Forget the round ball for a moment, as all the excitement is with the 6th Rugby World Cup in France 2007. Playing out of their gourds are the Pumas of Argentina. They wear sky and white horizontal stripes, just like their flag, instead of vertical stripes as the soccer team does.
This World Cup is far too long and has lots of inferior teams that are getting, sixty, eighty or more ponts scored against them. Namibia, Georgia,Portugal, United States, Canada etc. but NOT the Pumas. Chile and Uruguay play the sport a little, but they don't have regular big matches such as the 6 Nations with England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Italy, France. or the Southern Hemisphere Tri-Nations South Africa, Australia and the New Zealand All Blacks.
Ireland got well beaten by the Pumas in Paris on Sunday at Parc des Princes and the day before in Nantes, Wales- where it is the national sport- were humbled by Fiji. In order to get the votes for this World Cup the French Federation had to bribe the Scots and the Welsh, offering 4 matches to Cardiff's Millenium Stadium and 2 to Edinburgh's Murrayfield, both magnificent arenas. Argentina shocked the oval-ball world in the Opening Match at the Stade de France in St. Denis by beating the host nation. Coming 2nd in the group France must travel to Cardiff in the quarter-final to face overwhelming favourites New Zealand, while Argentina host Scotland in St. Denis, just outside Paris.
USA Rugby has announced that by the next World Cup in New Zealand in 2011, they will have a fully pro squad. This years tournement is lasting more than 6 weeks and USA had 2 matches within 4 days and then two weeks lay-off and then the other two in their group stage in another 4 day spread. .Ridiculous! The Kiwis are worried about a 20 team World Cup in their small island with only 3 major stadiums, and it might be reduced to 16, with a smaller 12 team minor tournament at the same time, with double headers played. Certainly the South sea Islanders, Fiji. Toga and Samoa are gaining in strength like the Pumas with most of their best players playing pro in England, France or down under.
Well done Marta. The Brazil No 10 female superstar thrilled the world even though the canarios, the Brazilian womens team, lost to defending champion Germany 2-0 in Shanghai in the FIFA Women's World Cup Final with goals by Birgit Prinz and Simone Laudehr and a penalty save by goalie Nadine Angerer. The team won the 'most entertaining' award and she won top scorer, and best player awards. Marta plays her club soccer for Sweden's Umea, the only full time pro team in Scandinavia, who lost their European club title to Arsenal Ladies this season. The CBF Brazilian FA have promised a national cup competition later in the year, though there has been no talk of reviving the womens league. However, if you read the Englsih version of the Peoples Daily from China it claims there will be a new league. 70,000 fans cheered the women at the Maracana who were victorious 5-0 over the USA Pan-Am women(US U21's) at the Pan-Am Games Final this year, but a league is a non starter. Meanwhile fans of Botofogo the Rio de Janero men's team had fans toss women's underwear at them after they maintained their losing streak this weekend.
Greg Ryan probably won't be fired after losing to the Samba girls in the semi-final and they cruised to a bronze with a convincing 4-1 victory over Norway prior to the big match, though it probably dinted the prospects of a new Womens League in USA. The next Women's World Cup is probably going to be in German so Germany will be favourites for a 'hat-trick' of wins.
Lewis Hamilton is probably going to be the first ever rookie driver to win the Formula 1 championship in his first season after a convincing victory in front of 140,000 fans at the new Fuji Speedway in Japan. The 22 year old Brit is now 12 points ahead of double defending champion and McLaren team mate Fernando Alonso of Spain who spun out of control and didn't finish the race in torrential rain. He has won 4 times in 15 grand prixs so far. Two more championship races in China and Brazil in the next fortnight, and if Lewis finishes in the top 6 he will claim the crown. Two weeks ago his team was fined $100 million for receiving car plans from a rival Ferrari mechanic and so they cannot win the 'constructors' trophy.