And the commercials begin…

I’m not sure if you all knew this, but commercials aired during the world cup can be just as epic as the Super Bowl ads.  The difference is that unlike the Super Bowl, these have a worldwide audience of 200 million people.

There are two out already that I’ve managed to find.  Well, they were actually sent to me.  Thanks, Kasia!!

Anyways, two that are already out are Coke and Pepsi.

So here is he full-length version of the Pepsi ad. It runs two and a half minutes.  There is also a 60-second version, but I like this one better. It uses the Akon/Keri Hilson song, and has quite a number of well-known FIFA players.

The Coke commercial uses the K’naan song, Wavin’ Flag (World Cup version) in the background.  It runs a little over a minute long.  It’s computer animated, and is about a boy’s quest to find himself.  Or something like that.

My verdict??  As much as I drink Coke and not Pepsi, I’d have to say that the Pepsi commercial wins over the Coke commercial.  It’s much more entertaining, and makes the most sense.  Also, anything with Kaká, the hottest guy on the planet, has my vote 😀

What’s your favourite??

~Suz

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Referees

So I’ve figured out that the World Cup is just as insanely important for the referees as it is for the players, so I’ve decided to do a post on just how they’re chosen.

Choosing referees takes just as long, and the process started way back in 2007.  In September 2008, 53 potential referees gathered for a week in Zürich for an “Elite Referee” seminar.  They were assessed in various areas (technical, physical, mental and energy performance as well as medical and physio preparation).

The content of the week-long course was divided between academic and practical training.  On Tuesday, the group did fitness training comprising various coordination, concentration and mobility exercises.  Wednesday began with weight checks followed by another training session on the pitch with the focus on energy performance management.  To finish off the day, the participants went into the auditorium to study videos, analysing and taking decisions on various match situations.

Thursday was devoted to fitness tests while on Friday, to round the week off, the referees were given a written test on the Laws of the Game as well as an oral English language test.

The list was narrowed down to 38 in October 2009.

In January, 2010, 30 referees from 28 countries were chosen to referee the cup.

And the training process does not stop once the list of referees and assistants is revealed.  It will become even more intensive, with those chosen heading to Zürich in late February for a medical check-up ahead of a seminar in Spain.  In May, a series of meetings with refereeing instructors from each Confederation will be held, where the final round of fitness tests will also take place.

Who would have thought so much effort went into picking the officials.  I’ve never heard of such a long and rigorous process for any football or hockey match, that’s for sure.

-Suz

And I’m officially jealous…

So I was reading about a contest that MTN, one of FIFA’s official sponsors and the only African one, had last summer.  And let me tell you, I’m insanely jealous.

Called Wafa Wafa, it loosely translates to “Last Man Standing.”  This contest had, in my opinion, one of the greatest prizes ever.

Thulani Ngcobo was the extremely lucky winner.  His prize?? His name in the Guiness Book of World Records.  His record??  Watching the most matches in a World Cup ever.

Ngcobo, 29, will receive tickets, accomodations, and transportation, to 38 live games in 31 days.  He will be taking in 9 cities, 10 stadiums, 3,420 minutes of football and 17,000 km of travel.

The 38 games comprise the opening game, 28 pool games (including opening game), 4 round of 16 games, 2 quarter-finals, 2 semi-finals, the 3rd place play-off and, of course, the final.

Yes, I am officially jealous.  If I’d known, I would have entered.  I’m not sure how, but I would have found a way!!

-Suz

England’s just so lucky

In yet another show of how awesome their luck is, England is now suffering from the possible loss of their starting left-back, Ashley Cole.

Cole, who currently plays for Chelsea, limped off the field in the second half of Wednesday’s game.

It was revealed on Thursday that Cole has suffered a fracture of his left ankle, and will sit out for approximately the next three months.

Although he should, theoretically, be back in mid-May, that maybe too tight for England.  It would give Cole only a month and a half and a handful of games to get back into top game form.

It Cole doesn’t make it back, his under-study, Wayne Bridge may have to take his spot.  This may complicate things even more for England, as having Bridge and John Terry  in the same locker room may prove to be too much.

Terry, who had an affair with Bridge’s girlfriend, has already been stripped of his captaincy, but is still first-choice on the team.

Stephen Warnock of Aston Villa currently pushing hard to be promoted above Bridge, who has been plagued by injures and poor form at Manchester City this season.

Poor, poor England.  I may not be cheering for them, but I do hope their luck gets a little better soon!!

-Suz

Prize money

I know many of you were wondering, “What does the winner get?”, so I’ve decided to look into that for you. And it’s way more than I thought it was.

So for starters, every team who qualified for the group round gets $1 million for preparation purposes.

It gets even crazier after that.

Teams eliminated at the group stage get $8 million each.  If you continue on, but are eliminated in the round of 16 (the 2nd round), your team takes home $9 million.  Those who are eliminated at the quarter finals receive $18 million each, and the semi-finalists get $20 million each.

The runner-up gets $24 million, and the winner takes home an amazing $30 million.

FIFA will also be paying the clubs who have players in the tournament.  In order to stave off any claimsby the clubs of injuries from cup matches, FIFA has set up a $40 million fund.

“Every club who has a player at the World Cup will receive $1,600 per day, per player,” Jérôme Valcke, the Fifa general secretary, said. “The money will be paid 15 days before the start of the tournament and to one day after the player’s participation ends.”

This is a crazy amount of money, in my opinion.  The total prize money is up 60% from the last World Cup.  Is soccer really worth this much??

The answer, at least, for the world outside North America, is a resounding yes.

-Suz

Groups and match schedules

So as I’ve mentioned before, the groups stage is the first part of the World Cup competition. Teams are divided into eight groups of four teams each, and two teams from each group go on to the knockout stage.

Now, there is a method to how they pick the teams for each group, but I’m seriously lost on it. No matter where I read it, it just seems to not make sense.

Here’s what Wikipedia says about it: “Eight teams are seeded, including the hosts, with the other seeded teams selected using a formula based on the FIFA World Rankings and/or performances in recent World Cups, and drawn to separate groups. The other teams are assigned to different “pots”, usually based on geographical criteria, and teams in each pot are drawn at random to the eight groups. Since 1998, constraints have been applied to the draw to ensure that no group contains more than two European teams or more than one team from any other confederation.”

If that helps you, congratulations. You are officially smarter than me.

Anyways, I’m just gonna give you the list of groups. Each one links back the the FIFA profile on that country. Feel free to check them out.

Group A:  South Africa, Mexico, Uruguay, France

Group B: Argentina, Nigeria, Korea Republic (South Korea), Greece

Group C: England, USA, Algeria, Slovenia

Group D: Germany, Australia, Serbia, Ghana

Group E: Netherlands, Denmark, Japan, Cameroon

Group F: Italy, Paraguay, New Zealand, Slovakia

Group G: Brazil, Korea DPR (North Korea), Côte d’Ivoire, Portugal

Group H: Spain, Switzerland, Honduras, Chile

Th matches start June 11, and will run for a month.  A list of matches can be found here on the FIFA website.

-Suz

Theme song: K’naan – Waving Flag

Like all World Cups before, the 2010 event has a theme song.  Joining many who have made a name for themselves as the singers behind the Cup is K’Naan, a Somali-Canadian poet, rapper, and musician.

Born Keinan Abdi Warsame in 1978, he spent his childhood in Mogadishu.  His family eventually moved to Canada, where they settled in Toronto.

With four albums under his belt, k’Naan is entering the world stage at one of the biggest events known to man.  His song “Waving Flag” was chosen as the 2010 Coca-Cola theme song.

Good luck to him, and enjoy the song!!