Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Ashes - they're ours....again!

Ho ho ho! What a Merry Christmas it's been for the England boys down under. Despite a minor blip in Perth where Mitchell Johnson had a good couple of hours, the South Africans England players have dominated the Ashes series, and with one test to go have successfully retained the little urn.

I've forced myself to stay up late to watch at least the early hours of most days play so far, and England have been superb throughout. Only Paul Collingwood has really failed to shine, but his fielding remains a constant threat and he's snaffled a good few catches.

The top order batters, and Bell when he's been called on have been monstrous, and the bowlers superb throughout. The management of the team, and selection, especially post Stuart Broad's exit through injury have been spot on.

The series is not yet won however. A 3-1 scoreline - or even the current 2-1 would be far preferable to the Aussies clawing back to 2-2.

Talking of the Aussies, they have, bar Hussey, Haddin and twice Siddle, been atrocious. I'm not worried - indeed long may it continue. It's nice to see them struggling so much after thrashing the hell out of us over the last 20 or so years. Ponting, the skipper, has had a personal mare of a series, but few have come out much better, the selectors included. Ponting has been barely able to buy a run, he broke his finger in the last test, played though this one and is now out for the final rubber. Will that be it for "Punter" both as a test player and as skipper. It may well be. Much though I want him to lose, he has been a superb player for the Aussies. It's a shame a lot of people will remember him as one of a few (only two?) Australian skips who have lost the Ashes three times. Well, maybe not.

So, onward and upward lads. Make it 3-1 in Sydney, then win the T20 and one day series, and then the World Cup. Please?

New faces for City?

Dave Jones has been saying he thinks he'll be able to strengthen in January, and it now looks as if the first new face is a done deal. Although the BBC website is reporting only that City are "keen" on the 22 year old Everton striker, the South Wales Echo that dropped through my door at lunchtime was claiming it a £1m done deal.

Vaughan has struggled to get a starting spot at the Toffees, and has got a history of injuries (sound familiar with Cardiff signings?), but has been out on loan at Crystal Palace for the last three months. He looks like a decent signing, and someone that will bolster City's attacking options further.

But, and it's the question nearly all City fans are asking, where are the defensive additions? Ask (almost) any City fan, and they'll tell you we are weakest in defence, and especially at centre and left back, where Lee Naylor has failed miserably to establish himself as a decent defender.

There are rumours of another "Premiership" player being in talks, and Jonathan Woodgate's name has been heard on the grapevine. He's another injury prone centre back, so he & Chris Riggott can share treatment table stories.

However, the fact that City appear to be moving for new players does make me feel rather happier - we certainly need to strengthen if we're to resurrect our promotion push.

The only cloud on the horizon, and one made slightly darker by the probable arrival of Vaughan, is will Bothroyd and/or Chopra go? Jones has said he won't let them go, but if someone comes in with a big bid - and Bothroyd in particular has been scoring for fun and has now got a senior England cap, will the temptation be too much?

I'd like to think both players will see the efforts City are making for the Premiership push, and want to stay and be part of it, but sadly these days it's all about money and "now". Let's hope I'm wrong.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas goodies: Flip Ultra HD

I must have been a good lad this year, as once again, Santa left some techno goodness under the tree for me.

I'm now the lucky owner of a Flip Ultra HD 8GB pocket video recorder. It's a marvellous, and very simple piece of video recorder gadgetry. Smaller (but about twice as thick) as my iPhone 4 - bearing in mind the iPhone is the "world's thinnest smartphone", there's really not much to this recorder. You turn it on, press the big red button and it records. To stop, press the big red button again!

To upload video, just "flip" out in-built USB adapter, whereupon on first connection you get the chance to install the Flip software (to Mac or PC), and off you go.

The only other two buttons on the device (other than the on/off and big red button) are a review and delete button. The settings are basic - language, whether you want sound on button press, the red recording light to show etc).

It runs on the inbuilt battery, which is removable, and replaceable by 3x AAA's. The 8GB holds about 2 hours worth of the HD video it records. Note that it doesn't take stills.

You wouldn't want to record an epic on it - or even anything overly lengthy. It's ideal for short clips which you might want to email, upload to YouTube of embed on a site.

The Flip software is pretty basic, but does allow you to do some pretty limited editing and movie creation. You van of course import it into any video editing suite that you may have that supports it's native MP4 file format.

It complements my Samsung FD30 perfectly. If I want longer scenes, with bigger zoom (the Flip has a pretty limited and digital only zoom) and fancy effects (which I never use), then the Sammy gets the nod. If it's quick clips and I don't want to lug my Samsung around (which is slightly smaller than a can of coke anyway) then the Flip will do the business.

Why have this and the iPhone that records HD video as well? The iPhone's definitely a good backup and is with me all the time, but for longer clips the Flip is easier to hold, is easy to upload, holds 2 hours without me worrying about either space or battery life on the iPhone.

It's beauty is it's pocket-ability and the high quality of the video you get. It's a far, far cry from the cumbersome handled recorders of some time ago.

I love it!

City shocker: Watford 4-1 City

City are back to their Jekyll & Hyde ways. On Sunday at CCS v Coventry they were superb, but at Vicarage Road two days later against Watford, they took a right thumping going down 4-1, against a pacy, organised and up for it Hornets side.

Listening on the radio I heard words from the Radio Wales commentators like sloppy, poor, no game plan, a "tanking" and it showed in a match that City led (not for long), and eventually lost comprehensively.

Still missing Bothroyd - although Sunday showed that's not quite the end of the world, the Bluebirds were also without Bellamy today - two games in a week is too much for his fragile knee. Being without one of the two is just about OK - being without both frankly means we're unlikely to win.

The defensive frailties started to show early, with Naylor conceding a penalty inside 12 minutes, which Marshall brilliantly saved, and then against the run of play a super move saw Whittingham blast home to give City the lead. Watford hauled it back soon after, when another Naylor mistake gave possession away and led to their equaliser.

Shortly after Naylor who many fans (me included) think is a real weak defensively was booked, and he was eventually subbed before half time.

City, as so often in the past had no plan B to counter Watford's organised display, and to put it very mildly, had a shocking day at the office.

You could argue that two games in two days is too much - Watford haven't played for 18 days, but that's no excuse. They're professional footballers, they know it's a busy Christmas period, and they should be up for it both mentally and physically. People still say they have a good enough squad to go up, and I agree - but it's no good having a good enough squad if you can't play well enough as a team, and Sunday aside, City have been bloody awful since the end of October, and that's not good enough for promotion.

Dave Jones has got some sorting out to do. There is talk of money to spend in January, but the way City are falling off the pace (though unbelievably they are still second as results around them have favoured them, but the pack are catching, and indeed some have caught City - Swansea and Leeds are both on the same points), you have to wonder whether the owners will have the will to splash much cash.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Merry Christmas: City 2-0 Coventry

After a dismal run of form, Cardiff City finally came good in front of 24,500 at the CCS on Boxing Day. Braving a bitterly cold day, the faithful saw a Bluebirds side without talisman striker Jay Bothroyd either in the tem or even on the bench, edge past a defensively resolute Coventry.

In truth City dominated the match from start to finish, something they haven't done for a long time, and without a string of outstanding saves by Sky Blues 'keeper Westwood, the final score could have been far different.

It was a surprise not to see Bothroyd in the starting line-up, after he was due back from a hamstring tweak in the match before Christmas that was eventually postponed due to the weather. The extra week without a match made most people sure he's start today, and when the team sheets were announced and he wasn't in sight, a few inward groans must have gone round the stadium.

But to be fair, City didn't miss him today. Manager Dave Jones, so often it seems reluctant to start Michael Chopra, did so, and I think City are a far better team with him pulling defenders around, even when he's not in top scoring form.

Up front Andy Keogh worked hard, and despite some indecisive moments from him, it was his quick thinking and free kick that set up Bellamy to cross for Olifanjana's opener on 21 minutes. I think Keogh had a good game, and though he'll almost certainly make way when Bothroyd does return, he's proving a willing replacement for the moment.

McPhail and Olifanjana, the latter looking in a bit more like his early season form, controlled the midfield well.

Coventry rarely threatened, and when they did City were generally sound at the back, with centre back Chris Riggott finally making his bow in a City shirt. He had a decent game until subbed (probably through lack of match fitness), and looked assured with some good touches. Marshall barely had a save to make in the entire match. The Sky Blues did get the ball in the net once, but it was (correctly) ruled out for offside, but that's as close as they came.

The second goal for City was almost inevitable, and eventually came in a somewhat bizarre fashion, after Bellamy was floored just inside the Coventry half, and when the defence hesitated expecting a free kick which wasnt given, Bellamy got up, ran on and hit a shot that was wickedly deflected past Westwood. There was an uncomfortable few seconds for City fans and players as it was unclear whether the ref had given the goal because he was booking the player that had fouled Bellamy, but the goal stood, and that wrapped it up for City.

With Leeds being pegged back from 2-0 to 2-2 at Leicester, City leapfrog them back into 2nd with a game in hand, and even better festive cheer was knowing in the early kick off, the Jacks had been thumped 4-0 at leaders QPR, with the added bonus of Alan Tate having seen red.

So a great Boxing Day for City. Their first win on Boxing Day for many years. And if not an outstanding display, certainly looking as if they're getting back towards their best. Watford next up away on Tuesday, but the really big one looming is Leeds visit to the CCS on 4th Jan.

Up the City!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Running on empty: Boro 1-0 City

How in God's name are City 2nd in the Championship?

Other than a win away at Scunthorpe way back on 13th November (and they battered us for the second 45 mins of that game remember), we haven't won since we beat Norwich at home on 30th October. In that period we've escaped with a draw (only just) to the bottom side Preston, and now lost to Boro who were one off the bottom - both poor, poor sides, but obviously with more fire in their belly than us.

I listened to today's match on the radio, and it sounded as though City were second best all match. What the hell is Dave Jones saying to his players, because it sure as hell 'aint working?

I feel sorry for all those supporters who made the trip today.

Everyone (players, managers, pundits, me) keeps saying that City have the strength and depth to gain automatic promotion this term. Well at the moment we're returning automatic relegation form - every match. We are lacklustre, unimaginative, and arguably Bellamy apart rarely show any real passion. The spark and drive and flair that should be there with the quality of players like Bothroyd, Whittingham, Chopra, Burke and Co. just isn't there. It was there against Leeds, it was there (for 40 minutes) against Scunthorpe and Portsmouth and Doncaster way, way back in August when everything was rosy. But in the depth of winter it's gone awol big time.

It's clear that:
  • We have no plan B without Jay Bothroyd, and often no Plan B when he's in the side and things aren't going our way. Thank God he's back for next week's match
  • Jones doesn't rate Chopra enough to start him. We were better when he came on in the 2nd period today. I've said before we're a better team with him in it. If the rumours are true, he may be off to QPR in January anyway, and that would be a crying shame.
  • Our central defence is still very, very suspect.
  • Whatever Jones is saying to the player just isn't working. The plain fact of the matter just is that at the moment we're just not good enough.
It's no good churning out the same old cliché's about the opposition setting up to frustrate us, getting men behind the ball, or blaming poor refereeing decisions blah, blah, blah. If we seriously have aspirations to play in the Premiership, we have to learn how to beat sides that do that - and take the rough decisions along with those that go our way once in a while. And we have to learn to be consistent.

Hell, I'd forgo pace and flair for a side I knew could keep a clean sheet and win 1-0, but in all the years I've been watching City, they've never been one you could say that of. It's been a running joke between me and my mate in the Grange end for years when we score (not that frequently lately), that we'll just need another two to be safe. Even our kids both now middling teenagers spout that mantra.

I don't know. I just don't. If City had played to half their potential, we'd be out of sight now. We're not. We're second. Let's not forget that (as Jones is all too frequently reminding us). But we sure as hell won't be second come the New Year if we don't buck our idea up. And if we don't buck our ideas up, and if' we fall right off the pace, then that nice Mr Vincent Tan may well decide he's not going to dip his hand into his transfer wallet, and then where will we be?

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I think this is a seminal season for Cardiff City. If we don't go up this year, I'm not sure we ever will. Don't blow it.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Adobe: What a load of old cobblers

I've just had an inordinately bad experience, and I'm trying to hold my temper, but it's hard.

I've been an Adobe Photoshop Elements (v2) user for years. That version has always just about done for me and I've avoided upgrading, but tonight decided the time had come to take the plunge to the latest version (v9), and so I navigated to the Adobe online store.

Yes I know I could have gone to Amazon, or somewhere else but the price difference wasn't that great and I get it right from the horses mouth so to speak.

No I must digress briefly here, and say that I've ranted about Adobe before - that was about the price differential between what US customers pay and European and specifically UK customers pay. Adobe put this down to the shifting exchange rate. I say "cobblers" (or words to that effect). Not a valid argument for online software purchase. It's entirely Adobe taking UK purchasers to the cleaners. Enough said.

Now I've made a few big online software purchases recently - MS Office for Mac, MS Office for Windows to name two, and several others to boot. In ALL cases, I've paid, downloaded installed, registered and just got on with it. How about with Adobe? Oh no........

First up, I paid. Fine - they took my cash sweet as a nut.

Click on the download link and get a cryptic message saying if I'm downloading with IE then blah, blah, blah, but if I'm using another browser I have to download something else first. I was in FireFox, and I didn't want to download something else first to enable me to make the download I wanted, so I switched to IE (yuk) and downloaded the 1.75 GB file to my desktop.

When it was downloaded I tried to launch it. Oops. Mistake. It's some odd compressed file that nothing on my Windows PC could read, so I then had to download some more software to extract the files (stuffit expander - or a choice of another couple of programs) to extract all the files, which I did and it duly did.

So, left with two folders. A Readme and an Program folder. Read the Readme ((briefly) as you do, nothing untoward in there, opened the program folder, double clicked the "setup.exe"..........and got an error message saying "Please install/uninstall the product setup.exe to the root folder". Click OK and the installer exits. D'oh!

A quick Google didn't find anything obvious so went to Adobe site and clicked Live Chat.

Within seconds, had Umer on the desktop offering to help. I explained the problem. The rest as they say is history. The full transcript of our chat is below.

Chat InformationThank you for choosing Adobe. A representative will be with you shortly. Your estimated wait time is 0 minute(s) and 30 second(s) or longer as there are 1 customer(s) in line ahead of you.

Chat InformationYou are now chatting with Umer.

Umer: Hello! Welcome to Adobe Customer Service.

Simon: Hi

Umer: Hi Simon

Umer: I am glad to help you.

Umer: As I understand, you are unable to install the software, correct?

Simon: That's right

Umer: Thank you.

Umer: Let me check the order number AD000726232UK

Umer: I see that you have placed the order on Dec. 05, 2010

Umer: Please be informed that it normally takes 24 to 48 hours to complete the order.

Simon: Why 24 hours? Yes - I have downloaded a 1.75GB file to my desktop. Expanded it into two folders - a read me and a APSE 9 with a setup file (amongst others). Launch the setup file and get the error message

Umer: You will be able to download and install the software 48 hours after placing the order.

Simon: I already have downloaded the software

Umer: I see that the the order is processed completely.

Umer: Please try to install the software after 48 hours.

Simon: Why can't I install it now? What's going to change in 24 hours?

Umer: The product will be ready to install in 48 hours.

Simon: I don't understand why, when I have a 1.75GB file sitting on my desktop I can't install it for 48 hours! That's ludicrous.

Umer: Simon, I see that this is a technical issue and I may not be of great help to you.

Simon: If I go to a store and buy the software on a CD/DVD would I have to wait 48 hours before I installed it? I think not.

Umer: I request you to call our Technical Support team on phone if you are unable to install the software after 48 hours of placing the order.

Simon: This is ridiculous. I'd like a refund please

Umer: Sure. We can help with this.

Umer: May I please have the product serial number?

Simon: Yes it's 1057-1717-6531-9470-5398-9279

Umer: Thank you.

Umer: In order to process your return, you must agree to delete the existing software from your computer and destroy any existing copies. You may not sell, transfer, give away, donate or otherwise distribute your existing Adobe product to anyone else. Do you agree?

Simon: Yes I do

Umer: Thank you.

Umer: You will receive the refund in 7 to 10 business days by the method of payment.

Simon: Thank you

Umer: You are welcome.

Simon: I'd be grateful if you could provide some feedback to your manager.

Umer: Sure.

Simon: I have bought online and downloaded several commercial software suites recently, and in all cases with this exception, the process has been flawless. Buy, download and install and I'm up and running straight away.

Umer: Let me help you with a link with more information on this.

Simon: The process for downloading this software (and I assume all other Adobe software) is convoluted, unclear and the idea of having to wait 48 hours after downloading before I can use it is completely ridiculous. Adobe have just lost a customer, and I will be looking elsewhere for my photo editing software.

Umer: Thank you for waiting. One moment please.

Simon: I appreciate your help in processing the return, but I'm unhappy with the process and feel aggrieved that it had to come to that.

Umer: Please click here

Umer: Is there anything else I can help you with?

Simon: OK. Thanks. Goodbye

Umer: Thank you for contacting Adobe. Goodbye!

Now don't get me wrong, I'm sure Umer is a nice person. But what's all this crap about having to wait 48 hours before installing software that I've just paid for and downloaded, and is sitting in a whacking great 1.75 gig file on my desktop? Excuse my French but that's just bloody ridiculous. What the hell is this, and how suddenly after 48 hours will a file decide it's OK to be installed?

I'm beginning to understand why Steve Jobs (head honcho at Apple) has a thing about Adobe.

It's worth googling Adobe and install - seems I'm not the only one.....

Any thoughts?

Saturday, December 04, 2010

How's your connectivity at CCS?

As a fan of Cardiff City and a season ticket holder, I'm at the Cardiff City Stadium a fair bit. On match days I like to tweet about the atmosphere, the game, key decisions.

However, it's almost bloody impossible to do so. 99 times out of 100 I cannot get anything other than the most basic of signals on my iPhone in the stadium (and sometimes outside it). If I want to make a phone call, or send a text message it's just about OK, but browse the web, use Twitter, check my iPhone football apps for other scores - not a snowball's chance in hell. Nada. No signal - "the internet connection timed out".

It's really, really frustrating. No it really is. We're in the 2st century for God's sake, and I can't use my phone proper;y because in the middle (well almost) of the capital city of Wales I can't get a 3G, or even and "Edge" connection.

And do you know what's even more bizarre and frustrating? There are occasions (few and far between) and other people who (regularly) can.

I sit in the Grange end of the stadium. A couple of months ago I was attending the Wales v Bulgaria match, and I had wall to wall 3G. I could tweet and browse to my hearts content. Just as well really because the game was pretty poor that night.

Today for example, in the three and a half hours I was there, I saw an Edge connection flicker into view once, for about 30 seconds - apart from that nothing.

Another City fan, (@DarthCudd) for those of you Twitterati, sits in the Ninian stand and tells me on his Android device he always has a 3G signal.

Building the conspiracy theory further, another of my Twitter chums tells me the police ask to have the internet connection "switched off" in the stadium during matches. Now I'm not sure about this on two counts.

1) @DarthCudd can clearly get a signal
2) How can someone "switch off the Internet?

However the fact that (for me at least) it was wall to wall in one match and non-existent at most others, does rather suggest something is going on.

And before anyone asks, I don't have an iPhone with a "grip of death" issue, and in fact it's used in a case.

That apart, it's bloody irritating. I wish someone would sort it out. Hallo??

Awful. Really awful: City 1-1 Preston

I was really looking forward to this game. A chance for City to get back to winning ways against the bottom side in the Championship.

Oh how I should have known better.

A couple of bizarre decisions for me in the line ups. Firstly, Darcy Blake at centre back instead of Gyepes. With "big" (in every sense of the word) John Parkin up front for Preston, and two hulking central defenders they send up for set pieces why not pick our smallest centre back? Good call(not).

Secondly, Chops on the bench again. For me, we're a much better balanced team with Chops in, and the runs he makes pull other sides apart. But hey, I'm only an armchair manager.

Anyway, things went from bad to worse when Bothroyd pulled up with a hamstring injury in the 8th minute. We've got no like for like replacement, so Keogh got the nod. To be fair, I though he went on to be possibly our best player on the pitch today, and grabbed the late, late equaliser.

Preston went ahead courtesy of a big deflection on a free kick on 26 minutes that left Marshall stranded.

I'll gloss over the next 68 minutes with a broad summary. Suffice it to say that we were in the most part shockingly awful. Passing was abysmal, decision making was atrocious, confidence was non-existent. City left the field at half time to boos.

In the second period things improved - especially when Chops came on for McPhail and Whitts moved inside, but even when we got chances, we wasted them. Bellamy in particular was wasteful today with shots and passes - perhaps he was trying too hard.

For Preston's part, they looked like what they are. A shockingly bad team, probably deservedly at the bottom of the league, but we looked little better.

In the end, we were thankful for the 5 minutes of added time that ref Mr Deadman allotted following Preston's blatant time wasting at every opportunity (I know every team does it, but at least most try to hide the fact). But Preston eventually caved in in the 94th minutes when after A Whittingham cross and Olifanjana knock down Keogh popped up to head in from close range.

On balance, I think we deserved a point - no more, though it pains me to say it, but frankly with our squad we should be putting sides like Preston to the sward and burying matches like these by half time.

Maybe it was something to do with the cold and rain. The crowd was subdued the whole afternoon (perhaps because Preston only brought about 16 travelling fans (I jest, it was nearer 20), but the atmosphere never really took off.

Anyway, another test for City net week with a trip to Middlesbrough - also languishing at the bottom, and another side we should beat comfortably.

I've just seen on Twitter that Bothroyd reckons he'll be out for only one match - let's hope so. We need him in the side and fit for the Christmas programme.

As for the manager Dave Jones? I've always been a supporter. I still think he's done great things for this club, but I'm beginning to think that he's run his race at City. Sometimes I think he sets the team to play a certain way to kick sand in the face of those who criticise him, especially his tactical awareness. One to discuss over a pint perhaps?

He has his favourite players - players who the 20,000 or so City fans who watch every week clearly don't rate - Lee Naylor for one who I haven't seen have a good game since he arrived, and he won't be moved on this. He thinks we don't need a replacement for Bothroyd. At least that's what he said before the Swansea game. We clearly do. We might still be second, but only just, and I'm beginning to believe it's in spite of Jones rather than because of Jones.

Come on City, let's up the game or it'll be playoffs (at best) again.


Thursday, December 02, 2010

And the World Cup is awarded to....

Well you can make your own mind up as to why England wasn't awarded the 2018 World Cup. Didn't come close even. Despite all the optimism, the big guns of the Prime Minister, Prince William and old Golden Balls himself, David Beckham, we didn't make it past the first cut.

In fact, the whole thing was sewn up (or should that be stitched up?) in the second round of voting with Russia getting the nod.

The England bid team was quietly confident, and arguably so should they have been. A strong technical bid we could have run the competition next week if necessary (well maybe not, but the infrastructure is there, unlike say....Russia).

Commercially it made sense too. Big business in a western society, a multi-cultural society with a fan base that would have lent support to most teams.

FIFA members who had allegedly promised us votes clearly decided for whatever reason to cast their ballot paper elsewhere. Why?

Well, it could be for any number of reasons, but here are a few random thoughts that just popped into my head.
  1. Money changed hands. Just a thought. I have no evidence to back that up.
  2. FIFA is corrupt - just a thought. I have no evidence to back that up.
  3. Sepp Blatter, Head of FIFA told people how to vote. Just a thought. I have no evidence to back that up.
  4. People generally, and Sepp Blatter and Jack Warner particularly, don't like England. Just a thought. I have no evidence to back that up.
  5. THE Panorama programme that outed alleged corruption in FIFA. Just a thought. Not my evidence.
  6. An untimely reminder that hooliganism hasn't been completely eradicated from the British game - take a step forward Birmingham "fans". Easily evidenced.
  7. It was a fair and honest vote. Just a thought. I have no evidence to back that up.
And then, to rub salt into the wounds, Qatar, a middle eastern country whose technical bid was generally reported to the worst of the bunch, is awarded the 2022 World Cup. Oh, and allegedly Qatar is smaller than Wales; public drinking and homosexuality are illegal, and it boasts an average summer temp in the 40s°C. A nice fan friendly place. This is what the Foreign Office website has to say about Qatar:

  • There is an underlying threat from terrorism in Qatar. Attacks, although unlikely, could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers. See the Safety and Security - Terrorism section.
  • You should maintain a high level of security awareness, particularly in public places. You should avoid large gatherings and demonstrations (err, like football matches?).
  • Around 40,000 British tourists visit Qatar every year (Source: Qatar Immigration Department). 38 British nationals required consular assistance in Qatar in the period 01 April 2009 – 31 March 2010 for the following types of incident; deaths (7 cases); hospitalisations (5 cases); and arrests, for a variety of offences (20 cases). During this period, assistance was also requested with regard to lost or stolen passports (26 cases).
Now, all told, I'm not against World Cups being held on foreign shores. Oh how I remember fascination of the days of watching fuzzy, radio sounding, interference laden B&W TV pictures from Mexico and the like in my boyhood days (although frankly I'd prefer to watch it on a 40" LED in HD/3D).

Who knows, in the 8 years Russia have got, and the 12 Quatar have got to prepare, everything might be coming up roses.

Just a thought. I have no evidence to back that up.