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Comments by YACCS
Friday, June 23, 2006

World Cup open thread

REUTERS/Carlos Barria
Yeah, goddamn right I got the goal

Friday, June 23, 2006
Jun 23 15:00 ET Switzerland v South Korea
Match 46
Jun 23 15:00 ET Togo v France
Match 45
Jun 23 10:00 ET Saudi Arabia v Spain
Match 47
Jun 23 10:00 ET Ukraine v Tunisia
Match 48

Sorry for the delay. Was out late with the conspiracy of left wing bloggers after the DMI benefit. We were taking instructions from Kos on what to do. I had to plead to keep up the WC postings for the loyal readers.

Seriously, a group of us went to Corner Bistro and I got in late.

Glorious, glorious Ghana

Paul Fletcher - Sport Interactive journalist

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

So this afternoon at the stadium in Nuremberg I was desperately hoping they would beat the USA and ensure that their first World Cup resulted in at least qualification fron the group stage.

What I was not expecting was a call from a Ghanaian friend of mine 90 minutes before kick-off asking if I could influence the music played over the PA system at the stadium.

nurembergusaspikeday16-003.jpg Highlife is a popular type of music in Ghana and John called me up to ask whether I could ensure some would be played before the match.

Clearly he has a very exaggerated sense of my importance.

As with a few of the African teams that I have seen, Ghana's numbers were swelled by support from elsewhere and plenty of Germans became Ghaniains for the day - wearing shirts, scarves and flags as though bona fide children of the fair city of Accra.

The actual Ghanaians in the crowd were understandably small in number but vocal, colourful and a credit to the tournament.

To be fair, the Americans were greater in presence and really did try to get behind their team - but without question the day belonged to the wonderful people of Ghana.

Afterwards in the mixed zone - the area where the press meets the players - the Ghana players were thrilled with their achievement.

In addition to the actual squad several prominent members of the Ghana government passed through the mixed zone - the Minister for Education, Sciences and Sports, Papa Owusu-Ankomah, for example, was more than happy to discuss his country's achievement.

Michael Essien, banned for the Black Stars match against Brazil, gave several interviews in an incredibly softly-spoken voice that contrasts starkly with his playing style.

Afterwards I bumped into a old friend who works for Metro TV in Ghana and ended up giving an interview on how I thought the Black Stars would fare against Brazil.

"Should Ghana just go for it against Brazil," asked Yaw.

"Umm, easier said that done," I replied.

As I left the ground I grabbed a quick word with Ghana football legend Adebi Pele. He is a great bloke and happily signed a 'Fletch and Ricco' Sport relief T-shirt.

He looked thrilled at his side's progress. No question, it was a great day for Ghana.
He's right. Arena never sorted out the US side.

Ghana did good and it is real progress for them and African football.

This isn't 1998. The US wasn't abjectly humiliated, Americans now seem to care a lot more about the sport, or maybe it's just a maturing of the soccer kids of the last generation, but the fact that US newspapers are giving real space to the World Cup and noticed the coaching is a sea change.

We'll see how this is followed up.

posted by Steve @ 11:44:00 AM

11:44:00 AM

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