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It was in 2003 that I realised there was no choice but to have dialysis treatment - by the time of the World Cup that year, I could barely walk. A year later, I finally had a kidney transplant.
I'd love to go and I'd love to play for my country and go to a World Cup again. I've got to accept I'm not in the current squad and just think, 'If I get it, it's a bonus and I'll give it everything.' But it's hard to do when you've been thinking a different way all your life.
The first World Cup I remember was in the 1950 when I was 9 or 10 years old. My father was a soccer player, and there was a big party, and when Brazil lost to Uruguay, I saw my father crying.
We have a great sense of togetherness. It is our team spirit that has taken us to this World Cup.
The truth is that I don't have a favourite goal. I remember important goals more than I do favourite goals, like goals in the Champions League where I had the opportunity to have scored in both finals I have played in. Finals in the World Cup or Copa del Rey are the ones that have stayed with me for longer or that I remember more.
It's like a rugby team. If you're picking for the World Cup final, you're picking experience with youth. Everything is better off having that balance and that mix. I think that, especially, goes for the monarchy as well.
It's got to be harder in real life to win a World Cup. But depending on if you play World Class level on FIFA, it's going to be difficult to win in the video game, too.
For me soccer provides so many emotions, a different feeling every day. I've had the good fortune to take part in major competitions like the Olympics, and winning the World Cup was also unforgettable. We lost in the Olympics and won in the World Cup, and I'll never forget either feeling.
I would like to wish the England squad every success. I would also very much like to extend those wishes to Martin Johnson, Brian Smith, Mike Ford, John Wells, Graham Rowntree and the rest of the England 2011 World Cup management team who have been fantastic and deserve people to know that.
I like English football, always have. It's just that people go on about the World Cup in 1986 and then I'm seen as the real bad boy.
And then '74 as I mentioned and then the 1990 world cup was our team was the team of the reunification you know, so we were the team for both sides of Germany so now, you know throughout the last 16 years, we've melted together. And now comes the next milestone.
Every team going to Brazil 2014 will be there to win, and it's going to be a fiercely contested World Cup.
The World Cup is a truly International event.
The World Cup is a very complicated tournament - six games, seven if you make it to the final - and maybe if you lose one game you're out, even if you're the best.
The more expensive and/or exclusive a sport, the whiter it tends to be: the fact almost has the force of a law. That is the main reason why the Rugby World Cup, the Pacific islands excepted, was so desperately white, the Springboks included.
Everybody in Argentina can remember 'the hand of God' in the England match in the 1986 World Cup. Now, in my country, the 'hand of God' has brought us an Argentinian pope.
Soccer is a great game, and the rich variety of styles and passions that come with being truly global makes the World Cup a nonpareil event in the universe of competitive sport.
I started the 1998 World Cup with Teddy Sheringham up front but always planned for Michael Owen to face Colombia in our final group game because they defended square and a quick striker would be able to exploit the space behind them.
I realised that the political context had got worse since the 2010 World Cup. I tried to ignore it but I wanted, as a national coach - you may call this Utopia - to make Catalans and Basques feel good about supporting a Spanish side... to unite even the most sectarian and nationalist.
Vicente del Bosque
As a kid growing up in the back streets of Dublin I used to pretend I was playing in the World Cup with my mates out on the streets, and now I will be doing it for real.
The World Cup tournament overall and, naturally, the new stadiums at its heart, are the ideal platform to portray Germany as a positive and exceptional location, and above all of course, as a highly capable economic location.
As a boy, I wanted to be the Peruvian Diego Maradona. Sadly, Peru hasn't made the World Cup since 1982, so I guess I did well to choose something different.
During events like the World Cup and the Olympics, I tend to get really wrapped up in my own experience to stay focused, but it's like a bubble. I don't see much outside my own perspective.
We South Africans are also crazy about football, so the World Cup can be nothing but successful.
The Confederations Cup is interesting. It served Spain very well to take part and then go on to win the 2010 World Cup. We knew the stadiums, the atmosphere, the conditions and also the difficulties of a tournament which simulated the World Cup format.
Vicente del Bosque
William Arthur Ward
Martin Luther King, Jr.
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The intellect of the wise is like glass; it admits the light of heaven and reflects it.
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