Here’s a selection of bite-sized World Cup related stories.
First, ya just gotta loved ESPN’s sense of timing.
The latest edition of “ESPN: The Magazine” hit newsstands today and on the cover is American Giuseppe Rossi, who has opted to play for Italy.
As ESPN breathlessly put it in a promotional e-mail:
“Much to the disappointment of U.S. fans, New Jersey-born soccer stud Giuseppe Rossi will be wearing the Italian colors this summer in the 2010 FIFA World Cup.”
There’s just one problem with all this: Rossi was not selected earlier this week to an Italian (pre) World Cup roster and will not be going to South Africa. (Edited: As a commenter rightly – if not exactly gently – points out, I should have said we don’t know for sure yet whether Rossi is on the final Italian squad or not, because the final 23-player squad has not yet been announced. A preliminary 30-player roster is due to FIFA by Tuesday. My larger point was that ESPN can’t unequivocally say “Rossi will be wearing the Italian colors this summer in the 2010 FIFA World Cup” either. And I stand by that. Especially given the quote on the fifa.com Website I cited in my reply to the commenter below.)
Nice timing, ESPN.
If Rossi really is “America’s best hope” at the World Cup, the country is in real trouble then.
Updated June 1: Turns out I was right and ESPN (and some commenters here were wrong) when it came to Rossi. Read the ESPN story here. (Gloat, gloat).
Second, it seems President Obama’s potential World Cup visit would be a bummer for South African security types :
CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) — South Africa’s police commissioner said Friday his job will be made easier if the United States is knocked out of the World Cup in the first round, avoiding the massive security challenge of a visit by President Barack Obama.
General Bheki Cele told a parliamentary police committee meeting in Cape Town it was “50-50″ whether Obama would visit Africa’s first World Cup, but they had been told that if the Americans make the knockout stage of the tournament then Obama might jet in.
“One challenge is the American president, who is coming, not coming, coming, not coming,” Cele said. “It’s 50-50 as we stand.
“Our famous prayer is that the Americans don’t make the second round. (That) they get
eliminated and they go home.”
Cele then paused and said “don’t print that” to laughter from the audience that included
members of parliament and police officials.
“We are told if they go to the second or third stage, the American president might come,” Cele said. “It’s one big challenge that we will be facing.”
South Africa’s top policeman said he had provisional confirmation that 43 heads of state would go to the World Cup, and “those 43 will be equal to this one operation” if Obama made the trip.
Lastly, could U.S. midfielder Stuart Holden be ready for the World Cup? Maybe:
BOLTON, England (AP) — American midfielder Stuart Holden is set to dress for Bolton in Sunday’s Premier League season finale after recovering from a broken right leg.
The 22-year-old, who left Major League Soccer’s Houston Dynamo to sign with Bolton last winter, was injured playing for the United States in a 2-1 loss to the Netherlands on March 3.
Bolton manager Owen Coyle said Friday that Holden has trained for two weeks and because the midfielder is likely to be included in the 30-man U.S. World Cup roster, he will be involved in Sunday’s game against Birmingham.
Coyle said he will make up his mind on Sunday whether Holden starts or is on the bench.