Teams - Spain, Ukraine, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia
- Qualified by thrashing Slovakia in a play-off after surprisingly finishing behind Serbia in their group.
- Perennial underachievers Spain have never amounted to a hill of beans in the World Cup even the one they hosted in 1982, unlike England who won 4-2 against Germany in the one tournament they have been allowed to host. In 1966, it was.
- Spain is best known for large straw donkeys, sloping off from work for a kip in the afternoon, sangria and horrible cheap tabs.
- Animal rights activists with nothing better to do are always trying to stop Spaniards from enjoying their traditional sport of bullfighting. Little do these do-gooders realise that all of the bulls involved are actually Peedoe bulls, who have been caught noncing up innocent young calves.
- Spain is the number one holiday destination for British tourists, particularly thick-set young ladies from the north-west of England, keen to experience the laidback mediterranean lifestyle. And get fucked off a Spanish waiter.
- Player to watch - Raul. The very embodiment of the spanish national side. Good-looking, stylish, talented, always bottling it on the big stage.
- Qualified at the head of a strong group which contained Greece, Denmark and Turkey.
- First ever appearance as Ukraine, although many Ukrainians have played in the USSR teams of the past, as have many Russians, the same nationality as the linesman who correctly adjudged that Geoff Hurst's crucial strike in the 1966 final had crossed the line.
- Ukraine is best known for the Chernobyl meltdown, poisoned politicians, gas shortages, collective farming and stern-faced, big-cheekbone-having citizens.
- Ukrainian cuisine is a rather spartan affair, consisting mainly of potatoes, cabbage, beetroot and, in the Chernobyl region, chicken with two arses.
- Ukraine famously won the Eurovision Song Contest in 2004 with a song by Ruslana, a feisty type dressed up like Xena:Warrior Princess. She celebrated her victory by performing her song "Wild Dances" with her fanny hanging out. And that's a true fact, Jack. Go on, google it.
- Player to watch - Andriy Shevchenko. Lean, mean goal machine. Like a tinker's dog, all dick and bone.
- Qualified in fine style, knocking out local rivals Morocco in a tense African group.
- They have never progressed past the first round, much like Scotland, who still go on about the time they fluked a win against World Champions England in 1967. Imagine still going on about a victory from that far back, eh?
- Tunisia has historically played host to the might of the Carthaginian army and the battles between Rommel and the Allied forces in World War II. Yet they still allowed themselves to be colonised by France. Odd that.
- Tunisia is best known for camel racing, fezzes, hubbly-bubbly pipes and couscous.
- Tunisia's best-loved TV show is a version of the short-lived Channel 5 Tim Vine vehicle "Whittle", presented by top Tunisian funnyman Abdou Ben "Mind me bunions" Al Tartouri.
- Player to watch - Rahdi Jaidi. Cool as cucumbers Bolton centre-back. Looks like John Shaft. Right on!
- Qualified at the head of a decent Asian group ahead of South Korea.
- This will be Saudi Arabia's fourth World Cup, with their best achievement a second-round berth in 1994. A piddling achievement alongside South American and European powerhouses such as Brazil, Italy, Germany and England, who won the greatest World Cup final ever, 4-2 against West Germany. Hurst (3) and Peters supplying the goals.
- Saudi Arabia is famous across the globe for obscene oil riches, bankrolling the attack on the Twin Towers in 2001, repression of women, inhuman criminal punishments and chaps who wear dresses.
- The Saudi Arabian flag is officially the most difficult one to draw.
- Among the many offences punishable by death in Saudi Arabia are stealing, being gay, apostasy, being jewish, showing a bit of leg (women), organising wet t-shirt contests, faffing about, not having a moustache (men), listening to speed garage, having the crazy frog ringtone, hockling on the pavement. This list is not exhaustive.
- Player to watch - Sami Al Jaber. Almost made it at Wolverhampton. He must be good, then.
Official World Cup 2006 Epithets
Spain: Dark horses
Ukraine: Plough horses
Saudi Arabia: Dogfood
Prediction: Spain and Ukraine at a canter, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia heading for the knackers yard.