Some facts to impress your mates with at the bar and some popular videos.
1. Netherlands midfielder Mark van Bommel is Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk’s son-in-law.
2. National coach Diego Maradona is the father-in-law of Argentina bench-warmer Sergio Aguero.
3. Honduras became the first team in World Cup history to have three brothers in its squad, when it called up striker Jerry Palacios as an injury replacement. Big-brother Jerry, who plays his club football in China, joined Wilson, who plays for Tottenham Hotspur in England, and little brother Johnny, who plays at home in Honduras.
4. The six strikers picked by Argentina coach Diego Maradona scored a sum total of 176 goals between them last season.
5. Lionel Messi scored 34 goals in 35 league games, and a grand season total of 47 goals for Barcelona. Diego Milito’s 30 goals for Inter Milan included the clinching goals that won the league, cup and Champions League. Carlos Tevez scored 29 goals for the season for Manchester City, having moved across town from United. Gonzalo Higuain got 32 goals for Real Madrid, 27 of them in the league. Sergio Aguero hit 20 goals for city rivals Atletico Madrid. And, last and least, Martin Palermo, the 36-year-old surprise pick, got 16 for Boca Juniors.
6. Argentina’s only goal in its opening 1-0 win over Nigeria came from a defender, Gabriel Heinze.
7. Germany’s team which beat Australia 4-0 was its youngest since the very first World Cup in 1934, with an average age narrowly under 25.
8. After scoring the opener against Australia, Lukas Podolski has got the same number of goals for Germany as he has in his entire Bundesliga career (39).
9. Eleven of Germany’s 23-man-squad was either born outside Germany or has a parent from outside Germany.
10. Italy, Germany and England named complete squads of players who play their club football at home.
11. No host team has ever made failed to make it past the first round of its own World Cup.
12. Brazil, in 1958 in Sweden and 2002 in South Korea and Japan, is the only team to have ever won a World Cup held outside of its land mass.
13. No overseas coach has ever won the World Cup.
14. Algeria coach Rabah Saadane is the only African boss at the first African World Cup. He is leading his country for the fifth time.
15. Slovenia, with 2 million inhabitants, is the least populous nation with a team at the World Cup. In its qualification play-off, it beat Russia – the world’s largest country by area, with a population of around 140 million. USA is the most populous country at the World Cup, with just over 300 million inhabitants.
16. North Korea got in trouble with FIFA, after naming striker Kim Myong-Won as its third goalkeeper for the World Cup. Coach Kim Jong Hun decided he didn’t need three ‘keepers and wanted to include an extra outfield player, but FIFA rules say Myong-Won must now play in goal, if at all.
The World Cup’s opening game relived through Lego – the best bit comes 1:20 in
“The Vuvuzela Song” to the tune of Rihanna’s Umbrella
A very approximate selection of the best World Cup goals, which misses out Dennis Bergkamp against Argentina in 1998