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Fact checking for kicks

If you are a football facts junkie, be sure to keep the Almanac of World Football 2007 between you and your television, reports Arjun Sen.

india Updated: Jan 14, 2007 01:38 IST
Arjun Sen
Arjun Sen

England may not have succeeded in their bid to win theFIFA World Cup for the second time in the summer of 2006, but 18-year-old Chris Bullard did — that is, win the second edition of the FIFAInteractive World Cup in London the year before. It’s doubtful that you knew that.

It’s even more doubtful that, even as a football fan, you needed to know that. But if you are a football facts junkie, be sure to keep the Almanac of World Football 2007 between you and your television.

When the cover says ‘The Definitive Guide’, it really means it. It starts with ‘FIFA and World Football’ and has its most substantial section devoted to information relating to football associations in every FIFA-affiliated country. Records of every international and club match played in these countries are there for a quick thumb’n’finger search.

In these pages you will find a wide variety of eclectic details. Where else would you be reminded that the British Virgin Islands women’s team lost 0-25 to the Dominican Republic in a World Cup qualifier. And if you thought India was bad, hope springs eternal when you learn that the American Samoa football team is officially the world’s worst team.

The almanac has been updated with details of all the matches played at the World Cup in Germany last year. Which means that if you need World Cup details, this book is good for at least another three years and a few months.

But this book has a ‘global’ aspect to it and, therefore, refrains from getting into the nooks and crannies, the way that the Sky Sports Football Yearbook 2006-2007 does. This book is, as the term goes, ‘hardcore’. What is Swansea City’s Kevin Boyd’s claim to infamy? No idea? Well, good lad Kevin has the dubious distinction of earning the quickest red card in the history of English football. He was red-carded while still a substitute and the match was yet to start.

This book has everything, from the edifying to the silly. In case you wonder how Australia managed to put 31 goals past American Samoa, this is where you’ll probably start wondering about it.

The book is unnecessarily long. Very few would want to follow last season’s performance of Barking FC (except Barking FC supporters perhaps), or the Carling Cup right from the first round. But it’s this sort of information that followers of football who come a penalty-box away from the psychiatrist’s couch thrive on.

First Published: Jan 14, 2007 01:38 IST