June 11, 2006

Mousetrap - 57

It’s that time again, where all the world’s a football field, and all the men (and some women) are merely spectators. We face the inevitable and give you an edition devoted to the World Cup.

The establishment
Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA)
The international governing body for the sport, and an obvious first port of call for your browser. In combination with their world cup 06 site, it has pretty much all you’d want - news (thanks to the Yahoo! tie up, the schedules, photo galleries, rankings, team pages and videos of the highlights (a few minutes’ worth each match, and small, patchy videos, but videos nevertheless). Check out the interactive map on the FIFA site (it’s a bit of a bandwidth hog, so do it on the office connection *grin*), which, once it loads, gives you quick and easy overviews of each team. Also worth a look-see, the classic games section, where you can go over details of games past.

Mapping it
mibazaar’s World Cup Soccer 2006 News on Google Maps
A nice way to while away the time between games, this site, the brainchild of a transplanted desi. Aside from using Google Maps to tell you where the heck the participating teams come from (no unworthy task), also throws in links to official World Cup news from Yahoo. Zoom into Germany, and you can do the same for the various host cities, via Google. And bonus points: links to the latest team blog posts from World Cup Blog (the last item in this column).

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This week’s blog

Team sport
World Cup Blog
A blog that made its debut in 2002, when it was run by three fans who blogged that year’s tournament. Now, it’s back, bigger and stronger. Better? Yes, but with one caveat―its success has meant that the creators are pushing it commercially, so you’re going to have to live with a slew of ads and, thanks to those, a very busy layout, excerpts on the front page instead of complete posts (and so, annoying extra clicks to on). That said, what you have now is a huge exercise: 34 blogs in all, 32 of them devoted one-apiece to the participating countries (so you can, if you like, follow your team to the exclusion of all else), one about the referees, plus a general news blog. There are also sections with video and picture galleries, both of which are rather bad at the moment, but there’s hope: the site has contests up, and is giving away some cool prizes, so hopefully there’ll be better stuff to see.

More sites you might enjoy:
A listing of all matches results scorers and statistics of the FIFA World Cup.
Association of Football Statisticians. Claim: “The world's most comprehensive football statistics.”
A printable wall chart from the BBC.
And for those of you who are sick of the whole thing, a World Cup quiz quiz that has nothing to do with football.

Reader suggestions welcome, and will be acknowledged. Go to http://o3.indiatimes.com/mousetrap for past columns, and to comment, or mail inthemousetrap@indiatimes.com. The writer blogs at http://zigzackly.blogspot.com.

Published in the Times of India, Mumbai edition, 11th June, 2006.

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