Early Doors

Kim Jong-il diving header

Early Doors

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Early Doors was just drifting off to sleep last night, as it often does, with Newsnight on in the background.

It's not uncommon to hear mention of North Korea on the current affairs vehicle for quiz show host Jeremy Paxman, but ED woke up with a start when it heard Paxo mention the country and Sven-Goran Eriksson in the same sentence.

The Guardian, once again leading the way with Notts County stories, reports that Sven and Notts County chief Peter Trembling have flown out to Beijing to hold final talks over taking charge of the national team at next year's World Cup, their first since 1966.

What are they thinking? This is a morally reprehensible travesty. Have the North Korean FA not seen Sven's record as Mexico coach?

That's the down side of being an internet 'black hole' - you can't search for these key bits of information.

Sven is surely on to a winner should he take this job. The pay will probably be hefty, especially for a part-time role. And, even if they are actually eliminated from the group stage in South Africa, he will still be greeted by mass parades through Pyongyang once the nation's public hear reports of star striker Kim Jong-il's diving header to seal his match-winning hat-trick in the final.

Following his year in charge of Manchester City when they were owned by Thaksin Shinawatra, Eriksson is set to work for another employer with a 'patchy' human rights record.

Early Doors will admit to not being very clued up on the subject, as if the previous rambling wasn't proof enough of that, and it's not as though some of the West's behaviour is above reproach. However, here are a few of the most recent things Amnesty International had to say about the Democratic People's Republic:  

"Thousands of North Koreans illegally cross the border into China every year. If caught by the Chinese authorities and forcibly returned, they face detention, torture and, if convicted of illegal border-crossing, execution."

"Nearly a million people have died because of acute food shortages since the mid-1990s, and millions more, especially children and the elderly, suffer from chronic malnutrition."

"The death penalty is often imposed even though the alleged crime is not subject to death sentence under domestic law."

All Sven needs to do now is take the Sudan job to complete the set.

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Taking the advice of the Catholic Church, England's two best footballers have withdrawn before the point of climax - the climax in this case being that of the World Cup qualifiers, of course. However, the end result is just as likely to end in a jaded sense of disappointment and mild embarrassment.

For almost all involved, the final Group Six match against Belarus could hardly be more inconsequential. The people most affected will be the millions who have to deal with Coronation Street being shunted around the schedules again.

Mind you, try telling that to Rio Ferdinand, who is on a hiding to nothing from the game. Should he play impeccably this evening and atone for his error against Ukraine, England are bound to concede a goal via another source. Two of England's four clean sheets in the last year have come again Andorra.

If Rio makes another almighty blunder then he'll surely fall foul of Fabio Capello, who has shown his support for Ferdinand by keeping him in the side. That would mean Joleon Lescott, a man who has never done much more than disappoint in an England shirt, would be one step closer to a starting berth.

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QUOTES OF THE DAY: "We know at what time your wife goes shopping", "we know your family's movements" - Just a couple of the delightful things River Plate fans have been saying to their underperforming players. Lovely.

FOREIGN VIEW: Former Australia coach Frank Farina has been sacked by A-League club Brisbane Roar after being charged with drink driving.

Farina, who pleaded guilty to a separate drinking driving offence in 2007, was charged after being stopped by police while driving to training early on Saturday.

Farina had made a public plea to keep his job on Monday but to no avail. Assistant coach Rado Vidosic would take charge in the meantime, Australian media said.

COMING UP: LIVE comments of England v Belarus, Ireland v Montenegro, Czech Republic v Northern Ireland, Liechtenstein v Wales and Uruguay v Argentina.

It's not just the World Cup qualifiers that come to their, ahem, exciting conclusion today; the final matches of cricket's Champions League are played today. Watch Deccan Chargers v Trinidad LIVE at 3.15pm on British Eurosport 2 (Sky 411 / Virgin Media 525); Also available on your PC via the Eurosport Player - click here to subscribe.  

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