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Topics - socachynee

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1
Football / CONCACAF to overhaul 'archaic' World Cup qualifying format
« on: October 09, 2016, 09:54:36 AM »
http://www.bostonherald.com/sports/soccer/2016/10/concacaf_to_overhaul_archaic_world_cup_qualifying_format

I guess Mr President want to remove the HEX.

"So we seriously need to look at our World Cup qualifying system that is a bit archaic. We need to be a bit more all-encompassing. We're looking at how we balance competitions with our commercial (priorities) without putting too much stress on already too busy calendars as well."

But Montagliani is certain qualifying must change, although there could be a proliferation of games that draw smaller crowds and little broadcast revenue.

Discussing a new configuration, Montagliani said: "Maybe it's like the Europeans or maybe it's like the South Americans with a league — or it's a hybrid of the two."

In Europe, countries are split into nine groups, balanced according to their rankings, and play games from September 2016 to October 2017. The group winners qualify automatically and the eight best runners-up will contest playoffs for the remaining four UEFA spots in Russia.

In South America, the ten CONMEBOL members are in a two-year league that started in October 2015. The top four have guaranteed World Cup places and the fifth-place team has to go through a playoff against a country from Oceania.

2
Entertainment & Culture Discussion / Japan Soca 2013 - Jump Up
« on: August 03, 2013, 08:17:33 PM »
As they have many ex-Pats Japanese in Brasil, this is Japan
They would have adopted Carnival but here is a little soca video
With costumes and Trini flags as they sing "wave your flag"
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/A3oA0UHNvwA" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/A3oA0UHNvwA</a>

Imitation is a form of flattery.   ;D

3
Football / Fabio Capello resignation
« on: February 08, 2012, 01:33:13 PM »
Heard on sports radio Fabio resigns as England Manager

I am not an England fan any supporters have their pick who will take over?


4
General Discussion / Counterfeit yah say how about an entire store
« on: July 21, 2011, 08:17:45 AM »
http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/SciTech/20110721/entire-apple-stores-being-faked-in-china-110721/

anyone on here is a big apple user

The Associated Press

Date: Thursday Jul. 21, 2011 6:50 AM ET

BEIJING — At first, it looks like a sleek Apple store. Sales assistants in blue T-shirts with the company's logo chat to customers. Signs advertising the iPad 2 hang from the white walls. Outside, the famous logo sits next to the words "Apple Store."

And that's the clue it's fake.

China, long known for producing counterfeit consumer gadgets, software and brand name clothing, has reached a new piracy milestone -- fake Apple stores.

An American who lives in Kunming in southern Yunnan province said Thursday that she and her husband stumbled on three shops masquerading as bona fide Apple stores in the city a few days ago. She took photos and posted them on her BirdAbroad blog.

The three stores are not among the authorized resellers listed on Apple Inc.'s website. The maker of the iPhone and other hit gadgets has four company stores in China -- two in Beijing and two in Shanghai -- and various official resellers. Apple's Beijing office declined to comment.

The proliferation of the fake stores underlines the slow progress that China's government is making in countering a culture of a rampant piracy and widespread production of bogus goods that is a major irritant in relations with trading partners.

China's Commerce Minister promised American executives earlier this year that the latest in a string of crackdowns on product piracy would deliver lasting results.

The 27-year-old blogger, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the set-up of the stores was so convincing that the employees themselves seemed to believe they worked for Apple.

"It looked like an Apple store. It had the classic Apple store winding staircase and weird upstairs sitting area. The employees were even wearing those blue T-shirts with the chunky Apple name tags around their necks," she wrote on her blog.

"But some things were just not right: the stairs were poorly made. The walls hadn't been painted properly. Apple never writes 'Apple Store' on its signs -- it just puts up the glowing, iconic fruit."

A worker at the fake Apple store on Zhengyi Road in Kunming, which most of the photos of the BirdAbroad blog show, told The Associated Press that they are an "Apple store" before hanging up.

The manager of an authorized reseller in Kunming, who gave only his surname, Zhang, said most customers have no idea the stores are fake.

Some of the staff in the stores "can't even operate computers properly or tell you all the functions of the mobile phone," he said.

"There are more and more of these fake stores in Kunming. Although they may sell real Apple products, some of those products were not imported through legal means. And they cost more."

Fake Apple stores are a "particularly egregious example" of brand piracy but their emergence is not surprising given the amount of product counterfeiting faced by corporations such as Apple, said Ted Dean, president of BDA China Ltd., a telecoms market research company.

He said a challenge for mobile phone companies and others selling branded products across a country as big as China is how to manage distribution, especially to smaller cities.

"And then, making sure people aren't copying it, faking it ... is absolutely a challenge," said Dean, who once saw a fake Apple phone in China that had an Apple logo -- but with no bite taken out of it.

Apple said this week that China was "very key" to its record earnings and revenue in the quarter that ended in June.

Revenue was up more than 600 per cent from a year earlier to $3.8 billion in the area comprising China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, said Apple's Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook, according to a transcript of a conference call on Tuesday.

"I firmly believe that we're just scratching the surface right now. I think there is an incredible opportunity for Apple there," Cook said.

The company plans to open two more Apple stores in greater China -- one in Shanghai and another in Hong Kong -- by the end of the year.


5
Other Sports / Any Golfers here?
« on: April 08, 2011, 06:01:15 AM »
Masters started yesterday...
No one fraid a golfer name Tiger

6
General Discussion / Trinidad & Tobago formal Shirt Jack
« on: March 17, 2011, 11:17:39 AM »
Anyone has pics of Shirt Jacks?
Was explaining it to someone at work, google only found the silk styles the Filipinos wear.

Thanks in advance


7
Good day all

Question for Canadian formites (not sure if USA, you sign up for fixed pricing), did you sign up for one of these plans?
Is it worth it?

I personally had bad experiences with Direct Energy and don't want to deal with dem at all.

Thanks

8
Entertainment & Culture Discussion / Soca live in China - KES
« on: October 07, 2010, 09:45:55 AM »
So KES made a live appearance in China

Must have Communist party brief them on dos and donts
footage look sort of tame.

http://www.youtube.com/user/keslive#p/a/u/1/bZ4kSv8fKjM

Check the trini flags waving - sort of look dead to me [must be submissive
before BIG brother take me away   :devil:]

Dutty care to chime in

9
2010 World Cup - South Africa / England's kit hit by Sewage spill
« on: June 16, 2010, 06:27:20 AM »
Equipment manager go need a juking board and lots of blue soap  :rotfl:

http://g.ca.sports.yahoo.com/soccer/world-cup/news/sewage-spill-lays-waste-to-england-s-uniforms--fbintl_ro-englandlaundry061510.html

Slovenia and Algeria may think twice on trading jerseys after their matches with England

10
http://www.tsn.ca/nba/story/?id=322972

I say good ridance, any takers off laod his contract what a bust...

11
General Discussion / Tax Return Software in Canada
« on: March 24, 2010, 09:53:15 AM »
Anyone has good or bad experiences using the various Tax Return software in the market for e-filing or completing a return from start to finish.
Any feedback is appreciated

Formites in the Cold Great North  ???

12
Other Sports / Baseball in TnT @ QP Savannah?
« on: December 10, 2009, 09:28:27 AM »
Anyone knows if they are still playing and teaching baseball in the Queens Park Savannah?

I recalled they were working on opening a baseball diamond in Central Trinidad.

We use to coach the kidson the game, Michael who use to play football in Canada ran the program.
There was another Michael who use to come by, with Yankee fan and another person from St James.

The kids enter tournaments in Venezuela

13
Cricket Anyone / Calypso cricket fades away - Article Toronto Star
« on: November 17, 2009, 01:11:54 PM »
http://www.thestar.com/sports/cricket/article/726574--calypso-cricket-fades-away


Calypso cricket fades away
November 17, 2009

Garry Steckles

 
West Indies cricket legend Sir Vivian Richards is seen in Toronto in this 2002 file photo.

BERNARD WEIL/STAR FILE PHOTO
 
What went wrong?

How could one of the greatest teams in the history of sport – any sport – go from a swashbuckling, world-conquering dynasty to a pitiful and pitied basket-case in just over a decade?

We're not talking about the Montreal Canadiens here, even though they haven't won the Stanley Cup since the early '90s, an intolerably long drought by the standards of hockey's most illustrious franchise. And we're obviously not talking about the Leafs.

No, this is about the West Indies and cricket, and about the misfortunes, and the not-too-distant possibility of the demise, of a team that dominated the venerable game for much of the second half of the last century.

What a story it was. For decade after glorious decade, teams put together from a collection of tiny Caribbean nations – there's no such country as the West Indies – ruled the world. And they ruled imperiously, with style, with panache, with the sort of swagger that no other cricketers, no matter how talented they were, could hope to match

It was called Calypso Cricket ... and it was a wondrous thing.

Each victory was savoured and celebrated, and beating England, the former colonial masters of every cricket-playing Caribbean country, was the biggest source of joy.

In the words of the late Michael Manley, best known as a charismatic and controversial prime minister of Jamaica but also the author of A History of West Indies Cricket: ``Beating England was more than a sporting success. It was the proof that a people was coming of age. They had bested the masters at their own game on their own home turf.''

It was called Calypso Cricket ... and today it looks as though it's dying, judging by some recent lowlights:

The West Indies is routinely thrashed by the game's leading teams and bottom of the top eight nations in both Test match and One-Day International rankings

The region's international players embroiled in a protracted strike over contracts, only recently settled, the latest in a series of acrimonious disputes with the West Indies Cricket Board.

A makeshift Windies team, in the midst of the senior players' strike, was humbled at home by Bangladesh, an enthusiastic but unquestionably second-tier cricketing nation.

A home Test match against the old enemy, England, was abandoned, humiliatingly, after just 10 balls because of the unsafe pitch in a stadium only a couple of years old.

On and off the field, it's a litany of disaster almost incomprehensible to shell-shocked supporters of the West Indies.

How bad is it?

Here's what Tony Cozier, the doyen of West Indian cricket journalists and an internationally respected observer of the sport, has to say: ``From every indication, the game in these parts is now in its death throes.''

Cozier isn't alone in his despair. Calypso cricket didn't come by its sobriquet by chance; more than any other sport, more than any other team, cricket in the West Indies has been played to the sound of music, much of it written about the game and the men who play it. The official ``bard'' of West Indies cricket is the calypsonian David Rudder, who, when he's not touring, lives in Ajax. The man who composed Caribbean's cricket anthem, Rally Round the West Indies, was asked how things could have deteriorated so dramatically and so quickly.

``What went wrong? Well, we didn't plan ahead, we took our blessings for granted, the world changed around us and the things that had driven us in the past were no longer important to the newer generation. Black pride and its militancy, the shrugging off of our colonial legacy, Frank Worrell completing the West Indian version of the Jackie Robinson journey, these things have been historically severed.''

Great memories of the West Indies go back a long way, to the days of the Caribbean's pre-Second World War giants Learie Constantine and George Headley. But the real birth of calypso cricket can probably be pinpointed to a single Test match and a single day: June 29, 1950.

The West Indies had just beaten England for the first time in England, and they'd done it at the hallowed home of cricket, Lord's, the historic London ground. It was a momentous occasion, and, after the last English wicket had fallen, the legendary calypsonian Lord Kitchener, who was living in England at the time, led a throng of West Indies supporters, singing and dancing, in a joyous parade around the field, and then on to Piccadilly Circus. Kitchener's great friend Lord Beginner, also living in England, promptly composed one of the earliest and certainly most famous of the hundreds of songs, most of them calypsos, that would be written about cricket: It was called Victory Test Match – better known as Cricket, Lovely Cricket.

In the decades to follow, calypso cricket would go on to heights that not even the jubilant fans who sang and danced with Kitch could have envisaged.

The West Indies dominated cricket for much of the second half of the 20th century, and much of that success had pace – generation after generation of lightning fast, unrelentingly aggressive bowlers – as its foundation stone, complemented by some of the most accomplished batsmen ever to play the game.

What, Rudder was asked, made the West Indies so special, so different: ``We're special because the basis of our very existence is based on a general lawlessness. Slave trade, piracy, you name it. What we have done is we've transformed this lawlessness into the very foundation of our beauty, e.g., Viv Richards hitting across the line and dominating the cricket world with shots that one will not find in any cricket manual.

``The swashbuckling style of the pirates of yore is now a blessing in the hands of a West Indian batsman.

``The staid and officious game, in the Caribbean, is conch shell, abeng (a horn), DJ hi-fi, bouncing stands and bouncing fans and the noise, always the noise of ten thousand coaches and managers in the stands.

The Windies' most successful era was from 1980 to 1995, when the sides led by Clive Lloyd, then Richards and, for the final few years, Desmond Haynes and Richie Richardson, didn't lose a Test series.

Then, almost imperceptibly at first, things started to go wrong. The greats, inevitably, were retiring. But, for the first time in decades, many of their replacements were not quite as good, not quite as dedicated to the cause of the West Indies. Almost inconceivably, the seemingly endless supply of fast and ferocious bowlers started to dry up. For the better part of a decade, the last two of the truly great pace men, Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh, shouldered the brunt of the fast-bowling burden, but the days of the all-conquering West Indies attack were drawing to a close. When those two retired, just after the turn of the century, they were effectively over.

Gradually, reluctantly, the supporters started to acknowledge what had become sadly obvious: the region's players simply weren't as good as they used to be. It's an inescapable conclusion: The Windies have won only seven of the last 32 Test series they have played.

Things have deteriorated to the point where authorities in Trinidad and Tobago are talking of breaking away and competing as an independent nation.

This month, the Windies face the daunting prospect of a tour to Australia, which recently was toppled from the top of the Test rankings but remains a formidable team. Then the powerful South Africans will visit the Caribbean.

Not so long ago, the prospect of these two series would have had fans relishing epic encounters ... won, naturally, by the West Indies.

Today, even though the end of the players' strike means the Windies have sent their senior squad Down Under, all but the most starry-eyed of Caribbean cricket fans can realistically hope for is that their team will put up a respectable fight.

And they continue to wonder: What went wrong?

Garry Steckles, a former senior editor at the Toronto Star, has been writing about cricket and Caribbean culture for more than three decades. He is author of the recently published Bob Marley: A Life, the first in a series of biographies of prominent Caribbean lives by Macmillan, the U.K. publishers.



14
Greetings Everyone

Can you hear the beat of the drum?
It is summer again and the 20th year of the dragon boat race at Toronto Centre Island is here again and this time we adding a Trini team to the festivities.

The Original Dragon Boat Race Festival in Toronto Celebrating its 20th year!

THE EVENT
The TELUS Toronto International Dragon Boat Race Festival is a two-day spectacular event that brings sports, multicultural entertainment and international spirit to Toronto Centre Island on June 21 & 22, 2008.

Highlights for the two-day event:
Dragon Boat Race ­
Close to 180 teams with over 5,000 paddlers competing in over 100 races in two days. Athletes of different backgrounds from all over the world take part in the ancient Chinese tradition and friendly competition.

Extravaganza of Entertainment
A fun-filled weekend enriched by multi-cultural performances, traditional dances and live music from a number of ethnic communities, including Chinese, South Asians, Eastern Europeans and South Americans. These performances reflect Toronto’s ethnic diversity and complement the city’s cultural mosaic.

Multicultural Village
The Multicultural Village offers delightful displays, arts and crafts demonstrations, educational cultural booths, and fun games for kids and adults.

International Food Pavilion
Taste authentic food from more than 10 restaurants who cook up the world-hopping delights of Chinese, Filipino, Thai, Korean and Japanese cuisine.

One of Canada’s most culturally significant events, the Festival is a community celebration of sport and culture, achieved through team building, entertainment, good food, arts and crafts and friendly competition. It showcases our city and draws more than 125,000 people to its festivities each year.

Supported generously by national corporations and local businesses, the Festival has proven to be a great opportunity for sponsors to outreach to a diverse ethnic group of consumers and business networks.

The Dragon Boat Race Festival will be Toronto’s hottest event in the upcoming summer!

__________________________

The Original Dragon Boat Race
Festival in Toronto Celebrating its 20th year!
THE EVENT
The TELUS Toronto International Dragon Boat Race Festival is a two-day spectacular event that brings sports, multicultural entertainment and international spirit to Toronto Centre Island on June 21 & 22, 2008.

Highlights for the two-day event:
Dragon Boat Race ­
Close to 180 teams with over 5,000 paddlers competing in over 100 races in two days. Athletes of different backgrounds from all over the world take part in the ancient Chinese tradition and friendly competition.

Extravaganza of Entertainment
A fun-filled weekend enriched by multi-cultural performances, traditional dances and live music from a number of ethnic communities, including Chinese, South Asians, Eastern Europeans and South Americans. These performances reflect Toronto’s ethnic diversity and complement the city’s cultural mosaic.

Multicultural Village
The Multicultural Village offers delightful displays, arts and crafts demonstrations, educational cultural booths, and fun games for kids and adults.

International Food Pavilion
Taste authentic food from more than 10 restaurants who cook up the world-hopping delights of Chinese, Filipino, Thai, Korean and Japanese cuisine.

One of Canada’s most culturally significant events, the Festival is a community celebration of sport and culture, achieved through team building, entertainment, good food, arts and crafts and friendly competition. It showcases our city and draws more than 125,000 people to its festivities each year.

Supported generously by national corporations and local businesses, the Festival has proven to be a great opportunity for sponsors to outreach to a diverse ethnic group of consumers and business networks.

The Dragon Boat Race Festival will be Toronto’s hottest event in the upcoming summer!
***********************
A team from Trinidad and Tobago - Excellent Stores Titans dragon boat team will be participating in the 20th TELUS Toronto International Dragon Boat Race Festival this year.  A first for a Caribbean team and they need our support. 

The team has two events to assist with sponsorship, a CURRY-Q Fundraiser is being held on Saturday 7th June 2008 at
2155 Leanne Blvd, Mississauga, ON L5K 2K8
11:30AM to 2:00PM

Leanne Blvd is the 2nd street north of the QEW off of Erin Mills Parkway
Catering by Calabash Caribbean Cuisine
For more information and tickets are $10.00
Contact: Maria 416-910-2711
             Philma 416-291-3874
             Lisa 905-202-0331

If you much prefer a fete then Wild Water Kingdom is the place to be on June 14th 8PM to 2AM tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the door.

http://www.ticketbreak.com/event_details/2200 link to order tickets.





15
Football / Underdogs shine on the World's stage
« on: May 31, 2006, 06:55:07 AM »
2006 FIFA WORLD CUP
Underdogs shine on the World's stage
BY LINDA ROBERTSON
lrobertson@MiamiHerald.com


FEVER PITCH: Fans of Trinidad and Tobago are excited about a first World Cup appearance. The Soca Warriors play England on June 15.
 
On the islands of Trinidad and Tobago, the sense of euphoria created by the soccer team's unlikely and suspenseful qualification for the World Cup never quite faded. Now it is building again, as the debut of the smallest country ever to play on sports' biggest stage is 12 days away.

The Soca Warriors are the main topic of conversation among Trinidad and Tobago's 1.3 million people. Even at this weekend's huge cricket test against India, national hero Brian Lara talked about the soccer team's chances to make a splash. Pubs are decorated in red. Memorabilia is sold out. The musical groups, singers and steel drum bands selected Thursday by the government to travel to Germany are practicing for performances meant to sweep fans along to the Trinidadian beat.

''At the moment, the whole country is like an expectant father hoping to bring into the world the ideal offspring,'' said Louis Lee Sing, who runs the two main radio stations in Port of Spain. ``Win or lose, we're going to leave a lot of our affection, warmth and rhythm over there. Germany will never be the same.''

The Soca Warriors could very well captivate World Cup followers the same way Cameroon's Indomitable Lions did in 1990 and South Korea's Red Devils did in 2002. Every four years, an unexpected team creates magical goals out of long odds and rises to the role of beloved underdog.

If Trinidad fails to win a game in Group B, then perhaps the Sparrow Hawks of Togo will get a few favorable bounces and escape from Group G. It's not likely. Togo is the lowest-ranked and second-poorest country in the World Cup with a per-capita gross domestic product of $1,600, and the German coach hired last week barely knows his players' names. Togo has been given a 750-1 chance of winning the June 9-July 9 tournament, in which traditional powers Brazil, Argentina, Italy and the Netherlands are the favorites.

Then there's Australia. Football could one day overtake Aussie Rules football as the country's most popular sport. The Socceroos are coached by Dutchman Guus Hiddink, who just happened to lead the inexhaustible South Koreans on their run to the semifinals four years ago.

''It would be lovely to see one of the giant-killers advance,'' said Tommy Smyth, an Irishman and ESPN commentator. ``The pressure of the event weighs on the favored teams, and they often play poorly, while the newcomers have light feet and absolutely nothing to lose.''

Upsets are part of the spell of the World Cup. In 1950, a squad of amateurs from the United States turned a header from Haitian-born dish-washer Joe Gaetjens into a 1-0 victory against England in the David vs. Goliath classic. In the final that year, little Uruguay shocked Brazil inside Rio de Janiero's throbbing Maracana Stadium.

Who can forget 38-year-old Roger Milla dancing with the flapping corner flag and leading Cameroon to wins over Argentina, Romania and Colombia in 1990 before losing to England in the quarterfinals? In 1994, Hristo Stoichkov led Bulgaria -- 0-16 in previous World Cups -- to the semifinals. In 2002, not only did South Korea earn the best finish by an Asian team, but the U.S. beat Portugal and Mexico before falling to Germany on a controversial goal, and Senegal beat defending champion France and advanced to the quarterfinals in its first World Cup.

''Every weekend all over the world, smaller, so-called weaker teams beat stronger teams,'' Trinidad coach Leo Beenhakker told The Associated Press. ``If Northern Ireland beat England, why can't Trinidad? We have the right to the same ambition on the field as any other team.''

Trinidad, home of calypso, soca, the steel drum, roti and author V.S. Naipul, was the last team to qualify for this World Cup. On Nov. 16, the Soca Warriors defeated Bahrain 1-0 in a playoff in Bahrain, which set off the kind of street party usually seen at Carnival time.

LONG TIME COMING

It has taken Trinidad 11 tries since 1966 to make its first World Cup. Russell Latapy, 37, came out of retirement. Dwight Yorke, 34, came over from his club in Australia. Striker Stern John scored 12 goals in qualifying matches. Christopher Birchall, an Englishman whose mother was born in Port of Spain, became the first white starter on the team in 20 years.

''All the Caribbean islands are supporting us,'' said Harvey Borras, Trinidad's consul in Miami. ``I'm hoping people worldwide will get to know more about our country.''

At Joy's Roti Shop in Lauderhill, the talk is about who is going to Germany. Cheryl Ramlogan is one of the lucky ones. She and her husband hope to get tickets to Trinidad's June 15 game against England in Nuremberg.

''It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see history,'' she said.

Sing, the radio station owner, is going with his daughter, Ayn Lee Sing, a University of Miami librarian.

Four of the five African teams -- Togo, Angola, Ghana and Ivory Coast -- also qualified for the first time. On paper, Ivory Coast is second only to Tunisia as the strongest team from the continent, but the Elephants were drawn into the Group of Death with Argentina, the Netherlands and Serbia and Montenegro.

Didier Drogba, the player of the year in France in 2004 and a sensational striker for Chelsea, could lead his team to a strong run. He is playing with passion; he has said he wants the team to act as a unifying force for his troubled country, where ethnic fighting has divided the population and destroyed the economy.

''Watch out for Drogba,'' Smyth said. ``He can lead a team; he can create.''

Angola would love to do to Portugal what Senegal did to France in 2002 -- defeat its colonizer. Angola's first appearance in the tournament is seen as a step forward for an impoverished country that endured 27 years of civil war after gaining its independence in 1975.

The roster includes many players who play professionally in Portugal -- as well as these memorable names: Ze Kalanga, Lebo Lebo, Love and Jamba. The star for the Black Antelopes is Pedro Mantorras, who plays for Benfica.

Ghana, which will play the United States on June 22, has a strong soccer tradition, having won four African Nations Cups and two Under-17 world titles, but it took 44 years for the Black Stars to qualify for the World Cup. Chelsea's Michael Essien commanded a $40 million transfer fee, making him the highest-paid African player in the world.

Togo is the lowest-ranked team in the tournament, at No. 56. The Falcons' key player is Emmanuel Adebayor, who plays for Arsenal. He scored 11 goals in 12 qualifiers, the most of any player in Africa. Togo gained independence from France in 1960 and will play Les Bleus on June 23 in Cologne.

TOUGHER FOR UNDERDOG

Aside from South Korea, the Cup's underdogs have done most of their barking in the early rounds. None has ever posed a serious threat for the Jules Rimet trophy. The predictable powers -- Brazil, Germany, Italy, Argentina, England, France and the Netherlands -- have dominated the championship game since 1966.

The game has become more global, gaining a foothold in Africa, Asia and the United States, and there is less hidden talent. Promising players swiftly are identified and signed by the European leagues.

National team coaches have long global résumés.

''I think it's getting tougher for the underdog because they are losing that element of surprise and unfamiliarity,'' Smyth said. ``Opponents are better prepared and not taking them for granted.''

Still, soccer is an unpredictable game, and the World Cup has an unforgiving format.

''One surprising goal can make all the difference, as we know,'' Trinidad's Sing said. ``Anything can happen in soccer. That's why we're so optimistic.''

++++++++++++++++++++

Dis is also in today's National Post in Canada on S7 for the SW in Canada...


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