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Friday, 17 May, 2002, 14:43 GMT 15:43 UK
John Motson replies
John Motson - and his virtual sidekick Mini Motty
BBC Sport's voice of football was on hand to answer your questions - with some help from his virtual sidekick, Mini Motty.

Read his replies to your World Cup e-mails below.


During John Motson's 30-year career at the BBC, he has commentated on over 1,000 games and covered seven World Cups.

And during the 2002 finals, even desk-bound fans will be able to call on Motty's help to keep up-to-date with all the action.

Mini Motty, a desktop icon that brings all the latest scores to your computer screen, is available to download from the BBC's World Cup website.

You sent in scores of questions about the great man's World Cup experiences and predictions for this year's tournament.


Richard Evans, UK

Does Motty agree that England will struggle to qualify from the first group, and that Nigeria and Sweden provide them with a massive threat?

I would like to add that I've always had the greatest respect for Motty's knowledgeable and unbiased commentary.

I think Nigeria and Sweden provide a big threat, and I think it may be nearly as big as that of Argentina - they are three very good teams.

I think the first match will be very tight, I be wouldn't surprised to see Sweden hold us to a 1-1 draw, and that really puts enormous pressure on the Argentina game.

As for Nigeria, people thought at first they were the weaker members of the group, but having beaten Scotland and Ireland, I think they've got to be treated with great respect.


Jeffrey Albiston, England

If England do get through the first group, do you think they can go all the way?

I don't think they can go all the way because if they get through the first group then they may have to play France in the second round, that's obviously if England came second and France won their group. And then even if they got through that particular hurdle, Brazil are looming in the quarter-finals.

I think we've got to be realistic. The quarter-finals would be a bonus, the second round would be acceptable, and if we don't get out the group it will be a disappointment.


Jamie Bailey, England

Do you think that Joe Cole can have a big impact on the World Cup?

If he gets on the pitch, yes, but I think he'll be used largely as a substitute.


Ben Green, England

Also how do you think Ronaldo will play for the Brazilians? And what can we expect from him this World Cup?

Fitness permitting he will play, he has come back into the Inter Milan team, he has played a few games towards the end of the season, and after what happened in 1998 he'll be determined to prove a point. And if he is fit, I think he'll be a big asset to Brazil.


Wole Oyetoran, Nigeria

Hi Motty,
I have listened to your comments on Nigeria's chances of coming out of the group of death. Has your view about the Super Eagles changed since the match against Ireland?

Well, I shall be able to tell you that after Saturday afternoon - I'm going to see them play Jamaica at Queen's Park Rangers. I think they have got better. I like Kanu, he's in good form, and I like Jay Jay Okocha. The goalkeeper Shorunmu played very well in Ireland.

So yes, I think Nigeria are in a stronger position now. As long as they can keep the morale in team camp steady and don't have any rows, like they have in the past, I think they'll do OK.


Andrew Kitchin, England

Which team will be the 'surprise package' of this World Cup?

Turkey might do quite well in their group, they've got Hakan Sukur of Parma, a very good striker and the two lads from Blackburn in midfield. So I think for a complete outsider, I'd go for Turkey.


Coralie Purnell, UK

What was the worst World Cup match you have ever had the unfortunate task of commentating on - and why?

I think the worst World Cup match I had was the final in 1990 between Germany and Argentina because it was such a poor game, a lot of cheating and diving.

Argentina had had several players suspended before the game, they had two sent off in that match, it was really a poor advertisement for world football - and it ended in anarchy with the Argentine team berating the referee. Germany won on a disputed penalty. An eminently forgettable final!


Joe Cuffaro

Is there any famous World Cup game from the past that you would have like to have commentated on and how would you have approached it, for example the infamous Chile v Italy game?

Or indeed the 'battle of Berne' in 1954 between Hungary and Brazil. If I had a choice I'd have liked to have commentated on the 1954 final between Hungary and West Germany. Hungary, who were supposedly the world's best team, went 2-0 up and were beaten 3-2. I don't think there's too much television film of that final, but I'd love to have been there.


Leigh Speed, England

Dear John,
I am 13 years old and really enthusiastic about football - how would I go about becoming a football commentator, as it is my dream.

Well, he's got to get some experience on a local newspaper, radio station, or at his local hospital broadcasting company. You don't just walk into the BBC overnight, you've got to get some experience and training somewhere. My advice is to get your education and your qualifications first, and then try and get some work experience.


Ben, Essex

Hi Motty,
Love your "Mini-me". Did you record the comments especially, or are they from real live match commentaries?

They are from real live match commentaries, but I did record some especially. Indeed, they've even pinned a Mini Motty up on the notice board in my local pub! It's obviously getting a lot of attention at the moment, I'm pleased to hear that BBC Sport Online has had so many hits with it!


Steve Scott, Eng(er)land

What was your first pick for your World Cup suitcase? Have you dropped the sheepskin?

I'm not taking the sheepskin to Japan or Korea because it is far too hot, and the first thing to go into the suit case is always my notes!


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