They are the men who will reap the plaudits and milk the applause -- the goal poachers who can grab glory for their nation in an instant. And they will deserve the adulation if they can rise above the increasingly defensive fare of the modern international game and the fear of losing, which hung heavy over the finals of both Euro 2004 and the 2006 World Cup.
Somewhere over the proverbial rainbow, a passion for yachting is stirring in the South African soul, or so Ian Ainslie hopes after Team Shosholoza's battling showing at the Louis Vuitton Cup. The syndicate may not have made it to the semifinals and, with a budget of just â,¬25-million coming in at barely a quarter ofthe big-leaguers, that was to be expected.
Two more alleged masterminds behind the deadly 2004 Madrid train bombings denied on Friday any involvement in the attacks and followed an accused co-plotter in refusing to address the court directly. Moroccans Youssef Belhadj and Hassan el-Haski both insisted on their innocence.
America's Tour de France winner Floyd Landis, facing the loss of his title in a doping scandal, on Friday insisted again he was innocent. The 30-year-old rider said that his positive test for testosterone showed up levels which ''are absolutely natural and produced by my own organism''.
The first World Cup to be hosted in Africa will provide an unparalleled business opportunity in four years time, organisers of South Africa 2010 said in Berlin at a presentation of their wares. Up to five million tourists are expected to flood into South Africa for the month-long jamboree, and the government has committed a R375-billion development package to the project.
A first-half moment of magic by AC Milan star Kaka gave defending champions Brazil a 1-0 win over Croatia in their opening World Cup Group F match at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin on Tuesday. Kaka ended a frustrating opening period for the five-times winners when he sent a curling left foot drive zipping past helpless 'keeper Stipe Pletikosa four minutes before the break.
Real Madrid star and France legend Zinedine Zidane on Wednesday explained his decision to retire after the World Cup finals in Germany and not play on with his club for another year. ''I didn't make this decision overnight. It's one I've mulled over for a long time,'' Zidane told a news conference in Madrid, confirming what he had told French television on Tuesday.
A permanent ceasefire by separatist group ETA came into effect on Friday as a poll found the vast majority of Spaniards want their government to engage in talks with the armed Basque movement. The Opina poll released by the private Cadena Ser radio station said around 68% consider the ceasefire ''good news for Spanish society''.