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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Rooney Red, South Africa Red-Faced

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In this week’s review section, we look back at stories from the African Nations Cup qualifying groups as well as at England striker Wane Rooney. You can listen to these and other stories on our weekly podcast and can find explanations of key vocabulary in bold below, or highlighted in blue.


While most football reporters’ eyes were on the European Qualifiers and the World Cup qualifiers in Asia and South America, qualifying for the 2012 African Cup of Nations was wrapped up last week. And it’s congratulations to minnows Botswana and Niger, who both qualified for the first time in their histories. Some of the continent’s bigger teams, such as South Africa, Nigeria and Egypt, the current ANC champions, failed to get through, while Botswana and Niger both topped their groups – more on Niger’s qualification later in this section. A great result for the Zebras – that’s Botswana, and the Mena from Niger!

Bad: Rooney Red

Rooney sees red again in England’s European Championship qualifier against Montenegro. After losing the ball to Dzudovic the red mist descended, and Rooney lashed out at the defender, kicking him from behind. There seemed to be no reason for the Manchester United and England striker’s anger, and at the time England were relatively comfortable with the score at 2-1. Montenegro went on to draw the game with a late equaliser and earn a place in the best runners-up qualifiers. The England manager, Capello was left scratching his head along England fans and has decided that Rooney will play no part in his team’s upcoming friendly games. Does this mean his place is under threat? I don’t think so, but everyone will be wondering how the temperamental forward will perform every time he takes the field in an England shirt.

Well Damon has already mentioned the African Cup of Nations qualifying rounds and perhaps the biggest story emerging from that tournament was not the fact that Nigeria failed to qualify but that South Africa’s failure to understand the rules of the competition ensured that the Bafana Bafana would not be travelling to co-hosts Gabon or Equatorial Guinea next year. After they managed a scoreless draw in their game against Sierra Leone the players did a lap of honour as they thought they had topped their group with a superior goal difference over their rivals Sierra Leone and Niger. Little did they know that in the case of teams finishing on the same points then the head-to-head results counts and not goal difference meaning that Niger qualified for their first ever major tournament and leaving the South Africans fuming but ultimately red-faced.


eyes on: focusing on, in the news

wrap up: decide, finish, end

see red: get angry and become violent; receive a red card

red mist descends: someone becomes so angry they cannot think clearly; lose control of your temper

lash out: punch or kick someone violently

runner up: second place finisher; a team that finishes second in a league or group

scratch (your) head: be confused, bewildered; be left surprised and unbelieving

had topped their group: Come first in the group

goal difference : A way of deciding teams that have finished on level points, ie which teams have scored more or conceded fewer goals

fuming but ultimately red-faced: Angry but then embarrassed

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The Good, The Bad, The Ugly