Edvard: Hello! Welcome! Thank you! Thank you, everybody, and welcome to GoobNet’s Adventures of the Schmilblick Patrol, where people who make a difference tell us why they’re making a difference, and people just like you can win great prizes if they can figure out why that is. Okay, let’s meet today’s guest. He’s got twenty years of experience in banking and eight years at the Federation of International Football Associations. Let’s bring him out right now. Here he is, the general secretary of FIFA, Urs Linsi!
Urs: Hello Edvard.
Edvard: Hi Urs. Welcome to the programme.
Urs: Thank you.
Edvard: Want to meet the patrollers?
Urs: Yes, let’s.
Edvard: Sure thing. We’ve got Leah from Nice, France.
Edvard: Scott from Shreveport, LA, USA.
Scott: Hi there.
Edvard: And EK from Las Vegas, NV, USA.
Edvard: Welcome, all of you. Urs, we’ll now ask you to tell us your Schmilblick for today.
Urs: Yes. My Schmilblick is: Why FIFA placed Korea DPR into Group B of the FIFA Women’s World Cup China 2007.
Edvard: Why Korea DPR were placed into Group B of the Women's World Cup. Okay. Sounds difficult. Just to clarify things for our patrollers, China PR were placed into Group D because they are the hosts, and Germany were placed into Group A because they are the defending champions. But the only other team automatically placed in a group was Korea DPR, and your job is to find out why that was. So if you can do that, you’ll all win a trip to China PR for the Women’s World Cup this summer. We’ll get you tickets to seventeen matches, including the opening match, the third place, and the final. But if you can’t solve Urs’s Schmilblick in eighteen questions, he will win a trip to Las Vegas for EK’s car show this summer. We’ll get him tickets to thirteen races, including the opening day of motorcycle drag racing and the funny car final. That’s what we’re playing for this week. Patrollers, are you ready?
Edvard: Urs, are you ready?
Urs: I am ready.
Edvard: All right, let’s go on patrol! Leah, we go to you first.
Leah: All right. Hello, Urs.
Urs: Hello, Leah.
Leah: Urs, is North Korea the top ranked women’s football team?
Urs: No, it is not.
Edvard: It isn’t, which would ordinarily be a good reason to seed a team. But that’s one down and seventeen to go as we move on to you, Scott. What is your first question?
Scott: My first question is: Did North Korea end up in an easy group?
Urs: That depends upon how you consider the relative difficulties of the groups. To some, that group might be considered the most difficult, but others may feel that Group C will pose the largest challenge. I believe that all the groups will be highly competitive and will present us with some wonderful football.
Edvard: Know what? Why don’t I answer that question. No, Korea DPR did not end up in an easy group. That’s two down, sixteen to go. But before we have our next question, we’ll take a moment to get to know our patrollers. EK, hi.
EK: Hi Edvard.
Edvard: What do you do in Las Vegas?
EK: I’m a social worker and part time pit crew person for a motorcycle drag racer.
Edvard: Really? I didn’t know motorcycles could be drag raced.
EK: They can, and they are.
Edvard: Do they still use parachutes after they cross the finish line?
EK: Well, without drag chutes, it wouldn’t be drag racing.
Edvard: I suppose that’s logical. Well, EK, let’s have your question for Urs.
EK: Urs, is North Korea the best women’s football team in Asia?
Urs: Well, again, it depends upon your definition. Korea DPR are not the defending Asian champions. And –
Edvard: Okay, then let’s just say that if they’re not Asian champions, they’re not the best in Asia. Fair?
Urs: Well, actually –
Edvard: It’s only a half hour show, Urs. Okay, that’s three down, fifteen to go. Leah, hi.
Leah: Hi Edvard.
Edvard: You’re a textbook editor in Nice?
Leah: That’s right. I edit textbooks for forms six and five, which correspond about to what you call sixth and seventh grade here in the US.
Edvard: So would you say that you’re smarter than a fifth grader?
Leah: I suppose I am.
Edvard: Great. France’s youth are in good hands. And it says here that you also like knitting.
Leah: I do. In fact I knitted this sweater that I am wearing now, and I also knitted this scarf for you, Edvard.
Edvard: Really? Let’s see it. [holds up scarf] Hey, that’s great! You even spelled Nederland correctly. [dons scarf] Sorry Urs. No scarf for you today. Leah, let’s have your next question.
Leah: Okay. Urs, did you want to keep North Korea and China in different groups?
Urs: Yes, but that is not my Schmilblick.
Edvard: Well, in fact they couldn’t have been drawn into the same group anyway, right?
Urs: That is true, Edvard. Teams from the same confederation cannot be drawn into the same group unless absolutely necessary.
Edvard: Okay. So that’s four down, fourteen to go. Scott, hi.
Edvard: What do you do down there in Shreveport?
Scott: I am an insurance agent.
Edvard: Do you have any secret talents?
Scott: Yes, I’m an amateur race walker.
Edvard: Race walker. That’s the thing where you have to have one foot touching the ground at all times?
Edvard: You said you’re an amateur race walker. Are there professional race walkers?
Scott: There are race walkers who regularly compete at international meets, yes.
Edvard: Great. Well, what do you want to ask Urs next?
Scott: Urs, are Group B matches being played across the border from North Korea?
Urs: No, they’re not.
Edvard: So Korea DPR not placed for geographic reasons.
Urs: Not for that geographic reason, no.
Edvard: Interesting. Okay, that’s five down, thirteen to go. EK, what will you ask?
EK: Well, I’m going to ask: Was North Korea placed in the same group as the US?
Urs: Well, it ended up being the same group, but at the time we announced that Korea DPR were in Group B, no other teams had been placed into that group yet.
Edvard: Okay. That’s six down and twelve to go. Leah, another question from you, please.
Leah: Has North Korea won a recent women’s tournament or done something to earn seeding in a group?
Urs: Well, again, the question of earning seeding is very broad, and there are a number of things that could fall under that category. And it should also be noted that Korea DPR were not in fact a seeded team. The seeded teams were Germany, the USA, Norway, and China PR.
Edvard: But Korea DPR won the Asian Women’s Championship a few years ago, yes?
Urs: That is correct. Korea DPR won the 2001 and 2003 Asian Women’s Championships.
Edvard: So the answer to that would have to be yes. Seven down and eleven to go, then, as we return to you, Scott.
Scott: Okay. Is there a large North Korean population in the cities where they would be playing, as opposed to the other host cities?
Edvard: Interesting. Scott wants to know whether the Group B cities have a lot of North Koreans. Urs?
Urs: I do not believe that to be the case, no. I believe all of our host cities have similar populations of Korea DPR citizens.
Edvard: Okay. So that will make it eight down and ten to go. EK, you have the next question.
EK: Urs, do you expect high ticket sales at North Korea games compared to other games?
Urs: I believe all of our matches will have high attendance levels, but I do not anticipate any significant increase in attendance levels at Korea DPR matches in particular, no.
Edvard: Okay. That’s nine down, nine to go. Well, we’re halfway through tonight’s allotment of questions, but it seems we are still no closer to determining the Schmilblick of Urs Linsi, which today is why Korea DPR were placed automatically into Group B of the 2007 Women’s World Cup. The tenth question is yours, Leah.
Leah: Thanks, Edvard. Urs, was the draw fixed to put the US, North Korea, Sweden, and Nigeria in the same group again?
Edvard: Going right for the jugular here. Urs, was the draw fixed?
Urs: No. We had absolutely no idea that those four teams were going to be drawn into the same group again.
Edvard: Plausible deniability?
Urs: I assure you, it was not prearranged. We were just as surprised as you were.
Edvard: All right, I guess we can believe you. Ten down and eight to go now as we continue with another question from Scott.
Scott: Were you trying to make the US women angry by making them play the same teams again?
Urs: No, we were not. As I said, we did not arrange anything.
Edvard: Very well. We have eleven down, seven to go now. EK, it’s to you.
EK: All right. Does FIFA give North Korea special treatment often?
Urs: No. We have never given Korea DPR, or any other association, any form of special treatment.
Edvard: Preselecting the group in which they’ll play doesn’t count as special treatment?
Urs: I would say that is not special treatment.
Edvard: Okay then. Twelve down and six to go. Leah, we go back to you.
Leah: Urs, are North Korea the highest ranked Asian team?
Urs: Yes, they are.
Edvard: Okay. That makes it thirteen down and five to go. You may be on to something there, Leah. Scott, where will you go with that?
Scott: Well, Edvard, you can probably guess. Urs, did North Korea’s status as the highest ranked Asian team have anything to do with the decision to place them in Group B?
Urs: No, it did not.
Edvard: Nothing at all?
Urs: Nothing at all.
Edvard: Well, that makes it fourteen down, four to go. EK, we go back over to you.
EK: Urs, did Kim Jong Il ask you to put North Korea in Group B?
Edvard: Okay. A very interesting question, and possibly the start of an international incident. Urs, was Korea DPR placed in Group B by request of Kim Jong Il?
Edvard: All right. Well, that makes it fifteen down and five to go. Only one more question for each of our patrollers. Leah?
Leah: Did Kim Jong Il threaten to conduct further nuclear tests if North Korea were in any group other than Group B?
Urs: No, he did not.
Edvard: Okay. Sixteen down, two to go. Scott, one more question from you.
Scott: Urs, did North Korea promise to buy lots of tickets with counterfeit American currency if they went into Group B?
Urs: They did not.
Edvard: Well, that means it’s seventeen down and one to go. You have the last question, EK. Can you figure it out from the many clues we’ve been given today?
Edvard: Well, you want to just ask some random question and see if you hit it?
EK: Okay. Urs, was the reason North Korea were automatically placed in Group B to create lots of hype and get the pre-tournament buzz flowing?
Edvard: Okay. This sounds like you’re accusing FIFA of being great at public relations, but whatever. Urs, is... that... your... Schmilblick?!
[All stare at Edvard.]
Edvard: What? Nobody likes Identity here? Anyway, Urs, is it?
Urs: No, it is not.
Edvard: Well, how about that. Urs, you did it. It’s eighteen down, zero to go. You stumped our patrollers. They now have no idea why Korea DPR were placed into Group B. Would you care to tell us?
Urs: Yes. My Schmilblick was: Because Sepp Blatter lost to Jack Warner in a Scrabble game.
Edvard: Say again?
Urs: Sepp Blatter lost to Jack Warner in a Scrabble game.
Edvard: Okay. Can we have a further explanation?
Urs: Yes. The terms of this Scrabble game were as follows. If Sepp lost, one team would be placed into a group prior to the draw for the FIFA Women’s World Cup China 2007, with no explanation given. But if Jack lost, one team would be summarily disqualified from the CONCACAF Men’s Gold Cup, for no publicly stated reason.
Edvard: Well, that’s wacky.
Urs: As a matter of fact, it was. WACKY is exactly the word with which Jack won.
Edvard: Well, Urs, you win that trip to Las Vegas, NV, USA to see the car show and EK’s pit crew performance. Congratulations, Urs, and to all of you, we’ll see you again next time here on GoobNet’s Adventures of the Schmilblick Patrol. This is Edvard van de Kamp, wishing you good tidings and better Schmilblicks. Good night, all!
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