You have your say

It’s been a fantastic World Cup so far, with plenty of tense matches, great goals and some controversial talking points.

    None more so than Ghana's John Pantsil and his waving of the Israeli flag as his team trounced a stunned Czech Republic.

    Here's some of the feedback we've had so far.

    Keep your comments coming on all subjects related to the World Cup to


    (Some emails and comments have been edited for publication)


    The Black Stars and a new star

    John Pantsil's flag has sparked the most controversy among readers, with Aljazeera receiving emails from Israel, Ghana, the US and around the world.

    Initially some were just puzzled as to the connection:

    Samsuri wrote: Can somebody tell me why Ghana waving the Israel flag?

    While Soraya from France asked: Why a footballer from Ghana was exhibiting the Israeli flag?

    The connection, for those still puzzled, is that

    Pantsil has played club football in Israel since 2002, and made five appearances for Maccabi Tel Aviv in the UEFA Champions League.  He currently plays for Hapoel Tel Aviv in the Israeli Premier League.

    Others readers though were more immediately critical of his actions.

    Mohammed from the USA wrote

    At the end of the game, a Ghanaian player displayed an Israeli flag while running around. Although I was very supportive of the Ghanaian team to win, the player who displayed the Israeli flag disappointed me very much.

    But it was after the Ghana coach issued a formal apology to anyone offended by the flag-waving that the debate intensified. (To read about the apology click here


    Here's a selection of the comments we've had so far:

    "It was not a political act"

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    Dom Morgan, Israel: John Pantsil believes that his selection in the Ghanaian tean was due to his improved form at Hapoel Tel Aviv, where he has been treated very well by the fans, hence the flag display. It was not a political act and commentators in countries that actually have peace treaties with Israel should consider why the display of an Israeli flag is so insulting to them rather than coming out with ridiculous conspiracy theories.

    Raphael Tay, Ghana: Of course all Ghanaians were disappointed to see a Ghanaian National fly another country's flag, but then I believe the Arab World should try to come to terms with peacefully coexist with Israel, and make positive contributions to the Palestinian cause. A more volatile Palestine will give Israel pretext to continue its oppresiveness, but the loss of Innocent Israeli civilian lives must be condemned, because be we black,Arab or Jew ,red blood runs through our veins and Allah created all mankind.

    "I urge all Arabs to continue to give Ghana the support it takes to win the golden fleece at the finals"

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    Selasie Samuel Garvey, Ghana: Ghana's Black Stars are a force to reckon in this World Cup. Firstly,as a Ghanaian,I would like to apologise to all Arabs for the Israeli flag that was displayed, cos the player didn't know the implications of what he did. So I urge all Arabs to continue to give Ghana the support it takes to win the golden fleece at the finals.

    Pablo, Spain: I still dont understand the big deal about this. Anyone is free to display any flag of a sovereign country. Or not? What if israel had qualified for the World Cup? Lets be rational.

    Hilary Cathcart, New York, USA: To those upset by the player waving the Israeli flag: Stop trying to see evil in everything you look at. When someone from Africa pays tribute to a country in the middle east (Israel) on German soil, it can be view by those of us with a more positive attitude as proof that the world can change for the better!!!  Relax and enjoy the matches!

    "The Israeli flag waved by Ghanas player hurt me so much"

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    Tehseen, India: I am a Muslim. I was backing Ghana's team while watching the world cup match. But the Israeli flag waved by Ghanas player hurt me so much that now I will never back such team.

    David Cantril, USA: No one would have cared if he waved a palestinian flag.Do arabs have to fight about everything,even soccer.Where is this Islamic tolerance???

    Thomas Brock: What if a republic of ireland player were to wave a union jack flag, I call it distasteful.

    "Let's not turn every stupid incident into yet another justification for hatred!"

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    Hendrik Van den Berg, Nebraska, USA: Mr. Pantsil's waving of the Israeli flag was not a good idea on his part, but the paranoid reaction by most everyone else is much more alarming.  World peace will become possible not only when people stop supporting foreign occupations, such as Israel's occupation of Palestine, but also when people can tolerate the inevitable silly and stupid, but harmless, actions of our fellow humans.  Let's not turn every stupid incident into yet another justification for hatred! We should demand peace and justice from our governments, but let's also enjoy the football matches.

    M, France: I still dont understand the big deal about this. Anyone is free to display any flag of a sovereign country. Or not? What if israel had qualified for the World Cup? Lets be rational.

    "No country's flag is a criminal offence"

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    Jan Brooks, UK: I think he is entitled, after the match is over, to wave any flag he chooses. No country's flag is a criminal offence. It is not a crime to wave an Israeli flag.  Even if he did not play football in the Isreali league, he would still be entitled to wave its flag.

    Miguel Gonzalez, Brazil: After our national team, we usually support the African teams. Nobody can forget the excellent Cameroon team from the 90´s. Nor can we forget about Senegal and Nigeria teams. John Paintsill, however, was the biggest disappointment of World Cup history. Not only by waving a terrorist flag, but also by supporting another team rather than its own. Brazilians are not supporting Ghana anymore.

    "It is disheartening to see fans get upset over something like this."

    Add your voice at

    CJ, USA: I think sometimes our hearts and minds may get too involved with politics of this day and age. Was this player really trying to upset an entire country, or did he just want to say thank you to the Israeli League fans who support him? I guess only he will know. It is disheartening to see fans get upset over something like this. My hopes are that he was only trying to pay his respects to the fans that support him and not trying to draw down on his own political beliefs.

    Russ, USA: This is much ado about nothing.  It goes to show how people prejudge others and assume motives that are not present. Pantsil, who apparently was acting in good faith with friendly intentions, has been demonized by too many mean spirited people.

    Clare Sivanesh, UK: Why shouldn’t John Pantsil wave the Israel flag? That is where he plays and where most of his fans are. It’s no different to Beckham waving the Spain flag if he wants to.

    "If you don't like what he did then root for another team"

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    Robby Brodsky: The player was merely showing his alliance to the place where he plays, nothing else.  He did not claim any type of political allegiances; he did not claim to be making an international spectacle of himself.  If you don't like what he did then root for another team.

    Nathan Philips, Canada: I believe his explaination that he was showing his appreciation for his fans back in Israel. It is about time we stop reading so much into everything that we forget that we are all brothers. Why can't we get along?


    Keshia and Shivonne from Trinidad & Tobago were both outraged at Peter Crouch’s “foul” on Brent Sancho while scoring his goal in England’s 2-0 win over the Soca Warriors.

    Keshia: Maybe FIFA's motto of "stop racism and make friends" is not so true after all.  We were cheated. We were discriminated and treated unjustly. Two goals and a foul were made that day, one goal from Gerrard, one from Stern John and a foul from Peter Crouch.

    Shivonne: I found it was outrageous that Peter Crouch fouled Brent Sancho in order to score that goal and the referees did not call it. During the match those referees were biased by giving our players unnecessary yellow cards.

    We’ve seen a few matches where the “big name teams” have been called for less fouls than their less fancied opponents. 

    In the England v T&T match, the foul count was 19 by T&T and 15 by England, with 5 yellow cards given to T&T and 1 to England.

    In the Brazil v Australia match, the foul count was 25 by Australia and 9 by Brazil, with 2 yellow cards given to Australia and 3 to Brazil.

    Do you think preferential treatment is given to the bigger teams by referees, or do the less fancied teams often play with a tactic of fouling a more technical side?

    Email your comments to


    Peter from Australia writes:

    How come Japan and Korea are in the World Cup, and so many European, South American and African Nations are in it, when Australia has to travel all around the World to Qualify? We are Oceania Champions that should have been good enough.

    The Australian bandwagon rolls in

    Australia are now in the Asian Football Confederation where they will have a fairer, although perhaps more difficult World Cup qualification process.

    It brings up a good point though.

    Should the Oceania Football Confederation have one direct qualification spot of their own?

    Which confederations, if any, are given too many or too few World Cup places?

    Email your comments to


    “Big Mo” from Houston, Texas sent through his tips for the entire tournament.

    We can’t print them all here, but Big Mo has gone for Argentina v France in one semi final and England v Brazil in the other semi final, with Argentina and Brazil advancing to the final.

    Who do you think will be in the World Cup Final on 9th July?

    Email your comments to


    Kristy from Australia wrote:

    Can you please tell me why the award for the leading scorer in this World Cup is called the "Golden Shoe" and not the "Golden Boot"?

    The term "The Golden Shoe" is the commercial name for The Golden Boot.
    The Golden Boot is awarded to the highest goal scorer at the World Cup Finals, but since 1982 it has been commercially named the "adidas Golden Shoe".


    Marie in New York writes:

    I am watching the World Cup from New York, Manhattan, but no one else I know is watching it here. Soccer is not popular in the US. The reason: The Americans can’t make money with sports programs without commercials for 45 minutes.

    Advertising is a big part of sport these days and TV dollars do make up a big part of sports funding.

    What other factors in the USA (and other countries), are preventing football becoming more popular?

    Email your comments to


    Seeing red

    PH in Noordwal, USA says:

    The red card in Germany v Poland match was very unfair. No foul was committed. Change the rule, i.e. bench the player for 5 minutes. Let the best team win, no manipulation.

    There were also three red cards in the Czech Republic v USA match which some say ruined what could have been a great match.

    If we got rid of red cards from football, what other methods of punishment could be used to improve the game?

    Email your comments to

    Here are some other comments by our readers:

    Haynzaghi in Australia told us:

    I got up at 2am to watch England v Trinidad & Tobago, then couldn't sleep for the rest of the night so I’ve just done a day of work on about four hours sleep. Why am I surprised? It was always going to be like this. Keep up the good work and enjoy...the beautiful game.

    Yaseen in England wrote:

    The Saudis played very poor football against Tunisia though they drew 2-2.

    They can't control ball, can't tackle ball, can't pass the ball properly to their follow people, can't hold ball.

    They look like a joke.  Their fitness was very poor.  The Saudis spend so much money on them and they can't play a decent game to represent their country.  Very Shameful.

    John from Australia comments:

    Great match between Japan and Australia, lets hope Australia can continue.

    Is Brazil’s result against Croatia a true gauge? Does it give useful information to their other opponents as to the style of play required?  Does Australia therefore have a chance?

    Paul wrote:

    I am a proud American pulling for my boys in blue. However I think we are a bit too sloppy with the ball to take the cup.

    We will make it to at least the quarter finals but the guys from England will play the best football and claim the honour and glory of the World Cup.

    Saheer from India writes: I am an Argentina fan. But I think in this World Cup Brazil will win and England will come second.

    A new champion?

    But I’d really like victory for Argentina. Because I think if Argentina win the World Cup it may bring some peace to that country. Now, there very bad conditions, and also riots and poverty there.

    With a World Cup victory the present conditions will definitely change. That’s why I support Argentina.

    John from London said:

    It’s hard being an Irishman in London during the World Cup.

    Most of my mates are staying in England, and I'll be watching the matches with them in overcrowded pubs, drinking warm beer from plastic glasses.

    You accept these conditions if it’s your team you're watching. It’s harder to bear when it isn't.

    And so, with the intense rivalry between the English and Irish still very much intact, I will be supporting ABE in the World Cup - that's Anybody But England.

    Daniel in Spain wrote:

    I disagree with the comment that the Spanish team is a team of underachievers. Luck doesn't usually play on their side, and yes, good luck is a big part of soccer after all.

    Moreover this team does have a history of bad luck with referees in more than one World Cup (such as, for example, in the last World Cup). I agree, though, that it is a team with pedigree.

    Send us your thoughts on the World Cup Finals to:

    SOURCE: Aljazeera


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