BBC BLOGS - Jonathan Stevenson

Archives for June 2010

Ozil provides X-factor threat to England

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Jonathan Stevenson | 13:16 UK time, Friday, 25 June 2010

World Cup 2010: Johannesburg

Clear your mind of every stereotype that has been attached to England's fiercest footballing foes because the main threat to the Three Lions' hopes of progressing to the quarter-finals on Sunday in Bloemfontein does not lie in the platitudes previously handed out to German tournament teams: ruthless, clinical, efficient.

No, the danger this time is slightly different. In fact, it can probably best be summed up in two words: Mesut Ozil.

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Sitting with the Samba boys

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Jonathan Stevenson | 08:43 UK time, Monday, 21 June 2010

World Cup 2010: Johannesburg

Let me tell you about the evening I spent watching the 2010 World Cup winners-elect with some truly remarkable football fans.

Now with three weeks left of action still to be played out, far be it from me to spoil the surprises that no doubt lie in store in a tournament that produces more twists and turns with every passing hour.

But as I sat and watched Brazil dominate and destroy Ivory Coast on Sunday, no-one around me had any doubt that the team they were seeing will return to Soccer City on Sunday 11 July to win the World Cup.

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Are Argentina the new Brazil?

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Jonathan Stevenson | 18:13 UK time, Thursday, 17 June 2010

World Cup 2010: Johannesburg

Careful who you say this to in South America, but something strange seems to have happened at the start of this World Cup: Argentina have become the new Brazil.

We are still early in the tournament, but one thing has become startlingly clear from their first two games in South Africa - Argentina have come to entertain, as well as to try to win the World Cup.

Led by their flamboyant, controversial, larger-than-life coach Diego Maradona, the Albiceleste have so far produced two fine performances and attacked with a relentless gusto seldom seen elsewhere in a tournament that has flattered to deceive.

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Highlights - Argentina 4-1 South Korea

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Dunga delights in efficient Brazil

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Jonathan Stevenson | 11:01 UK time, Wednesday, 16 June 2010

World Cup 2010: Johannesburg

When Dunga held the World Cup trophy aloft as Brazil captain at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on 17 July 1994, it was to the soundtrack of a stream of expletives he was busy hurling in the direction of his country's press.

Dunga - and the team he had captained to glory - had been castigated by the Brazilian media for the negative way in which they had played their football throughout the tournament. In his eyes, winning the trophy justified the means.

His view was not shared by many of his countrymen, either before or after the tournament. They may have won the cup, but it was not how the Brazilians wanted to win it. There was a feeling that Brazil should aspire to more than winning at any cost, at least in the footballing sense.

Fast forward 16 years to this World Cup and it seems Dunga is at it again.

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South Africans must take heart from opener

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Jonathan Stevenson | 21:09 UK time, Friday, 11 June 2010

World Cup 2010: Soccer City, Johannesburg.

After a day of carnival celebrations in Johannesburg, South Africa's players left the field looking downbeat and demoralised after a late double blow in their World Cup opener against Mexico.

Not only had Rafael Marquez's party-pooping 78th-minute goal cancelled out Siphiwe Tshabalala's wondrous opener, but with seconds left star striker Katlego Mhpela saw his shot almost unbearably strike the post.

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Will Maradona & Messi combine or combust?

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Jonathan Stevenson | 06:00 UK time, Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Love him or loathe him, Diego Armando Maradona will be one of the major stories of the World Cup in South Africa this summer.

Twenty-four years after inspiring Argentina to victory in Mexico with an individual brilliance seldom witnessed, El Diego - now his beloved country's team coach - once again has the hopes of a nation resting on his shoulders.

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World Cup guide - Argentina

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The story of the 2002 World Cup

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Jonathan Stevenson | 19:29 UK time, Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Between now and the start of the World Cup, we will be looking back at previous tournaments with the help of some of the key characters and the BBC's archive footage. Today, we get the lowdown from two men who helped create almighty upsets.

South Korea and Japan, May & June, 2002

"I watched the World Cup in 1998 with my family in my house in Senegal. I saw France win on TV and then four years later I scored the first goal of the tournament as we beat France, the best team in the world, 1-0. It's... too big. Even now, it's too big to understand."

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