- Qualified as the best team in South America. First reigning champions to have to qualify for the next tournament.
- They have won the title a record five times, including three out of four between 1958 and 1970, a magnificent run only interrupted by a superb English victory in 1966.
- If your wife asks what you think of the Brazilian style, don't go into a discussion of overlapping full-backs, two defensive midfielders covering for a front five or any of that type of thing. She's thinking of getting her fanny shaved.
- Brazil is famous for barefooted footballers in slums, coffee, samba music and convincing transexuals.
- Brazil also hosts massive open-air music concerts by the likes of The Rolling Stones and Tina Turners. However, the record was set when eight million punters turned out to see It Bites in Sao Paulo.
- Player to watch - Ronaldinho. His recent form for Barcelona suggests that there is more to him than his pin-up good looks. A promising young talent.
- Qualified by topping a group that also contained finalists Sweden.
- In their only previous World Cup, delighted fans around the world by thumping Germany 3-0, the biggest hiding the squareheads had received since a certain afternoon in 1966.
- The most popular ever film in Croatia's history is the musical "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers". This popularity explains the national team's predilection for gingham tops.
- Because of their moon-man language which utilises few vowels, it is not considered rude to accidentally hockle on somebody when you are talking to them.
- The Croatian superstar and AC Milan legend Boban adopted his nickname after the English darts player Bob Anderson.
- Player to watch - Dado Prso. Porrage-countenanced, pony-tailed Rangers forward. Looks like a session musician for Texas or Anastacia.
- Qualified by beating Uruguay on penalties after a two-legged playoff. Uruguay had previously sweated through eighteen games against the best in South America, while Australia reached the play-offs by beating the cast of "The Love Boat" and "Magnum P.I."
- Australia only ever qualifies for World Cups staged in Germany. In 1974 they didn't score a single goal. That World Cup was won by Germany, making up in part for their crushing 4-2 defeat to England eight years earlier.
- Australia is not a major footballing power, concentrating instead on cricket, rugby and aussie rules football.
- Unfortunately, they lost the cricket Ashes to England, the rugby World Cup to England and nobody else plays aussie rules because it's shite.
- Australia has the lowest population density in the world. This is because most of them are working in bars in London, complaining about the weather and talking racist tommyrot about "the flamin' abboes" and their supposed abuse of the Welfare system.
- Player to watch - Mark Viduka. Courageous and fair tackling Middlesbrough striker. Fast food addict and possessor of the most massive heed outside of Easter Island.
- Qualified ahead of fellow finalists Iran by squeezing past the might of Bahrain and North Korea.
- Reaching the second round in 2002, when they co-hosted the tournament, is their best performance. Among the host nations who have won the tournament are such luminaries as England, who edged West Germany 4-2 in a thrilling final in 1966.
- Japan has a rich cultural heritage that includes violent cartoons, vending machines that sell soiled schoolgirl knickers, ritual suicide and obese men in nappies shoving each other.
- The Japanese also invented karaoke, which in japanese literally means "pissed lass singing "I will Survive"".
- Although the japanese eat raw fish, dolphin penis, eels and bean curd, they don't eat doner kebabs. So who is the real sick man?
- Player to watch - Shinji Ono. The son of Yoko Ono, the unpredictable midfielder missed several qualifiers when he refused to get out of bed.
Official World Cup 2006 Epithets
Prediction: Brazil to thrash everyone else. Croatia to scrape home as best of the rest.