Top Six Or Whatever In Futbol

Rosie's World Cup1. RESEARCH MUCH, ROD? I recall reading somewhere on Rod Pedersen’s blog that he selected Greece as his favorite team in the World Cup because of the food at Mosaic. It quite depresses me: though Pedersen has an outstanding blog and is a very good sports reporter (not to mention one of the best play-by-play guys for a CFL team), he displays a contempt for any sport that Canadians aren’t any good at. (Not only that, but the Greek team will suck at this year’s World Cup (The Guardian): they couldn’t score on Madonna). Which is too bad, because his attitude also slights Canadians who want to see their country do better in this sport …

2. CALAMITY JAMES — When the group draws were announced, the Sun newspaper used the anachronism ‘EASY’ — England, Algeria, Slovenia, and Yanks, to describe their group. Don’t think the English are feeling that it’s so easy now … after a 1-1 tie in Rustenburg. (The Guardian)

3. PAX AMERICA The thing that’s frosting my buns during soccer matches is that anybody who can fake a limey accent can secure a high paying gig on a sports radio station for a month or so — ‘hey, he’s English, he should know something about soccer, right?’ That’s why it was a delight, when I was driving my son to ball practice and to a birthday party, to find out that ESPN Radio in Bismarck, North Dakota (their website) was carrying a live broadcast of the game, complete with an American doing the play-by-play. The station also carried a really good documentary about the American who scored in the 1950 World Cup in the match against England, and how he died back in Haiti, about 10 to 15 years later, a victim of the Papa Doc Duvalier regime.

4. CALLING MAUDE BARLOW — The argument — and as a Canadian soccer fan, I’m buying it — goes something like this: the better the US team does, the more likely the Canadian Soccer Association will be pressured — by fans, by Major League Soccer, by corporate North America — into getting off its butts and getting serious about fielding a team that can qualify. It’s an argument that I’m using in a Planet S story — assuming Chris Kirkland (a) hasn’t forgotten and (b) didn’t mean to say, yeah, yeah, Rosie anything you say, just let me get back to work …

5. A SOUTH AFRICA FACT THAT WILL NOT IMPRESS ANYONE BUT ME (part 1) Soccer City, where the first match in the World Cup was played, was built on the site of a former Soweto sports stadium where Nelson Mandela’s people held his first mass rally after his release from jail in 1990. (

6. A SOUTH AFRICA FACT THAT WILL IMPRESS NO ONE ELSE BUT ME (part 2) Ellis Park Stadium, another place in Johannesburg where World Cup soccer matches will be held, was the site of the 1995 World Cup of Rugby finals where South Africa, in its first major international competition in the post-apartheid era, defeated New Zealand for the championship. (

Author: Stephen LaRose

2006 winner of the Canadian Association of University Teachers's Award of Excellence in Journalism for a bunch of prairie dog stuff. Invited into the best homes in Regina. Once.