Unlike previous World Cups there's been no trouble from english hooligans this time around, so it was inevitable that another country would make a play for their crown. So far it seems to be the Argentinians who are gunning for it, but things aren't going too well for them so far.
Eighty of Argentina's barra brava arrived last week, but ten of them were deported immediately. One of the men sent home was Pillin Bracamonte, suspected of throwing an "explosive device" last year during their match against Brazil. Another was Sergio Gustavo Roldan , convicted of murder but on bail before sentencing, (very liberal the Argentian courts apparently).
Shorn of their leadership, the remaining seventy haven't exactly set the world on fire. Their most cunning feat was buying VIP tickets for the game against Nigeria on the black market and disrupting the special guests. Before that the most they were accused of was "generally causing trouble", according to South African police spokeswoman Sally de Beer.
Even that was too much for the authorities to take though, and police rounded up seventeen more in a dawn raid yesterday morning before deporting them. Hardly seems fair, they'd barely even gotten started. Just another example of not being able to convert fine club form into international success, I suppose. If nothing else, the barra bravas do come up with kickass monikers for themselves. Check these out:
Newell's Old Boys - The Most Popular Braggers
River Plate - The Drunkards of the Stand
Argentinos Juniors - The Ninjas 82
All Boys - The White Pest
and my favourite: Belgrano - The Light-Blue Pirates of Alberdi
Just to remind ourselves what hooliganism used to be like at the world Cup, here's some delightful english chaps misbehaving at Italia 90, by all accounts the high watermark of World Cup violence. We shall not see their like again, (hopefully)