Summertime can be a busy period for the sporting calendar, especially when major competitions like the Olympic Games, the FIFA World Cup, UEFA European Championship, the Ryder Cup and tournaments like Wimbledon all make a grab for the headlines.
At the Grand Prix of Latvia for the ninth round of fifteen in the 2010 FIM MX-GP World Championship various riders, teams and paddock people were slightly distracted by that big football fiesta occurring in South Africa. In Misano for round eight of World Superbike the theme of football was also high on the agenda.
As the World Cup moved into its knock-out stages and prepared to break the hearts of millions, Yamaha Monster Energy MX Team riders David Philippaerts (Italy) and Gautier Paulin (France) along with Yamaha Sterilgarda World Superbike Team's Cal Crutchlow and James Toseland were able to offer their punditry skills on the 'Beautiful Game'.
"I think Argentina will win," said Philippaerts, who lives near Milan. "I watched their games and from what I have seen these are the strongest two teams. They pass the ball really well and I think Messi is doing something special for his country."
"I don't really follow football all that much but the World Cup is different," said Paulin, who resides in the south of France. "Many people were looking towards Spain before the tournament and I still think they will do it. The team had a bad patch and I think this help remove the heavy tag of being 'favourites'. Of course I wanted the French team to do well. I am a professional athlete and I can appreciate some of the pressures and I think there was too much attention on them."
Having both shown their blind patriotism in choosing England as their choice for World Cup success (the 1966 winners went out at the first knockout stage) Crutchlow and Toseland then had to revise their opinions.
"I reckon its Germany's," said Crutchlow, who then revealed that he can swerve a freekick or two. "I loved going to the stadium in South Africa when we were there for the Kyalami round to see the preparation for the World Cup before it started; they are putting on a real show. I used to play for Coventry reserves so if I wasn't racing I would have been aiming to be at the World Cup playing this year!"
"I'll plump for Brazil," offered Toseland as his second choice. "I like watching the football, but prefer playing! My brother signed for Sheffield Wednesday when he was younger and we used to play together a bit."