich

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/laurasmithspark">Laura Smith-Spark - News Interactive journalist
  • 9 Jun 06, 11:03 AM

MUNICH – There are a whole lot of very excited people in Munich.

germanhats_203.jpg

It’s still early but the crowds in the main square, Marienplatz, are already dancing, cheering – and drinking large steins of the local brew.

A clock on a big screen is counting down to the match. Can everyone really sustain this level of fervour?

I’ve seen lots of %3Ca%20href="http://www.dfb.de/">Germans wearing face paints in their red, yellow and black, not to mention silly hats, big flags and Hawaiian-style leis in the team colours.

gnomes1_203.jpg

The Costa Ricans may be fewer in number but they seem determined to make up for it in volume. For every refrain of “Deutschland, Deutschland, Deutschland” that goes up, a rival shout of “Oe oe oe oe %3Ca%20href="http://www.fedefutbol.com/">Ticos!” swiftly follows.


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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/sven_turns_the_tables_on_fergu.html">Sven turns the tables on Ferguson

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/philmcnulty">Phil McNulty - Sport Online chief football writer
  • 9 Jun 06, 10:57 AM

phil_mcnulty.gifON A BUS BOUND FOR FRANKFURT - The fall-out from Sven-Goran Eriksson's brief but %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/world_cup_2006/teams/england/5059286.stm">dramatic address about Wayne Rooney is still the day's hot topic as we move along the autobahn to Frankfurt for England's opening game tomorrow.

Even Eriksson's detractors were impressed by the way he finally laid the law down to Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson - a bit like a wife who has been nagged once too often and finally decided to chuck her husband's suitcases on the front step.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/the_hunt_for_shevchenko.html">The hunt for Shevchenko

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paulfletcher">Paul Fletcher - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 9 Jun 06, 09:55 AM

paul_fletcher.gifA VERY BUMPY MOTORWAY, NEAR KOBLENZ - He didn't say much, nothing to be precise.
But in Andriy Shevchenko's defence when the pen was thrust upon him, the Ukrainian striker certainly knew what to do.

%3Ca%20href="#" onClick="javascript: void window.open('http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediaselector/check/sol/ukfs_sport/hi/av?redirect=fs.stm&nbram=1&bbram=1&nbwm=1&bbwm=1&news=1&nol_storyid=5063650','console','toolbar=0,location=0,status=0,menubar=0,scrollbars=0,resizable=0,width=681,height=487');return false;">Check out the video

Perhaps putting pen to paper on a bumper deal at Chelsea a couple of weeks ago had primed the striker for a spot of autograph signing.

Ricco and I went to watch Ukraine's final pre-World Cup friendly against Luxembourg with the aim of persuading the Shev to sign a couple of 'Fletch and Ricco' Sport Relief T-shirts.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/post_4.html">In Munich for the opening game

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/mandeepsanghera">Mandeep Sanghera - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 9 Jun 06, 09:46 AM

mandeep_sanghera.gifMUNICH - Highlights so far included having a wander round the stunning Munich Stadium (where I will be later for the %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/world_cup_2006/5056630.stm">opening ceremony & game), being treated to a song from the German national team and catching a glimpse of model %3Ca%20href="http://www.kmmod.com/cschiffer/">Claudia Schiffer...

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/win_a_table_signed_by_sven_and.html">Win table football signed by Sven (and Pele)!

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/blogeditor">Blog Editor - Sport Interactive
  • 9 Jun 06, 09:44 AM

svensigns203.jpgSo our dynamic duo (Fletch and Ricco) are %3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/the_hunt_for_shevchenko_1.html">already having adventures in their camper van and to celebrate the big K.O. we can announce a fantastic competition.

In conjunction with %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tv_and_radio/sport_relief/default.stm">Sport Relief, we are offering a first prize of a table football signed by England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson and Brazil legend Pele. All you have to do is to answer the following question:

Fletch and Ricco are driving from London Television Centre to Berlin's Olympiastadion for the World Cup final. If they were to drive directly (and they are not!), which of the following three distances is closest to the number of miles they would clock up?

a/ 650 miles
b/ 1000 miles
c/ 1650 miles

To enter just text "Blog" plus your choice of (a) (b) or (c) to 82125

Full competition rules %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tv_and_radio/sport_relief/5050702.stm">here and best of luck.

As a special bonus from Fletch and Ricco, we can now add two special runners-up prizes of signed Shevchenko t-shirts into the prize pot.


%3Ca%20href="#" onClick="javascript: void window.open('http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediaselector/check/sol/ukfs_sport/hi/av?redirect=fs.stm&nbram=1&bbram=1&nbwm=1&bbwm=1&news=1&nol_storyid=5063650','console','toolbar=0,location=0,status=0,menubar=0,scrollbars=0,resizable=0,width=681,height=487');return false;">Check out on video when Fletch met Sheva

Blog Editor, Alex T.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/photographing_beckham.html">Photographing Beckham

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/blogeditor">Blog Editor - Sport Interactive
  • 9 Jun 06, 08:54 AM

Here's another snippet from Ross Kinnaird, the %3Ca%20href="http://corporate.gettyimages.com/marketing/Sport2006/pages/usa/FIFA.asp">Getty Images photographer who is following the England team.

RKinnaird_GettyImages070606.jpg
Beckham warms up during training on 7 June, 2006 in Baden-Baden, Germany.
(Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)



Beckham is once again the focus of the photographic brigade. I had to be quick shooting him warming up. It's a full turnout by the media again who are all kept a good distance from 'the action'.
I squeeze a 400mm lens in amongst the pack to pick Beckham out of the crowd. The light is good.
Roll on Saturday when the real fun starts with action goals and lots of Rooney and Sven on the sidelines.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/frankfurt_warms_up.html">Frankfurt warms up

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/jamesbridgeman">James Bridgeman
  • 9 Jun 06, 07:44 AM

james_bridgeman.gifFRANKFURT - What a beautiful city. Arrived on Wednesday to baking hot sunshine and a warm, friendly welcome - this will be our home for several days as Five Live covers the build-up to, and aftermath of, the first group game for England on Saturday.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/chasing_shevchenko.html">Chasing Shevchenko

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paulfletcher">Paul Fletcher - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 8 Jun 06, 07:47 PM

paul_fletcher.gifSTADE JOSY BARTHEL, LUXEMBOURG - Ricco and I are currently in Luxembourg's modest national stadium waiting for their friendly match against Ukraine, which is a matter of minutes away.

Luxembourg have provided World Cup warm-up opposition for Germany, Portugal and now Ukraine.

But in all honesty we are not really here to watch Luxembourg complete their very own World Cup group (sort of) or monitor the form of the Ukrainians but to try to persuade %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/world_cup_2006/teams/ukraine/5048162.stm">Andriy Shevchenko to sign some of our T-shirts.

I cannot help but think we might have missed our chance.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/munich_gears_up_for_the_openin_1.html">Munich gears up for the opening match

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/celinahinchcliffe">Celina Hinchcliffe - Match of the Day reporter
  • 8 Jun 06, 06:58 PM

celina_hinchcliffe2.gif MUNICH. Grown German men in my hotel are on the verge of tears with the news that Michael Ballack %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/world_cup_2006/teams/germany/5049952.stm">may be out of the opening match (though until the team sheet is published no-one really knows). I spotted two men hugging and consoling each other over the biggest glass of beer I have ever seen in my life. If you think Rooney has fans in Britain hanging by his metatarsal tissue, Ballack's calf strain is the talk of Munich and Germany as a whole.

I was helping myself to a hearty German breakfast in our hotel...you know the usual - vast swathes of ham, cheese and sausage meat, and there toying over the croissants were a merry band of Costa Rican fans.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/the_daily_video_show.html">The Daily Video Show

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/glenlevy">Glen Levy, Match of the Day assistant producer
  • 8 Jun 06, 06:27 PM

glen_levy.gif
BERLIN - It may not be up there with Neil Armstrong landing on the moon or being asked where you were when JFK was shot but we can proudly announce the newest arrival to the Match Of The Day stable – the first World Cup Daily is online and ready to view!

This is the %3Ca%20href="%3Ca%20href="#" onClick="javascript: void window.open('http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediaselector/check/sol/ukfs_sport/hi/av?redirect=fs.stm&nbram=1&bbram=1&nbwm=1&bbwm=1&news=1&nol_storyid=5061100','console','toolbar=0,location=0,status=0,menubar=0,scrollbars=0,resizable=0,width=681,height=487');return false;">worldwide version and if you're in the UK you can watch an extended version with match action %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/world_cup_2006/video_archive/default.stm">on the top right of this index.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/world_cup_round_up.html">World Cup round up

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/blogeditor">Blog Editor - Sport Interactive
  • 8 Jun 06, 06:19 PM

LONDON - After pleas from some of you to give it a rest on Wayne Rooney, I pledged to bring you some insight into what the rest of the 31 teams have been stressing over.

So here's a little round-up of recent news and mood in the camps, some of which come from some of the BBC News correspondents around the world (and check out our %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/world_cup_2006/teams/5046358.stm">form guide for an overview).
Claire S - blog editor

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/tight_lippi.html">Tight Lippi

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/matthewroberts">Matthew Roberts - Match of the Day producer
  • 8 Jun 06, 05:35 PM

matthew_roberts.gifDUISBURG - There's nothing quite like a day with the Italians. Today it was the usual high octane mix of hundreds of journalists, manic press conferences and great sandwiches provided by the Italian FA.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/sven_shows_fergie_his_ruthless.html">Sven shows Fergie his ruthless side

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/philmcnulty">Phil McNulty - Sport Online chief football writer
  • 8 Jun 06, 03:29 PM

phil_mcnulty.gifBADEN-BADEN - Easily the most dramatic day so far at England's opulent World Cup media centre.

Early whispers that Sven-Goran Eriksson would read a brief, prepared statement on Wayne Rooney's fitness then decline further questions set the pulses racing for the world's media.

And Eriksson did not disappoint in what was seen by almost everyone afterwards as putting Sir Alex Ferguson firmly in his place when it comes to Rooney's immediate World Cup future.

My take was that this was very much an "I'm in charge" message to those wondering who will decide Rooney's World Cup destiny.

The statement was cleverly pitched, appealing to "40m England fans" - knowing every last one (bar maybe a few inside Old Trafford) wants to see Rooney in action in Germany.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/wayne_who.html">Wayne who?

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/martinrichardson">Martin Richardson - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 8 Jun 06, 01:38 PM

martin_richardson.gifAIRE DE SPY, E42, BELGIUM – While England is going Rooney crazy after it’s confirmed “the big man” will play some part in the tournament, it’s a different story on the continent.

Check out the %3Ca%20href="#" onClick="javascript: void window.open('http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediaselector/check/sol/ukfs_sport/hi/av?redirect=fs.stm&nbram=1&bbram=1&nbwm=1&bbwm=1&news=1&nol_storyid=5061270','console','toolbar=0,location=0,status=0,menubar=0,scrollbars=0,resizable=0,width=681,height=487');return false;">video of our first day on the blog.

A stop for lunch at the motorway services just past Charleroi gave me my first opportunity to get my hands on the Bild Zeitung, Germany’s biggest tabloid paper.

So is the Rooney news splashed all across the headlines?

The answer, a firm no.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/bobbies_in_frankfurt.html">Bobbies in Frankfurt

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/tomgeoghegan">Tom Geoghegan - News Interactive journalist
  • 8 Jun 06, 01:15 PM

tom_geoghegan.gifFRANKFURT - The first British bobbies to patrol foreign streets in uniform have begun work in Frankfurt.harold_203.jpg


A chorus of "Bobby, bobby, give us a song," rang out in the main square Romerplatz, courtesy of a group of Ipswich fans enjoying the sunshine and the German lager.

And one of the officers, a Liverpudlian known as "Robbie the Bobby", cheerfully obliged with "We won it five times", referring to his club's haul of European Cups.

He is one of four uniformed officers on the streets of Frankfurt, offering help and trying to bridge any cultural misunderstandings between fans and the German police.

They began work being treated like minor celebrities, posing for pictures with international tourists and youngsters.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/sven_hits_back_in_rooney_row.html">Sven hits back in Rooney row

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/blogeditor">Blog Editor - Sport Interactive
  • 8 Jun 06, 12:20 PM

LONDON - Update from my %3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/is_there_a_deal_on_rooney_1.html">earlier post regarding Manchester United possibly having a say in Wayne Rooney's participation..
%3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/world_cup_2006/teams/england/5059286.stm">Sven-Goran Eriksson did not mince words at his 11am (BST) media conference.

In one of his most outspoken moments so far, Eriksson stated categorically: "Wayne Rooney is injury free. It's up to us to get him match fit now."
He said he was prepared to "take in any specialist we want to take in, or Manchester United want us to take in", but insisted that "the last say on this situation is Rooney's and mine".

In words uncharacteristically passionate, Sven signed off: "I am doing this in the best interests of Rooney, the England team and 40m England fans."

Claire S - blog editor

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/inside_the_match_of_the_day_ca.html">Inside the Match of the Day camp

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paularmstrong">Paul Armstrong, Editor, Match of the Day
  • 8 Jun 06, 11:33 AM

paul_armstrong_55x55.gif BERLIN - Not long to go now til the hype can be interrupted by the outbreak of football. I've been in Berlin since Saturday but even here - thanks to 24 hours news and www.bbc.co.uk/sport it's been possible to tap into the round-the-clock metatarsal coverage.

We're having to rely on eye-witness reports to tell us about the numbers of flags flying from cars, but we can sense expectations growing. The German media are almost as obsessed with Ballack as we are with Rooney: did he really slate Jurgen Klinsmann's tactics, did he miss training as a mere "precaution" or - %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/world_cup_2006/teams/germany/5049952.stm">as it now turns out - was something worse afoot? Or indeed acalf.

I'm typing this in the area adjoining %3Ca%20href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/44565978@N00/">our studio, overlooking the %3Ca%20href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brandenburg_Gate">Brandenburg Gate, and after four days of awful weather (it was snowing on Sunday in Baden-Baden) it finally feels like summer.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/is_there_a_deal_on_rooney_1.html">Is there a deal on Rooney?

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/blogeditor">Blog Editor - Sport Interactive
  • 8 Jun 06, 09:35 AM

LONDON - So, are Manchester United happy about Wayne Rooney getting the all clear to play (some part) in the World Cup? Make your own mind up.
The news broke around midnight last night. The club put out this statement on %3Ca%20href="http://www.manutd.com/news/fullstory.sps?iNewsid=336128&itype=466&icategoryid=120&update">its website:

Manchester United can confirm that Wayne Rooney has rejoined the England squad in Germany following his scan in Manchester.
He is now in the care of the England medical team. The expert independent medical view is that Wayne has a good chance of being fit after the group stage.
At that point, the expert independent medical view is that his participation in the tournament will require very careful assessment in order to address his suitability, as he will not have had the opportunity to play in less demanding games.

Five Live correspondent Mike Ingham, who was in the hotel reception when Rooney returned and heard him declare 'The Big Man's Back in Town', is among many journalists pointing to the not entirely enthusiastic phrasing as proof United are not entirely happy their £30m investment is back in Germany.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/your_charity_moneys_safe.html">Your charity money's safe....

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/nigeladderley">Nigel Adderley - Five Live correspondent
  • 7 Jun 06, 11:25 PM

LONDON - Here are the answers to the %3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/lets_get_ready_to_burble.html">homework quiz - well done to those who had a stab....

1. Iran's Medhi Mahdavikia
2. Three Croats, seven Australians
3. Tunisia's goalkeeper %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/world_cup_2006/teams/tunisia/5049994.stm">Ali Boumijel - born April 1966
4. Arsenal
5. Tunisia's dos Santos - originally Brazilian

After the heart-felt pleas from our bloggers in the States I'm sure we'll do our best to paint a full picture of the World Cup. Surely a USA win over Italy would knock %3Ca%20href="http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2006/writers/tom_verducci/05/16/johnson/index.html">Randy Johnson's ERA off the sports pages for one day at least ?

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/svan_in_belgium_1.html">Svan in Belgium

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paulfletcher">Paul Fletcher - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 7 Jun 06, 11:13 PM

paul_fletcher.gifMONS, BELGIUM - After a lot of thought we have decided to go with a suggestion from Tom and name our camper van Svan.

It works on so many levels - it made us laugh, it has a great England connection and is just four letters, making it easy for the less co-ordinated of us bloggers to type.

There was a great response to our %3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/the_name_game_1.html">appeal for a name, with some pretty wacky and others hinting at a thought process well beyond our capabilities. Much appreciated.

By the way, where are you Gregory Sibret?

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/bbc_1_technical_gremlins_0_1.html">BBC 1, Technical gremlins 0

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paulatherton">Paul Atherton - Match of the Day journalist
  • 7 Jun 06, 06:09 PM

paul_atherton.gifIBC, MUNICH – On Sunday, the German FA organised a practice match to allow all the broadcasters to test out their systems before the opening game on Friday. The match was played at the Allianz Arena in Munich, the venue for the opening match, between two German under-12 sides (no, the 1 and 2 aren’t the wrong way round!) posing as Germany and Costa Rica.

A film of the game was repeated today so everyone could have another run through. So we had Ray Stubbs in the studio presenting the action, joined on the couch by pundits Paul Armstrong (Match of the Day editor and %3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/paularmstrong/">fellow blogger), executive producer Phil Bigwood and producer Sunil Patel. Jonathan Pearce provided his usual vibrant commentary.

And the game was pretty good! It was only 15 minutes each way but the standard was frighteningly high. Mini-Germany won 1-0 if you’re interested, mini-Klose scoring the only goal.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/plain_sailing_1.html">Plain sailing

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paulfletcher">Paul Fletcher - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 7 Jun 06, 04:28 PM

paul_fletcher.gifTHE ENGLISH CHANNEL - The ferry is on the move, whisking our camper van towards France.

Everything seems to be going very smoothly, if you'll pardon the pun, - though Ricco only realised he had left the front of the stereo on a sideboard in his house once he had posted his keys through the door.

riccoferry203.gifExpletives spewed forth, followed by a dash through Surrey to retrieve a set of keys from Ricco's wife.

If nothing else, it gave Ricco the opportunity to test his driving skills through winding country lanes.

We have been very impressed with the suggestions to the key issue of what we should call our mobile home.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/party_fever_sweeps_leipzig_1.html">Party Fever sweeps Leipzig

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/celinahinchcliffe">Celina Hinchcliffe - Match of the Day reporter
  • 7 Jun 06, 04:22 PM

celina_hinchcliffe2.gifLEIPZIG Anyone descending on %3Ca%20href="http://www.leipzig.de/int/en/">Leipzig on matchdays will have to wander down the Football Mile on Gottschedstraße. 150,000 fans are expected for a mile long street party from 11am til midnight. Fans from the two nations playing that day are encouraged to celebrate their culture and party til the early hours.

There are two main stages as well as the street party. There will be music, dancing, face painting and culinary delights. %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/world_cup_2006/teams/angola/default.stm">Angola is travelling with a tribe and their country's biggest pop star "Kituxe", Holland have arranged their "%3Ca%20href="http://www.supportersclub-oranje.nl/Pages/SCO/Default.htm">Supporters club Oranje" for some World Cup atmosphere.

Speaking of the Dutch, I'm back here on Sunday for Holland v Serbia and Montenegro. After the game, I'll interview Martin Jol. If you can, tune into World Cup Match of the Day on BBC 1 at 23.35 BST and hear his thoughts on the World Cup so far. Any thing you think I should ask him, let me know.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/little_slice_of_italy.html">Little slice of Italy

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/matthewroberts">Matthew Roberts - Match of the Day producer
  • 7 Jun 06, 03:16 PM

matthew_roberts.gifCOLOGNE - We're waiting for the Italiam team to arrive in Germany tonight, but in the meantime we took the chance to have a look around their hotel, which is owned by an Italian straight out of the Soprano's.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/no_escaping_waynes_foot.html">No escaping Wayne's foot

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/philmcnulty">Phil McNulty - Sport Online chief football writer
  • 7 Jun 06, 01:46 PM

phil_mcnulty.gifBADEN-BADEN Wayne Rooney does not just possess the most famous metatarsal in England - his foot is now at the centre of world debate.

%3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/world_cup_2006/teams/england/5056600.stm">I attended England's morning training session as Rooney flew back to Manchester for the scan that will send a nation into either delight or despair.

And it quickly became clear Wayne's foot is not just a national obssession in England, it has created a monster of amateur medics across the globe.

Members of the English media were eagerly claimed by foreign television crews from around the world to give their considered verdicts on the foot that is haunting a nation.

Indeed, it can now almost take its place in history alongside one of the most famous injuries in sporting history, namely Manchester City goalkeeper Bert Trautmann's broken neck in the 1956 FA Cup final.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/picture_this.html">Picture this

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/blogeditor">Blog Editor - Sport Interactive
  • 7 Jun 06, 01:45 PM

Ross Kinnaird, the photographer with Getty Images who is following the England camp, sadly wasn't the chap who got the snap of %3Ca%20href="http://www.theage.com.au/news/geoff-mcclure/bottoms-up-151-afl-ladders-spooky-quirk/2006/06/06/1149359744765.html">Wayne Rooney's scissor kick that adorned every back/front page on Tuesday. But I asked Ross for his thoughts on the photo that made a lot of money for someone:

Developments in today’s lenses and camera equipment make taking action shots like these a lot easier if you’re focused on one player for a substantial amount of time. Rooney is undoubtedly at the centre of all the attention at the moment, so the question is not how long it takes to get mid-air shots like this, but more about how long you dare to take the camera off Rooney to shoot enough of the action from the other players in the squad. It can be tricky to juggle!

Ross also had some answers to %3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/behind_the_lens.html">questions about his Ronaldo picture.

I shot the Ronaldo picture in 1998 with a 400ml lens, at a 15th of a second with an aperture of about F11. The one difference that made this picture so different was that I actually shot it on film. I used up three or four films on Ronaldo alone to get the right image - after processing there were only about three images that were suitable for printing. With digital it’s more about trial and error to get the right shot because the image is naturally accessible immediately.

Ross says if he had to give one top tip on making it as a sports photographer, it would be to "think for yourself and definitely don’t be afraid to be that little bit different and go against ‘the pack’ occasionally. The Ronaldo shot is a perfect example."

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/on_rooney_watch_1.html">On Rooney watch

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/blogeditor">Blog Editor - Sport Interactive
  • 7 Jun 06, 09:44 AM

LONDON - Here's what happened with %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/world_cup_2006/teams/england/5054240.stm">Wayne Rooney -- arrived for scan at 1200 BST-ish, stayed for 25 minutes, then left Whalley Range in a fast car, last seen heading "towards the M6".

----- UPDATE: 1730 BST: Rooney is back in hospital in Manchester - to get the results of his scan? He spent the afternoon at the house of his girlfriend's parents in Croxteth, Liverpool. --------

Some say the results are expected this evening - but we've heard other reports saying they might not be out until tomorrow. There is one blog already claiming to %3Ca%20href="http://www.blogfc.com/theblog/">know the results..

Whatever you read, it's one of those news stories where no-one really knows.

"The scanning room is in between the ladies and gents toilets," is the kind of desperate-for-something-to-say detail we've been getting on the wall-to-wall BBC News 24 coverage.

From early on Wednesday, the hospital was besieged by journalists and photographers - all looking for the definitive snap of him with a 'good news' grin on his face.

It's also probably the reason there is no media conference in Germany today, to prevent anyone asking questions.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/calm_before_the_storm.html">Calm before the storm

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/tomgeoghegan">Tom Geoghegan - News Interactive journalist
  • 6 Jun 06, 11:48 PM

tom_geoghegan.gifFRANKFURT - Arrived Tuesday evening and headed straight for the city centre, where it took me two hours to find any England fans.

Lee Hayes, John Bays and Mark Cove (pictured left to right), from Cambridgeshire, had driven from Calais and were looking for a) a campsite b) match tickets c) anyone English. john_lee_mark_203.jpgAlthough they'd like more of their compatriots to be here, they are full of compliments for the German hosts.

"We thought they were going to be miserable and not like us, but we are well impressed," said John. "They're really friendly."

With only a handful of supporters here early, it's quite a low-key build-up so far, but the %3Ca%20href="http://www.germany-tourism.co.uk/pages/sport_football_2219.htm">fans' festival due to happen on the banks of the River Main will be quite a spectacle.

A huge stand of seats faces the screen erected on the river and there are dozens of foodstalls and beer tents along the banks.

So if you don't have a ticket, don’t worry, there's going to be a great atmosphere. Now all we need are some people….

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/the_alternative_world_cup_1.html">The alternative World Cup

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/laurasmithspark">Laura Smith-Spark - News Interactive journalist
  • 6 Jun 06, 07:02 PM

laura_smithspark.gifLONDON - It turns out the World Cup finals are not the only international football tournament to be taking place in Germany. At the weekend, Hamburg hosted the finals of the 2006 Fifi Wild Cup - a tournament specifically for regions not recognised by Fifa or the United Nations.

Reader Julia Leonard pointed us in the direction of the event, writing: This is a fab story and I'd like to see it disseminated to a wider audience.

Zanzibar battled it out with the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus to take the trophy, having beaten Tibet, Greenland, Gibraltar and a team from the host "nation", the Republic of St Pauli - a part of Hamburg more usually known for supporting FC St Pauli - on their way. Read more %3Ca%20href="http://service.spiegel.de/cache/international/0,1518,419651,00.html">here.

I'll be hoping for some more quirky stories like this after I arrive in Munich in time for Germany v Costa Rica. After all - why should it be only the 32 official finalists who have all the fun?

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/thunder_and_lighterning_in_lei.html">Thunder and lightning in Leipzig

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/celinahinchcliffe">Celina Hinchcliffe - Match of the Day reporter
  • 6 Jun 06, 06:08 PM

celina_hinchcliffe2.gifLEIPZIG. So I've arrived in Deutschland. I left boiling hot sunshine in London to be greeted by a monsoon here in Leipzig. Who cares about the weather, you could feel the World Cup buzz as soon as we landed.

No-one was more effusive than our taxi driver Gunther who played his own game of luggage Tetris cramming all our camera equipment into his small but brand spanking new Mercedes. With me balancing a tripod in the front seat, I got my first taste of the autobahn. No speeding restrictions on German motorways. Gunther did his best impression of Michael Schumacher but we survived.

As you'd imagine, Germany is swamped by world cup symbols. The onslaught began outside the aiport. A diving Oliver Kahn was suspended from a bridge. Jurgen, you have told King Kahn he's number two to Jens Lehmann.

Now, I am sitting within a stone's throw of the Zentralstadion. It's home to FC Sachsen Leipzig who play their football in German football's third tier. Imagine Grimsby Town hosting a world cup match. Leipzig is the only former East German venue at these finals. Tonight I shall try their local speciality - Lentil soup with Thuringian sausages, mmmm. And then tomorrow, it's off to Munich for the opening game.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/shivering_in_a_sauna.html">Shivering in a sauna

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paulatherton">Paul Atherton - Match of the Day journalist
  • 6 Jun 06, 04:10 PM

paul_atherton.gif
MUNICH - I arrived in Munich yesterday afternoon, and made my first trip into the International Broadcast Centre today. Match of the Day's World Cup studio is in Berlin, but most of the production team are based here in Munich. So all the VT (video tape) packages (ie features, interviews, match highlights) will be made here at the IBC.

The IBC is the media hub for broadcasters from all over the world. The scale of the operation is unbelievable. Every country imaginable seems to have some kind of presence here, including several I had never even heard of - %3Ca%20href="http://www.niueisland.com/">Niue? %3Ca%20href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nevis">Nevis? %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/country_profiles/1168527.stm">Kiribati? I make it 190 different countries, and 90 broadcasters.

The IBC itself is huge - it used to be Munich airport. There are restaurants, a gym, even a beer garden! Each media company has its own area, separated off from each other by wood panelling, so it feels a bit like a sauna (except for the temperature - the air conditioning has gone into overdrive, so everyone's wandering around in big jumpers and coats). The BBC's office is next to Brazilian channel TV Globo, so I'm sure there'll be plenty of friendly banter going on as the tournament progresses! Fifa present Sepp Blatter made a visit to the IBC today, but he didn't make it to the BBC office.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/welcome_to_absurdistan.html">Welcome to Absurdistan

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/philmcnulty">Phil McNulty - Sport Online chief football writer
  • 6 Jun 06, 03:15 PM

phil_mcnulty.gifBADEN-BADEN England's World Cup charm offensive was lapped up by hundreds of fans allowed to watch them go through their paces at a superbly-appointed training camp on the edge of the Black Forest.

Sadly, the arrival of England's superstars was not universally well-received, with one mean-spirited resident festooning his house with a giant banner announcing "Welcome to Absurdistan" - a reference to the tight security surrounding the England team.

It struck only a minor note of dischord, with many England flags decorating the picturesque hillside.

And as Paul Robinson said, you suspect England fans would not reciprocate with German colours should Jurgen Klinsmann's men pitch up in a village back home.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/practising_penalties.html">Practising penalties!

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/blogeditor">Blog Editor - Sport Interactive
  • 6 Jun 06, 12:40 PM

LONDON - Some snippets from the England camp this morning:
Wayne Rooney trained on his own after whipping the nation into a frenzy of excitement with that picture of him scissor-kicking his way seemingly back to full fitness.

He had a nice soft landing on the pitch - newly laid with turf brought in especially from Holland, from the same batch that was used for the pitch at the %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/world_cup_2006/venues/4459002.stm">stadium in Frankfurt where England play their first game on Saturday.

(Incidentally, which camp are you in? - Paraguay; best player injured, never past the second round = three points, no problem. Or Paraguay; finished third in South American qualifying, we've only won one of our first World Cup games in the last 20 years (2002 Sweden 1-1, 1998 Tunisia 0-2, 1994 DNQ, 1990 Ireland 1-1, 1986 Portugal 1-0) = tricky, very tricky.)

The %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/photo_galleries/5051668.stm">squad played a small-sided game split into Oldies v Youngsters. It was a draw - the Oldies winning in a sudden-death penalty shootout (keep practising fellas!).

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/the_name_game_1.html">The name game

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/paulfletcher">Paul Fletcher - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 6 Jun 06, 12:34 PM

paul_fletcher.gifLONDON - We picked our mobile home up yesterday and spent a considerable amount of time learning about the delights of the Fiat Riviera 181.

A true delight - check it out for yourselves in our first %3Ca%20href="#" onClick="javascript: void window.open('http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediaselector/check/sol/ukfs_sport/hi/av?redirect=fs.stm&nbram=1&bbram=1&nbwm=1&bbwm=1&news=1&nol_storyid=5052458','console','toolbar=0,location=0,status=0,menubar=0,scrollbars=0,resizable=0,width=681,height=487');return false;">video entry.

It holds 125 litres of water, has a fridge with freezer - which is real luxury since I don't even have one of those at home - and a cassette.

Now before you become overcome with nostalgia let me point something out.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/poll_opinion.html">Poll opinion

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/matthewroberts">Matthew Roberts - Match of the Day producer
  • 6 Jun 06, 10:47 AM

matthew_roberts.gif FRANKFURT - With both teams we're covering (Italy and France) still not in Germany, we went down to the secluded referee's base to speak to England's man in black (and a rather fetching yellow outfit judging by what was on display) Graham Poll.

He says that the referee's have been told to crackdown on lunging tackles, dangerous elbows and players sauntering off the pitch when they've been substituted - so get your spread bets ready for lots of yellow cards in the early matches.

Came back to Cologne yesterday evening. There is a slighly strange lack of World Cup excitement. Not many posters, bunting etc -although a big screen is going up next to our hotel so I may live to regret those words.

Reporter Gaskers arrived last last night - although his suitcase was last seen seen on a baggage carousel in Amsterdam. We're trying to track down some T-Shirts which you can get out here bearing the legend "Never Mind the Ballacks". Surely the new fashion item for all Chelsea fans.

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/excess_baggage.html">Excess baggage

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/philmcnulty">Phil McNulty - Sport Online chief football writer
  • 5 Jun 06, 07:39 PM

phil_mcnulty.gif BADEN-BADEN - The World Cup came tantalisingly into view for the media party as we left Heathrow for Stuttgart at the start of our five-week campaign – and some time-honoured travel traditions were strictly observed.

Namely the customary parting of the ways for passengers and their luggage.

Thanks to a craft that revived memories of the glory days of Airfix models, there was no room for all luggage required to sustain the press pack through a gruelling stint in Germany.

So it was that we waved farewell to our cases and other crucial personal effects on the tarmac as they waited to board a flight to Frankfurt while we headed off in the direction of Stuttgart.


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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/take_my_breath_away_1.html">Take My Breath Away

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/glenlevy">Glen Levy, Match of the Day assistant producer
  • 5 Jun 06, 06:05 PM

glen_levy.gif BERLIN - Day one in Germany and it looks like we're off to a flying start. For the uninitiated, I'm producing the World Cup Daily, a behind the scenes video package for the website and our interactive coverage.

Whilst we await the arrival of our presentation team, I've had a tour of the Berlin studios and the view, as you'll all see when we come on air this Friday, is to die for.

Meanwhile, I'm getting to grips with my DV camera and the editing equipment. Early tests have seen me interviewing my colleagues, filming the analysis guys putting circles on players and - most crucially - covering a keenly contested table football match. Methinks that the unofficial World Cup has already begun...

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/a9200_lifts_off_destination_ge.html">BA9200 lifts off - Destination Germany!

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/blogeditor">Blog Editor - Sport Interactive
  • 5 Jun 06, 03:37 PM

claire_heald66.gifLUTON AIRPORT - Claire Heald writes:
That's it, they're off! The next time we see %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/photo_galleries/5047812.stm">Beckham and co they will be in their training kit in Germany.
But in this corner of England - that's Luton Airport short stay carpark - the %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/world_cup_2006/teams/england/5047086.stm">World Cup has already begun. Shouts, horns, chants of 'give us a wave' pushed the players up the staircase and onto the plane...

..Then they all came off again (were they just bagging their seats??) for the last photocall, lined up two-by-two on the steps.

Beckham gave the snappers their final shot, hanging out the cockpit window with an England flag, before BA9200 took off bang on time, 1530 BST.

Compared with their Armani-clad heroes, the lot of the 200-odd fans here was an unglamorous one. But they got what they wanted.

As Mark Powley, a student who rushed here straight from his A levels, said: "It's so much more real now. It puts everything into perspective - they are the people everyone in this country is supporting, our hopes and dreams hang on them!"

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/lets_get_ready_to_burble.html">Let's get ready to burble

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/nigeladderley">Nigel Adderley - Five Live correspondent
  • 5 Jun 06, 02:07 PM

nigel_adderley.gif LONDON - Four days until I leave for Germany and it's frantic. In addition to the vital issues such as how many underpants do you realistically need to take and is it worth taking a razor when everyone (apart from most of the women) seems to grow a beard because you're away from home and there's simply too much football to watch..?, I'm now well into the commentary preparation.

There's no shortage of information - I'm currently surrounded by the pull-outs issued by most of the Sunday papers and files full of stats dilligently collated from the web.

It would be easy to write a 10,000 word thesis on every game and still only scratch the suface - the question is, how much do the listeners want ?

I'm doing eight commentaries in the first round and have given as much dilligence to Iran v Angola as the matches involving teams such as Brazil, Holland and Spain. In addition to all of the player stats there's the history of the teams involved, information about the venue cities and even what the relevant national athemns mean.

%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/lets_get_ready_to_burble.html">Continue reading "Let's get ready to burble"

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/waving_england_on_their_way_1.html">Waving England on their way

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/blogeditor">Blog Editor - Sport Interactive
  • 5 Jun 06, 01:30 PM

claire_heald66.gif LUTON AIRPORT - Claire Heald writes:
Hours before take off and the Woods family from Worthing, Sussex, are easy to spot in the prime position to wave the %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/world_cup_2006/teams/england/5047086.stm">England team off - even arriving before the plane.

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Their white car is a mass of 48 St George crosses, from the bonnet through fluffy dice, seat, steering wheel, flags on the roof, and full %3Ca%20href="http://www.peter-upton.co.uk/sub1.htm">Subbuteo pitch on the back parcel shelf.

Driver Daniel Woods, 22, says they have had a "mostly positive" response driving around their home town!

What of England's hopes? Daniel's hair is a dyed and shaved red and white flag so he's pretty confident.
"We are winning it, without a doubt," agreed his dad Richard, who has a second gold star ready to stick on the boot. For sisters Sam Woods and Sam Reeves it's Beckham and Lampard who are the main draws today...

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/post_3.html">Four days to go

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/clairestocks">Claire Stocks - Sport Interactive assistant editor
  • 5 Jun 06, 12:50 PM

LONDON - Lots of you were happy to hear about our deal to stream the World Cup on broadband, though the main gripe appears to be 'why can't I watch overseas'.

(To %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/world_cup_2006/bbc_coverage/5042320.stm">repeat: 1. Fifa won't let us. 2. It would cost too much even if they did 3. It's not our money, it comes from UK licence-fee payers)

For those of you living in the States (who seem most disappointed by the UK-only restrictions) there is a %3Ca%20href="http://worldcup.blogs.nytimes.com/?p=111">good debate running on the New York Times blog on how to watch/listen.

While we of course will be doing it legally, it seems the %3Ca%20href="http://www.boingboing.net/2006/06/03/hideous_company_send.html">lawyers are getting heavy with those out there who aren't.

With this World Cup set to be possibly the %3Ca%20href="http://media.guardian.co.uk/site/story/0,,1790565,00.html?gusrc=ticker-103704">most watched TV event ever, they'll have their hands full. With only 15 of the games in office hours..

%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/post_3.html">Continue reading "Four days to go"

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/earplugs_in_the_kit_bag_1.html">Earplugs in the kit bag

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/claireheald">Claire Heald - News Interactive journalist
  • 4 Jun 06, 10:46 PM

claire_heald66.gifLONDON - England's players must be relieved finally to be on their way to Germany. Not just because now the real build-up can start. But, cover your ears, because the first World Cup songs have %3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/chart/singles.shtml">invaded the charts.

Riding on the Amarillo bandwagon, Tony Christie's (Is This The Way To) The World Cup went in at number 11 and Stan Boardman's World Cup Song followed it at 19.

They're just the first in a musical ambush. Embrace's official World Cup song World at Your Feet is released today and it's up against %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/5038892.stm">dozens of others. As usual, ability is no barrier. %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/cumbria/5030956.stm">If this is to be believed, even the sheep are at it.

Who knows which will be adopted by the fans (maybe one of these %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/funny_old_game/4949962.stm">DIY tunes?) If the stands at England's friendlies were anything to go by, none, as supporters stuck with old favourites Vindaloo and Three Lions. Someone hand the mic to John Barnes...

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/nasty_habits_part_ii_1.html">Nasty habits (part II)

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/martinrichardson">Martin Richardson - Sport Interactive journalist
  • 3 Jun 06, 02:26 PM

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LONDON - Before I get into the meat of this entry let me just point you towards our trailer which ran on Football Focus today (%3Ca%20href="#" onClick="javascript: void window.open('http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediaselector/check/sol/ukfs_sport/hi/av?redirect=fs.stm&nbram=1&bbram=1&nbwm=1&bbwm=1&news=1&nol_storyid=5044426','console','toolbar=0,location=0,status=0,menubar=0,scrollbars=0,resizable=0,width=681,height=487');return false;">watch the video) - great publicity for the blog but I need to have a word about my image rights as my cartoon makes me look like an 80-year-old who hasn't slept for a year - or Tord Grip for that matter.

So Fletch thinks I might have some %3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/05/post_1.html">nasty habits, eh?

bloggers2_203x152.gifAs someone who's endured some shocking housemates in his time, including a Bavarian who communicated solely through grunts and post-it notes on the bathroom mirror, I think I've learnt to be as mild mannered as possible.

But five weeks is a long time and the mask is bound to slip at some point, so let's address Fletch's concerns one by one:

%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/nasty_habits_part_ii_1.html">Continue reading "Nasty habits (part II)"

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/healthy_thinking.html">Healthy thinking

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/tomgeoghegan">Tom Geoghegan - News Interactive journalist
  • 3 Jun 06, 09:31 AM

tom_geoghegan.gifLONDON - England fans may not be renowned for their sensitivity but a group heading to Germany is determined to raise awareness about mental health.

Made up of staff and users, and backed by an initiative called %3Ca%20href="http://www.shift.org.uk/football">Shift, they've arranged an exchange of banners and a football match with a German team made up of the same, on the morning of England's first game.

It shows there's plenty of goodwill among England's support and I hope to discover more evidence of this during the tournament.

I think such positive headlines are sometimes buried because the media likes to focus on the poor behaviour of the past. What do you think? Do fans get a rough deal?

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/next_stop_cologne.html">Next stop Cologne

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/matthewroberts">Matthew Roberts - Match of the Day producer
  • 2 Jun 06, 05:05 PM

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LONDON - so, after some final preparations, we're all packed to fly to Germany in the morning. We've been trying to work out how to use our new camera this week. It's entirely digital and is the first time we've used it - so there's a kind of `Michael Owen' like pressure on cameraman Twammers to deliver. Like Sven, there really is no Plan B.

%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/next_stop_cologne.html">Continue reading "Next stop Cologne"

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/the_beautiful_game.html">The beautiful game

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/laurasmithspark">Laura Smith-Spark - News Interactive journalist
  • 2 Jun 06, 12:50 PM

laura_smithspark.gifLONDON - Never mind the question of whether football and beauty pageants should be mentioned in the same breath - this is good news for Togo fans!

I was pleased to discover from this %3Ca%20href="http://www.worldcupblog.org/">blog that, while the Sparrowhawks might be unlikely to win the World Cup, the Togolese will at least have one thing to boast about: triumph in the Miss World Cup beauty contest.

The lovely Edwige Madze Badakou outshone hopefuls from the 31 other competing nations to take home not only a crown and a sash, but apparently also a cash prize and use of a car for a year.

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It's not quite the $200,000 that members of the Togolese squad are reportedly demanding for taking part in the tournament but quite handy nonetheless.

Is this the success that Togo's %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/5036958.stm">chief voodoo priest has predicted for his nation in Germany? Fans of the Sparrowhawks will be hoping their nation's good fortune lasts a little longer...

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/behind_the_lens.html">Behind the lens

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/clairestocks">Claire Stocks - Sport Interactive assistant editor
  • 1 Jun 06, 05:06 PM

LONDON - We have a number of regular blog authors, who are listed with their biographies on the right-hand side. But we will also be having the odd 'now and then' contribution from a few other people, one of whom is Ross Kinnaird, a sports photographer with Getty Images.

Ross has worked for Getty Images for 10 years and this will be his fourth World Cup. His role in Germany will be to follow the England team, so we thought it would be interesting to get some insight from him. For his first post I asked him to pick out his favourite World Cup photo - and here it is, taken at France 1998, with his explanation. If you any questions for Ross, leave them here.

ronaldoworldcup_203.jpg

Football…Brazil…Ronaldo - it doesn’t get any better, especially if you’re a sports photographer covering the World Cup finals. Taking pictures of the best footballers in the world and seeing them in print is a massive buzz. You're so close to the action you can hear a metatarsal crack. All my mates want to swap places with me! This Ronaldo picture shows power and speed in an arty kind of way. Shooting from the stands allows you to see shapes and patterns set against the green grass. I wanted to capture him running from left to right because it looks better in print. To get the shot spot on, I wanted Ronaldo on his own (he’s always tightly marked and not always in the action) so I needed to concentrate on more than just watching the game. It's all worth the effort when it comes off though! ---- Ross Kinnaird
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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/world_cup_on_bbc_broadband.html">World Cup on BBC broadband

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/blogeditor">Blog Editor - Sport Interactive
  • 1 Jun 06, 01:48 PM

LONDON - We've announced that we will be broadcasting the %3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/sporteditors/2006/06/world_cup_wimbledon_on_broadba_1.html">World Cup on broadband within the UK.
Every BBC game will be live via www.bbc.co.uk/worldcup. In addition there'll be online video highlights of every match.
UPDATE: I have written an %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/world_cup_2006/bbc_coverage/5042320.stm">FAQ page answering many of the questions raised here, and on our editors' blog.
Claire S - blog editor

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/send_us_your_england_flag_pics.html">Send us your flag photos

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/blogeditor">Blog Editor - Sport Interactive
  • 1 Jun 06, 11:45 AM

LONDON - It's been a bit like the arrival of spring.
You know; the first daffodil, the first gambolling lamb; the first England flag fluttering on a builder's van.

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Now, with temperatures finally warming up on 1st of June, the flag fest is in full flow. Do they bring your heart to a warm patriotic glow? Or do they make you - a true fan - despair of the main eventers who, in the words of my colleague Mark Fleming (one of the guys who runs the football news desk and never one to mince words..), wouldn't know their "Clock End from their Big Match".

I've already experienced one World Cup Willy. He told me: 'If we don't win it this year, I reckon we'll have a chance next year but only if England sort out their left-hand side problem'. I despair!

My dad (a golf and cricket fan) hates the flag wavers and emailed me a rubbish joke about a new DVLA law that says rubbish drivers had to attach a flag to their car. Really rubbish drivers have to attach two...

Anyway, %3Ca%20href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/world_cup_2006/5031572.stm">send in your pics of flags, especially those in unusual places or of non-England flags. The one attached was taken on a farm building on the outskirts of Sunbury-on-Thames. Incidentally, we will be encouraging people to send in their photos throughout the World Cup so here's your chance to start practising.
Claire S - blog editor

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%3Ca%20href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/apologies_and_a_challenge.html">Apologies

  • %3Ca%20href="/blogs/worldcup/blogeditor">Blog Editor - Sport Interactive
  • 1 Jun 06, 11:12 AM

LONDON - Apologies for problems we had on the blog last night.
Our seemingly inoffensive post regarding Trinidad & Tobago shirts kicked off a somewhat foul-mouthed Scottish/English verbal war and we consequently turned off comments on that post.

Apologies to anyone who found some of the comments offensive and apologies to those (many) of you who had genuine things to say which got deleted in the crossfire.

The blog is currently "reactively moderated". Which means a comment appears automatically unless someone complains about it, in which case it will be removed if the complaint is upheld.

We would like to carry on relying on readers to complain before we take action as comments appear quicker and it's a more open form of communication after all. But it maybe that is not possible. We will monitor the situation. Thoughts?

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