Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The Man in the Middle

Who is the man in the middle? Why, the referee of course! Indeed, love them or loathe them they are an important part of the game.

Which is why it saddens me that they do not receive much credit. Indeed, if they make mistakes then those are well documented but if they don't -well nothing is heard of it.

Okay, so the World Cup has had some poor refereeing moments. But in the France-Spain game the referee was spot on with both the first two goals. The first WAS a penalty with the Spain player on the ball pushed from behind. The second was also a perfectly valid goal as although one French player was off-side he was not involved with play. But, do we hear much of this good refereeing? No of course we don't.

So, give these guys a break. They do needs some assitance, from players and from other officials also. Technology of some sort would also be useful but alas yet to be embraced.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Trident Submarine

I don't usually use this blog for political discussion. HOWEVER, exceptions can always be made and a recent BBC article ( on Mr Brown's apparent support for renewing Britain's nuclear deterrent, The Trident class submarine, for the cost of a mere 10-25 billion does not please.

25 billion, think of all the wonderful things you could do with that eh. I mean seriously, health, education, commerce - usually the important stuff - would all benefit handsomely from that sort of investment. But no, 25 billion is deemed better spent on a submarine & nuclear deterrent that existed as a counterbalance to the USSR during the Cold War.

Well, haven't these fellows heard yet? The Cold War is over and the USSR no longer exists! Forget about the ban the bomb jargon, it is all rather outdated rhetoric from a by gone age. Nuclear weapons should have been completely disarmed a while ago.

Incidentally, I am due a visit to a submarine museum soon where I shall see the old World War 2 submarine, the HMS Alliance, in dock. That's where the Trident should be lying in the not too distant future.

(above) Protestors make a good point

Monday, June 19, 2006

The Wii

Too much football on at the moment. Anyway, stumbled across Nintendo's latest console offering in a magazine recently. Curiously titled the Wii.

The Wii, what an interesting name to give to Nintendo's supposedly revolutionary new console. I understand that this is not supposed to be an acronym of some kind or other but just pronounced "We."

So the console is called 'We', or 'The We'. What a name eh? Supposedly, Nintendo were concerned that the increasing complexity of video games meant that they were no longer bringing families together like they used to. So, they go and create a console that will once more provide family entertainment and title it Wii (We) to represent its more inclusive nature.

Still, doesn't seem to be the most trendy name in the world. Why not the NR (Nintendo Revolution)? Or, perhaps the NN (New Nintendo)? Acronyms often make for better reference.

Aside from the name, the console will provide a revolutionary new controller along with the customary enhanced graphics. Zelda and Mario titles will provide the usual games impetus. So, if you've got £100-200 to spare you may want to take a look at 'The We'.

Monday, June 05, 2006

World Cup Hosts

So, the Fifa World Cup is upon us once more. The 2006 World Cup, to be held in Germany, should provide us with a good tournament & a good run from the home team. For, despite the pessimism surrounding the current German team, a brief examination of the performances of previous World Cup hosts illustrates that playing at home usually pays dividends:

Host Nation Performances

2002 Korea - Semi-finalists
1998 France - Winners
1994 USA - 2nd round
1990 Italy - 3rd place - play-off
1986 Mexico - Qtr finalists
1982 Spain - 2nd round
1978 Argentina - Winners
1974 West Germany - Winners
1970 Mexico - Qtr-finalists
1966 England - Winners
1962 Chile - 3rd place - play off
1958 Sweden - Runners up
1954 Switzerland - 2nd round
1950 Brazil - Runners up
1938 France - Qtr - finals
1934 Italy - Winners
1930 Uraguay - Winners

As you can see, the host nation has won the World Cup on six occasions. While of the non-winners, six of them have been best ever performances by that particular nation at a World Cup. Even the 1938 & 94 efforts by France and the USA were their best at the time. Never has the host nation failed to go beyond the first stage of the World Cup.

The only slight exceptions here are Brazil in 1950, Spain in 1982 and Italy in 1990. Brazil have won the World Cup 5 times so finishing second at home was disappointing for them. Italy, also having won the World Cup 3 times were one of the favorites to win Italia 90. While Spain have reached the Qtr-finals on a few occasions so to finish in the second round in Spain wasn't their best performance.

Despite these three exceptions, all the evidence suggests that it most definitely does pay to play at home. Even if this German team isn't the best they have ever had, a run to the semi-finals surely has to be some sort of expectation.

(above) West Germany win 1974 World Cup