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World Cup: Show stoppers in the first round


Love them or loathe them, the vuvuzelas are the official soundtrack of this World Cup. It is the sound you expect to hear when you've got a 'hippo in a headlock' ,someone famously said, and although opinion is divided, the buzz is here to stay.


Jabulani has the footballers fuming. Take it from God himself. Maradona says, "We are not going to see any good moves in this World Cup because no one can get the ball and control it." Portugal have suddenly taken a liking to it after their 7-0 drubbing of North Korea, but that doesn't stop it from being branded a 'rotten supermarket ball'. Adidas is still going to sell 13 million jabulanis, we hear.


The goalkeepers may blame it on the jabulani, but this Cup has been defined by fumbles. The crown for the worst miss obviously goes to England goalkeeper Robert Green, whose pathetic reaction after failing to defuse a weak strike from USA's Clint Dempsey had everyone confused - whether to sympathise or laugh. But after newspaper headlines screamed 'Hand of Clod' and 'Robbish', the chuckles couldn't be suppressed any longer. Even Fabio Capello wasn't in a forgiving mood.


If there's such a thing as comic relief in football, Diego Maradona must be the star. His sideline show is sometimes worth more money than the game on display - although Argentina have been the cavaliers of the tournament - and the plethora of amorous gestures a source of laughter. The grey ill-fitting suit also adds colour to the frame, and even the officials fail to show a serious face while rebuking him.


Did he really mean to score? Was it a fluke? The newpapers - mostly British - were raging. But anyone who saw Maicon speeding down the flank and bending it from an impossible angle against North Korea was awestruck by its brilliance. Sublime South American flair, we say. Check out YouTube if you've missed it.

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