2006 FIFA World Cup Germany

Friday 21 April 2006
If you're reading this on the same day we publish this articlethen it's 48 days until the World Cup kicks off. 48 days! That's only 1,152 hours, and if you sleep for eight hours a night, only 768 waking hours!

As you might have gathered, we're quite excited about the whole thing and will be bouncing up and down with unadulterated joy until Ronaldinho inevitably single-handedly tears England apart in the semis and we're left sitting on the pavement outside the pub, our head in our hands, not wanting to talk to anyone ever again.

What we're not quite so excited about is this, yet another FIFA game. Sure, it's the official game of sports' greatest competition, but after the aberration that was FIFA 06: Road to FIFA World Cup (which was even more of a letdown given the surprisingly decent FIFA '06 on Xbox), EA Sports has a lot to do to win back any semblance of trust in these parts.

This first batch of screenshots haven't given us much confidence. The stadiums are looking lovely but check out the faces of some of the players - it's the FIFA World Cup, not the Dead Rising World Cup.

On a more positive note, there does appear to be slightly more substance to the game itself, which gives you the chance to take one of 127 national sides through the whole qualifying campaign and on to the finals.