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History of the fifa World Cup
No other sporting event captures the world's imagination like the fifa World Cup. Ever since the first tentative competition in Uruguay in 1930, FIFA's (Federation Internationale de football Association) flagship has constantly grown in popularity and prestige. A group of visionary French football administrators, led in the 1920s by the innovative Jules Rimet, are credited with the original idea of bringing the world's strongest national football teams together to compete for the title of World Champions. The original gold trophy bore Jules Rimet's name and was contested three times in the 1930s, before the Second World War put a 12-year stop to the competition. When it resumed, the fifa World Cup rapidly advanced to its undisputed status as the greatest single sporting event of the modern world. Held since 1958 alternately in Europe and the Americas, the World Cup broke new ground with the Executive Committee's decision in May 1996 to select Korea and Japan as co-hosts for the 2002 edition. Since 1930, the 16 tournaments have seen only seven different winners. However, the fifa World Cup has also been punctuated by dramatic upsets that have helped create footballing history - the United States defeating England in 1950, North Korea's defeat of Italy in 1966, Cameroon's emergence in the 1980s and their opening match defeat of the Argentinean cup-holders in 1990....

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Today, the fifa World Cup holds the entire global public under its spell. An accumulated audience of over 37 billion people watched the France 98 tournament, including approximately 1.3 billion for the final alone, while over 2.7 million people flocked to watch the 64 matches in the French stadium. After all these years and so many changes, however, the main focus of the fifa World Cup remains the same - the glistening golden trophy, which is the embodiment of every footballer's ambition.








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The issues facing the early World Cup tournaments were the difficulties of intercontinental travel, and war. Few South American teams were willing to travel to Europe for the 1934 and 1938 tournaments, with Brazil the only South American team to compete in both. The 1942 and 1946 competitions were cancelled due to World War II and its aftermath.

The 1950 World Cup was the first to include British participants. British teams withdrew from FIFA in 1920, partly out of unwillingness to play against the countries they had been at war with, and partly as a protest against a foreign influence on football, but rejoined in 1946 following FIFA's invitation. The tournament also saw the return of 1930 champions Uruguay, who had boycotted the previous two World Cups. Uruguay won the tournament again in one of the most famous matches in World Cup history, which was later called the "Maracanazo".

Map of countries' number of appearancesIn the tournaments between 1934 and 1978, 16 teams competed for each finals tournament, except in 1938, when Austria were absorbed into Germany after qualifying, leaving the tournament with 15 teams, and in 1950, when India, Scotland and Turkey withdrew, leaving the tournament with 13 teams. Most of the participating nations were from Europe and South America, with a small minority from North America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. These teams were usually defeated easily by the European and South American teams. Until 1982, the only teams from outside Europe and South America to advance out of the first round were: USA, semi-finalists in 1930; Cuba, quarter-finalists in 1938; Korea DPR, quarter-finalists in 1966; and Mexico, quarter-finalists in 1970.

The finals were expanded to 24 teams in 1982, then to 32 in 1998, allowing more teams from Africa, Asia and North America to take part. The one exception is Oceania, who have never had a guaranteed spot in the finals. In recent years, teams from these regions have enjoyed more success, and those who have reached the quarter-finals include: Mexico, quarter-finalists in 1986; Cameroon, quarter-finalists in 1990; Korea Republic, finishing in fourth place in 2002; and Senegal and USA, both quarter-finalists in 2002. However, European and South American teams have remained the stronger forces. For example, the quarter-finalists in 2006 were all from Europe or South America.

198 nations attempted to qualify for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, and a record 204 will attempt to qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

History of the fifa World Cup Other FIFA tournaments
An equivalent tournament for women's football, the FIFA Women's World Cup, was first held in 1991 in the People's Republic of China. The women's tournament is smaller in scale and profile than the men's, but is growing; the number of entrants for the 2007 tournament was 120, more than double that of 1991.
Football has been included in every Summer Olympic Games except 1896 and 1932. Unlike many other sports, the men's football tournament at the Olympics is not a top-level tournament, and since 1992, an under-23 tournament with each team allowed three overage players. Women's football made its Olympic debut in 1996, and is contested between full national sides with no age restrictions.
The FIFA Confederations Cup is a tournament held one year before the World Cup Finals at the World Cup host nation(s) as a dress-rehearsal for the upcoming World Cup. It is contested by the winners of each of the six FIFA confederation championships, along with the FIFA World Cup champion and the host country.
FIFA also organizes international tournaments for youth football (FIFA U-20 World Cup, FIFA U-17 World Cup, FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup, FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup), club football (FIFA Club World Cup), and football variants such as futsal (FIFA Futsal World Cup) and beach soccer (FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup).
Trophy Main article: FIFA World Cup Trophy
The FIFA World Cup Trophy on a German stampFrom 1930 to 1970, the Jules Rimet Trophy was awarded to the World Cup winner. It was originally simply known as the World Cup or Coupe du Monde, but in 1946 it was renamed after the FIFA president Jules Rimet who set up the first tournament. In 1970, Brazil's third victory in the tournament entitled them to keep the trophy permanently. However, the trophy was stolen in 1983, and has never been recovered, apparently melted down by the thieves. History of the fifa World Cup
After 1970, a new trophy, known as the FIFA World Cup Trophy, was designed. The experts of FIFA, coming from seven different countries, evaluated the 53 presented models, finally opting for the work of the Italian designer Silvio Gazzaniga. The new trophy is 36 cm (14.2 in) high, made of solid 18 carat (75%) gold and weighs 6.175 kg (13.6 lb). The base contains two layers of semi-precious malachite while the bottom side of the trophy bears the engraved year and name of each FIFA World Cup winner since 1974. The description of the trophy by Gazzaniga was: "The lines spring out from the base, rising in spirals, stretching out to receive the world. From the remarkable dynamic tensions of the compact body of the sculpture rise the figures of two athletes at the stirring moment of victory."
This new trophy is not awarded to the winning nation permanently. World Cup winners retain the trophy until the next tournament and are awarded a gold-plated replica rather than the solid gold original
A life after football?
The recent demise of Paul Gascoigne has once again highlighted the pertinence of the cliche “flawed genius”. Not the first and certainly not the last footballer to self-destruct, Matt Quinn takes a look at some of the most prominent footballers to fall foul of the influences around their daily lives.
Paul Gascoigne:
On Sunday afternoon, police had to drag Paul Gascoigne out of an overflowing bath tub, after the tortured genius had attempted to end his suffering in a London hotel. Earlier staff reports had suggested that he had asked for a steak knife to be brought up to his room, without a steak. It used to be very easy to view Gascoigne as a loveable rogue who couldn’t keep out of mischief. With every new story that breaks, however, it is obvious that a modern tragedy is unfurling in front of a baying but sympathetic media. There is vulnerability about Paul Gascoigne that has helped him maintain his status amongst England’s best-loved sportsmen, despite various serious indiscretions, such as wife beating.
The whole chaotic journey, that is Gazza’s life, has been predictable from even the early days. Always known as the prankster in the dressing room, it was evident that Gascoigne loved the banter and camaraderie involved in football. However, he seemed unable to separate where the fun ended and the serious business of football began. Despite Alex Ferguson’s desperate attempts to get Gazza to sign for Manchester United, Gascoigne’s advisors persuaded him to head for the bright lights of London and Spurs. A later move to Lazio saw him become an isolated and miserable figure. This mistake was not learnt from when he began a strange tenure as a manager in China again forcing Gazza to become introspective and self-analytical. His advisors and those close to him deserted him as his fortune and talent waned, the banter left behind by the more professional, continental outlook of football and a less sympathetic public saw Gascoigne long for the halcyon days of Italia 90. This longing saw Gazza turn to drink, with several trips in and out of rehab, and thus cut the shambolic figure he is today. Poor choices throughout his career and a vaguely idiotic personality, despite being combined with unquestioned talent, destroyed the once fresh-faced Geordie and the once crown prince of English soccer.

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Diego Maradona:
A supreme talent and in most of Argentina, Spain and Italy, a demi-god. You can even find a church of Maradona in Rosario City; such is the adulation Maradona evokes. Born in a shantytown just outside Buenos Aires, Maradona was the blueprint for many poor kids trying to get out of the slums. Rising from poverty to become the greatest footballer on the planet was an inspiration to every deprived football-loving child. Yet it was this journey from having nothing to possessing everything that was Maradonas undoing and personal demise.
After joining Barcelona from Boca in 1982, Maradona survived a bout of hepatitis and a career threatening injury. During these times, it is believed that El Diego was first introduced to Cocaine. After securing a move to Napoli in Italy, Maradona befriended members of the mafia as his personal life became more and more public. He left Napoli in 1992 after serving a 15-month ban for testing positive for Cocaine. In the 1994 World Cup, Maradona played 2 games before being sent home after failing a drugs test for endorphin doping. In 2004, Maradona had a major heart attack, eventually pulling through. Obesity was the next problem that Diego had to overcome in 2005, culminating in life-saving surgery. In 2007, Maradona was treated for hepatitis and alcohol abuse. This potted history of problems framed what was, probably, the most colourful and successful playing career in recent memory. An absolute genius with the ball at his feet, Maradona was quite simply a joy to watch, and despite his problems, was the inspiration for a country. This acclaim and sudden access to anything he desired, may have led El Diego to believe he was invincible, to strain to fulfil his demi-god status and to simply justify to himself the talent he possessed.
Диего Армандо Марадона Paul McGrath:
McGrath is probably the finest footballer I’ve seen play live. This is not just because I’m a Villa fan. He was just the most gifted defender. Voted in the top 3 Irish players ever, a visit by Nelson Mandela to Dublin once saw him serenaded with chants of “Ooh, ahh, Paul McGrath”. Like George Best, you will struggle to find anyone with a bad word against McGrath. He is, quite simply, a legend. He is also an alcoholic.
The fact that he is revered so highly is testament to his talent; as Brian Kidd once said “Paul had similar problems to George Best but he was without doubt the most natural athlete in football you could imagine”. While Best’s problems were relatively well publicised, reading some of McGrath’s revelations in his autobiography was shocking on a personal level as I witnessed a lot of the events he spoke about with such candour. I remember one game when Villa beat Everton 6-2. I think it ranks as the best game I’ve seen. McGrath started the game in midfield and inspired Villa to take a 6-0 lead. He wore wristbands throughout the game. These hid the scars from his earlier drunken suicide attempt when he slashed his wrists in front of his kids and their nanny.
In 1997, McGrath attempted suicide again, this time filling a pint glass full with Domestos. He drank it in one and then waited “for oblivion or death”.
Эрик кантона The fact that he hid these demons and continued to play, through the mist of alcohol, to such a high level is astounding. Voted PFA player of the year in 1993, he once marked Alan Shearer out of the game while blind drunk. McGrath admits he was unable to remember the game afterwards.
McGrath, also like Best, is a mild-mannered and extremely affable man, although he admits to a chronic lack of self-esteem. Born to a white Irish mother and a runaway Nigerian father, McGrath was given up in London by his mother and shunted around orphanages. He was the only black child in any of his classes and this feeling of not being worthy can be seen as the catalyst for his demise when his talent thrust him into the public eye. The love and adoration of the fans may have been the very thing to turn McGrath to drink.
George Best:
I’m not sure what can be written about the late, great George Best that hasn’t already been said. It is easy to say that Gascoigne is following a similar path to Best, but that would be to ignore the obvious differences. Gascoigne is now a shambling depressive wreck of a man, while Best always seemed to find relief and support in alcohol. He became synonymous with a party lifestyle in the swinging sixties, his good looks and long hair seeing him crowned the “sixth Beatle”. It is difficult to imagine what it would have been like to have been George Best during this time. The world at your feet, Miss World’s at your fingertips and everyone wanting to be part of your life. These extravagant riches meant that Best did what 75% of the population would have probably done and succumbed to the temptations around him. This is not to excuse him of responsibility but alcoholism is a complex disease that is almost as much genetic as it is self-inflicted.

In 1984 and 2002, Best was convicted of drink driving offences and stories of his drinking, which brought his career to a premature end, were becoming less shocking by each report. Less of a tortured soul than Gazza and McGrath, Best’s party world cup lifestyle saw his addiction manifest and refuse to release him until his predictable death in 2005. Best’s last wish was for a disturbing photo of himself to be published in a newspaper as a deterrent to any people in a similar situation. That he held the nations sympathy until his death showed how people empathised with his journey. The same esteem is no longer held for Gazza and thus the difference between the two men is crystallised.
Others:
While I believe that if you take a cross-section of any area of society, similarly flawed characters would emerge, there can be no denying that football has seen some of its most talented individuals self-destruct under a combination of pressure, depression, decadence and addiction. Zidane in the world cup final showed that geniuses often possess a short fuse. Eric Cantona is another case in point, with his infamous kung-fu kick on a Crystal Palace yob. Ronaldinho is apparently following the current vogue of Brazilian footballers in self-combusting by getting fat and partying. Ronaldo and Adriano apparently were not enough of a warning for Barca’s genius. The culture of British football was enough to see the likes of Paul Merson, Tony Adams and Charlie Nicholas succumb to temptation and addiction. Only recently it has been reported that Merson has been declared bankrupt and is back living with his parents. David Bentley, Michael Owen and Roy Carroll are just some of the current generation who have admitted addiction is some form. While the culture of giving large amounts of money to young men with time on their hands, undoubtedly cultivates an environment rife for addiction to prosper, it can’t be explained away so simply. Genetics, personality, friends, decisions, temptation all play a part and one can only hope that the likes of Ronaldo, Messi, Aguero and Rooney don’t follow the oft-trodden path of self-destructing genius.
The referee
Alan Wilkie, age 53, then: premiership referee, now: FA regional manager, working in referee development I did not feel there was going to be a problem until Cantona went down after a challenge. As we left the pitch for half-time, he said: 'No yellow cards!' When we were waiting in the tunnel for the restart, he said it again and Alex Ferguson confronted me and said: 'Why don't you just do your fucking job!' fifa World Cup
Alan Wilkie, age 53, then: premiership referee, now: FA regional manager, working in referee development I did not feel there was going to be a problem until Cantona went down after a challenge. As we left the pitch for half-time, he said: 'No yellow cards!' When'
we were waiting in the tunnel for the restart, he said it again and [Alex] Ferguson confronted me and said: 'Why don't you just do your fucking job!
The build-up to Cantona's sending-off went like this: Peter Schmeichel kicked the ball into the Palace half and when Richard Shaw turned to run, Cantona attempted to kick him. I gave him a straight red card.
Cantona is dark-haired and that evening his eyes seemed almost black. With [United's] black strip and the dark night, he looked menacing. Now he had the look of the wounded hero. He gave me the feeling that there was an inevitability about a collision occurring. And now it had, I sensed Cantona wished it had not. Then he looked straight through me, turned and put his collar down. That meant: 'My game is over.' He walked off and stood by Ferguson, who would not acknowledge him. So Cantona moved towards the tunnel.
Download Eric Cantona's attack on Matthew Simmons.
fifa cup All of a sudden, players were rushing over there. I manoeuvred myself in between players and crowd, trying to calm it down. Brian McClair was very helpful. He said: 'Alan, blow the whistle and everything will settle.' I restarted the match. The whole episode lasted 92 seconds but it seemed like 92 days.
The family
Cathy Churchman, 49, then: hotel manageress, now: human resources manager Steven Churchman, 25, then: schoolboy, now: Xerox scheduler Laura Churchman, 22, then: schoolgirl, now: administrator
In every frame of the incident shown on TV a woman in a pale coat, sat with two children, was laughing - or, alternatively, looking astounded. Cathy Churchman was with her 15-year-old son, Steven, and daughter, Laura, 12, in front-row seats that night.
" I was very scared. Cantona behaved with such arrogance."
'That kick changed my life,' Cathy says. 'Because I was so close - his boot skimmed my coat and was inches from my face - I did interviews with newspapers, I was on television. I received call after call inviting me to shows such as Kilroy, which I turned down.
'I started doing sponsorship work with the club after Ron Noades [then Palace chairman] wrote to say he hoped the experience would not deter me from supporting the team. I made numerous friends among the players and [various] managers.
'My husband works in IT and he was in contact with people from all over the world. Some of his colleagues in America were saying, "Your wife is becoming more famous than Princess Di." And we all know how little they go in for football over there.'
'We'd been having a laugh with the guy next to us,' says Steven. 'He'd phoned in sick for work that day. When Cantona was sent off, he was saying, "Oh God, I hope I'm not on Match of the Day or my boss will go mad." My Mum was laughing at this guy, not at what Simmons was saying. We weren't taking that much notice of Cantona. Then Simmons came from 12 or 13 rows back just as Cantona passes. I haven't got a clue what he shouted so I don't know how all these people rows back say they remember.'
All three of the Churchmans sensed Cantona was about to erupt. 'It happened so quickly,' says Laura. 'I was very scared. Cantona behaved with such arrogance.'
Steven Churchman was careful to reflect on the tragic incident later that season when the two clubs met in an FA Cup semi-final at Villa Park. 'A Palace fan was killed [Paul Nixon died from multiple injuries after fighting between fans at a pub] and that shouldn't be forgotten. Retribution was taken for what happened at Selhurst Park. You pay to see football and a guy was killed and you think, "What was the point?" Some people take it all far too seriously.'
The waitress
WORLD CUP Klara Ryan, then: waitress at frenchie's, south London restaurant, now: unemployed
The day Cantona won his appeal against a two-week prison sentence, a man came into Frenchie's, a south London restaurant where I worked as a waitress. He was a friend of Cantona's. He said: 'Eric is outside and is wondering if he can eat here, please.' It was three in the afternoon, the restaurant was empty and all the staff were ready to go home. But my boss, who was football crazy, said: 'No problem.' Then he told us, 'Nobody is going home yet because we are going to stay open so Eric Cantona can eat here.'
In came Cantona and three other men. One was English, two French. A meal of pasta was specially prepared and I served the table. Eric was kind and relaxed, a perfect gentleman. He was not pompous at all and did not look worried as if he had just come straight from court. He was clean shaven, smartly dressed in a black suit.He was very handsome. A real man from bone to bone! Eric paid the ?58 bill and gave me a large tip. My manager argued with me over the tip but I said: 'Over my dead body! I served him and I deserve to have it.' In the end he said: 'Oh, all right.'
In came Cantona and three other men. One was English, two French. A meal of pasta was specially prepared and I served the table. Eric was kind and relaxed, a perfect gentleman. He was not pompous at all and did not look worried as if he had just come straight from court. He was clean shaven, smartly dressed in a black suit.He was very handsome. A real man from bone to bone! Eric paid the ?58 bill and gave me a large tip. My manager argued with me over the tip but I said: 'Over my dead body! I served him and I deserve to have it.' In the end he said: 'Oh, all right.'
Eric did not want the top copy of the credit card slip so I took it and said to him: 'I'm very, very sorry, but would you mind signing your autograph for me?' I still have the slip today. It will always be one of my greatest treasures.
The Australian Government today put nearly $50 million behind an Australian bid to host the 2018 World Cup representing a phoenix-like rebirth after the disorganised and factional mess that was football in Australia during the 1990s and early 2000s. Joe Ennis gives a run-down of how this remarkable transformation came about. Australia is a land of sports fanatics. The country supports an amount of competitive sporting teams that would be unsustainable in any other comparable country of about 20 million people. And when it comes to football (footy) the country has traditionally been divided into Australian Rules and Rugby League territory with the game known as Soccer derided as a game for "sheilas, wogs and poofters."

Soccer Australia In the olden days (pre-2004) Australian Football was a mess. Most teams were still aligned to one or other ethnic group, creating racial tension and regular violence at suburban grounds with Soccer Australia, the national governing body, was impotent under the weight of factional infighting and rampant mismanagement. Soccer Australia eventually folded in 2004 and the NSL was scrapped at the end of the season. This lead to the Australian Government commissioning the Crawford Report, looking into why the game was in such a terrible state. So Australian football had bottomed out. It was a game without a government, without a competition and seemingly without hope. The darkest period, though preceded a fabulous new dawn.

WORLD CUP Football Federation Australia (FFA) Football Federation Australia rose from the ashes of Soccer Australia and the recommendations of the Crawford Report were put in place. The FFA was (and is) lead by prominent businessman Frank Lowy and under his stewardship Australia has moved on from the bad habits cultivated in the NSL and relaunched a national competition, the Hyundai A-League. The game became fully professional and new clubs were formed in major cities and regional centres. The only remnants from the NSL are Perth Glory and Adelaide United, the latter only competing in the final season of the old competition. The A-league was formed on the principal of one club for each city or regional centre with eight teams—including one from New Zealand—competing in the foundation season. The FFA then made a successful push for Australia to be admitted to the Asian Football Confederation, paving the way for Australian teams in the AFC Champions League and the Australian national team—still sporting the irritating nickname The Socceroos—to compete in the Asian Cup and AFC world cup qualifiers.

2006 World Cup With Dutch wonder-coach Guus Hiddink at the helm as manager, Australia qualified for the 2006 world cup in Germany by beating Uruguay—the fifth placed team in South America—in a two-legged playoff. This was the only way a team could qualify for the world cup from the Oceania region. It was only the second time Australia had qualified for the world cup and the country came down with a serious dose of football fever. The night John Aloisi slotted home that fateful penalty to send Australia to Germany the main intersection in Melbourne's CBD was blocked with thousands of jubilant fans spilling out from the public viewing area in Federation Square. The Aussies went on to advance to the second round, advancing from a group consisting of Brazil, Japan and Croatia. They eventually were sent home after a dubious penalty decision in the last minute of extra-time in their second-round match against eventual champion Italy. But it didn't matter; a whole generation of sports fans were smitten with the beautiful game leading to a massive increase in spectators going to the local A-League games and mass enrolments of children and amateur sportsmen in grassroots football.
Matthew Simmons is sitting in a hotel bar in Croydon, south London, reflecting on the night at Selhurst Park that changed his life for ever. In the immediate aftermath of Cantona's attack on him, Simmons became one of the most recognisable and reviled men in Britain: he lost his job, family members ignored him and reporters pursued him. 'I was in the wrong place at the wrong time,' he says now, then draws a diagram in my notepad to show where he was sitting that night and exactly what happened after Cantona was sent off. 'This is the main stand at Selhurst Park. It's easier to go down the aisles and along the gangways to get to where you want to go. I was on my way to the toilet when I saw him approaching. Not much of an excuse, I know, but sometimes the truth is the simplest of things. Being where I was, probably wasn't the wisest thing. But it is not a criminal offence and certainly does not mean I should be hung, drawn and quartered.'
Download Eric Cantona's attack on Matthew Simmons.
Having been charged with assault, Cantona told Croydon crown court that, as he walked along the touchline, he had heard Simmons insulting his mother in the crudest way. Simmons is adamant that Cantona lied. 'For God's sake you can't say a worse thing about anyone [than what he alleges I said], can you? What he did in saying that was totally unjustified. The man is filth. How can he accuse me of saying such a thing? Where has this allegation against me come from? From him. It ruined my life. And that is why it is inexcusable.'
Cathy Churchman, who was next to Simmons that night, concedes she never heard what Simmons said. 'There were all these people who said, "Oh we could hear what he shouted out". That's absolute and utter crap because I never heard anybody shout. Everybody was booing because he [Cantona] was sent off. So those who were sitting 11 rows behind us and who claim they could hear what was being said are talking rubbish.'
So what, then, did Simmons actually say? 'Well, unbelievably, not much at all,' he tells me. 'It was so trivial I can't even remember. It was nothing offensive or rude that's for sure. And nothing to justify anything that's happened to me since.'
WORLDCUP It has been a delicate process persuading the 30-year-old to meet me. I wrote to him on several occasions and visited the house in Thornton Heath, south London - a few minutes' walk from Selhurst Park - where he has lived all his life with his mother, Jackie. One evening I met Jackie and, standing at the doorway of her house, we discussed her son's visits to Selhurst Park as a youngster, how he had been a ball boy and had helped his mother serve drinks in the club bar. Simmons's father had left home when Matthew was a young child - but that, he says now, was all right 'because I thought at the time, "That gets him out of the way".'
In 1995, Eric Cantona was perhaps the greatest draw in British sport. With his hauteur and chequered disciplinary record, as well as his sublime talent, he dominated the emerging celebrity culture of English football. Simmons, by contrast, had a dark and troubled past, which the tabloids wasted little time in revealing.
They discovered, for instance, that he had attended British National Party and National Front rallies and that, in 1992, he was convicted of attempted violent robbery when he attacked an attendant
in a Croydon petrol station. He assaulted Sri Lankan-born Lewis Rajanayagam with a three-foot spanner, striking him in the shoulder rather than the head only because the sales assistant took evasive action. 'I was absolutely terrified,' Rajanayagam said. 'I thought he was going to kill me. Simmons went for my head. If it had hit me there, I would probably have had a broken skull.'
They discovered, for instance, that he had attended British National Party and National Front rallies and that, in 1992, he was convicted of attempted violent robbery when he attacked an attendant in a Croydon petrol station. He assaulted Sri Lankan-born Lewis Rajanayagam with a three-foot spanner, striking him in the shoulder rather than the head only because the sales assistant took evasive action. 'I was absolutely terrified,' Rajanayagam said. 'I thought he was going to kill me. Simmons went for my head. If it had hit me there, I would probably have had a broken skull.'
'I am so ashamed of myself,' Simmons says now of the attack. 'People must have raised an eyebrow. Fair enough. But, that did not make me guilty of any wrongdoing in this [the Cantona] incident.'
Simmons was 17 when he attacked Rajanayagam. He was 20 when what he repeatedly calls 'the incident' occurred. At his subsequent trial for threatening language and behaviour, he attacked the prosecution counsel after being found guilty, leaping over a bench and executing a flying kick of his own. He was sentenced to seven days in jail, but only served 24 hours.
He sold his story to the Sun. 'That was a big mistake,' he says. 'What was happening was trial by media, so I thought I needed to have my say. But they [the Sun] asked a question and I would give an honest answer, but it did not turn out like that.'
How much was he paid for the interview? 'It wasn't much.' Tens of thousands? 'No, a few thousand upfront and then the rest was supposed to be paid as a balance. But they never paid. They never do.'
"By kicking me Cantona showed a complete lack of professionalism and self-discipline. Everyone has lost their temper, myself included."
Holed up with the Sun in a Gatwick hotel for 24 hours, Simmons wondered what he was doing and so decided on a rather surprising course of action. 'I called Manchester United. I wanted to find out what was going on. So I phoned [Sir Alex] Ferguson but they [United] might not have known it was me trying to get through. I can't remember what I was thinking at the time. I guess I was looking for a way to defuse the situation.' WORLD CUP
Simmons has become something of a reclusive figure. He avoids pubs but still goes to football, preferring to watch Fulham who were, he says, always his first club of choice. He returns occasionally to Palace and has sat in the main stand where the kick occurred. He was at Selhurst Park only a few weeks ago.
He works as a bricklayer and does 'all sorts of things in the construction industry'. The main focus of his life is his seven-year-old son, though he is estranged from the mother of the child. Some members of his family have never spoken to him since 'the incident', which, you feel, will always be with him. 'By kicking me Cantona showed a complete lack of professionalism and self-discipline. Everyone has lost their temper, myself included. The abuse that I got after the event - from Ferguson, from Cantona himself and the media - is inexcusable.'
What would he say if he met Cantona today? 'We could have met already if I had my way and if I wasn't such a nice person. I've got no shame, no embarrassment. He has met friends of mine without knowing. But the emphasis isn't on my actions. What action will he take when he meets me? Where is he going to put his face? Is he going to hang it down? Is he going to turn away, is he going to be aggressive?'
Would an apology make any difference? 'Yes, it would actually, because that would mean he was a real man. He doesn't even have to do it in front of a camera or a reporter. He can just come round to my house and no one would even know. As long as we both know.'
It is possible the Frenchman feels the same way: that although his actions on that evening nearly 10 years ago were wrong, so were those of his victim. Simmons says he is moving house before Christmas to escape renewed interest in him from the media and to protect his son. He seems genuine in his desire to rebuild the rest of his life. Maybe some acceptance of his own responsibility in what happened that night at Selhurst Park would allow him finally to move on.

Go to the Page1. History of the fifa World Cup.
Go to the Page2. El balon del Mundial 2006.
Go to the Page3. Diego Armando Maradona.
Go to the Page4. Pele.
Go to the Page5. Romario.
Go to the Page6. Eric Cantona.
Go to the Page7. Peter Shmeichel.
Go to the Page8. Jeorge Best.
Go to the Page9. Michael Tyson.




ИСТОРИЯ
Япония / Корея — 2002
Франция — 1998
США — 1994
Италия — 1990
Мексика — 1986
Испания — 1982
Аргентина — 1978
ФРГ — 1974
Мексика — 1970
Англия — 1966
Чили — 1962
Швеция — 1958
Швейцария — 1954
Бразилия — 1950
Франция — 1938
Италия — 1934
Уругвай — 1930
ИНТЕРЕСНЫЕ ФАКТЫ
Впервые в чемпионате мира участвовали 32 команды. Соответственно, впервые было проведено так много матчей - 64
Седьмым в мировой истории чемпионом стала сборная Франции. С 1978 года это первый случай, когда команда выигрывает у себя дома.
В трех командах в ходе чемпионата мира сменились тренеры. Два поражения подряд привели к отставке корейца Бум Кун Ча, Карлоса Алберто Паррейру, возглавлявшего сборную Саудовской Аравии и Хенрика Касперчака, тренера сборной Туниса. Во всех случаях на третьи матчи команду выводили бывшие ассистенты этих тренеров, местные специалисты. Это также случилось впервые в мировой футбольной истории.
Забив три мяча в ворота сборной Ямайки, аргентинец Габриэль Батистута стал первым в истории чемпионатов мира игроком, делавшим хет-трики на двух разных турнирах: четырьмя годами ранее он забил три мяча в ворота греков. До Мюллера по два хет-трика на ЧМ делали венгр Шандор Кочиш, француз Жюст Фонтэн (в одном из матчей он забил 4 мяча) и немец Герд Мюллер, но все они делали хет-трики в ходе одного турнира.
Нападающий сборной Дании Эббе Санн забил гол в ворота сборной Нигерии в матче 1/8 финала спустя всего 16 секунд после того как появился на поле, выйдя на замену. Это рекорд чемпионатов мира в данной номинации
Лотар Маттеус из сборной Германии повторил рекорд мексиканца Антонио Карбахаля, появившись на поле на пятом своем чемпионате мира. При этом он стал рекордсменом по количеству матчей на чемпионате мира - 25. У ближайших преследователей - Диего Марадоны, Владислава Жмуды и Уве Зеелера - по 21.
Бразилец Дунга стал третьим в истории чемпионатов мира капитаном, выводившим свою команду на финал чемпионата мира. Он не смог стать первым капитаном-двукратным чемпионом мира, повторив результат Диего Марадоны (1986-1990), который в первый раз поднял над головой Кубок мира, а во второй ушел с поля с серебряными медалями.
Роберт Ярни и Роберт Просинечки стали четвертым и пятым игроками, которые играли на чемпионатах мира за две разные сборные. В 1990 году они выступали за команду единой Югославии, теперь они приехали в составе хорватской команды. Причем, Просинечки навечно вошел в историю чемпионатов мира, как единственный футболист, забивавший голы в футболках двух разных команд.
В матче Дания - Саудовская Аравия повторен рекорд чемпионатов мира - 3 удаления за игру. Всего же чемпионат стал рекордным по количеству удалений - 22. А сборные Франции и Камеруна повторили «рекорд» аргентинцев восьмилетней давности - 3 удаления за чемпионат.
Камерунец Ригобер Сон стал первым в истории чемпионатов мира футболистом, которого удалили с поля дважды в ходе матчей чемпионата мира. Он получил красную карточку в игре Бразилия - Камерун в 1994 году и в матче Камерун - Чили 4 года спустя.
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