One of the big events in the world of soccer will take place next July when 16 national teams from various parts of the world meet in England to compete for the Jules Rimet Cup, symbol of professional soccer supremacy. Ah, what a treat for the soccer enthusiast! Brazil, Argentina, Hungary, Spain, Portugal, France, England—the absolute cream of soccer. Well, almost. There's one odd-looking fly floating in the cream. How in the name of Pel� did North Korea, whose national team plays soccer about as well as P.S. 172, ever become one of the final 16?
Very simple, really. It's Agatha Christie's 10-little-Indian story all over again. Originally, 19 nations were slated for action in the Africa- Asia playoff zone. But 15 African countries, evidently confusing the soccer world with the U.N., withdrew before a single ball was booted, going off in a huff because, at best, only one country from Africa could be represented in the finals.
That left four nations in the playoff: South Africa, South Korea, North Korea and Australia. The international soccer ruling body expelled South Africa because of that country's racist policies. That left three. South Korea withdrew when it learned that her 11 players—amateur all the way—would not be allowed to compete in the Olympic Games if they played now in a professional tournament. That left two. Australia doesn't recognize North Korea (and vice versa), but arrangements were made to meet in neutral Cambodia. Since Australia can't play soccer even as well as P.S. 172, North Korea whupped 'em, easy. That left one. And that is why, soccer fans, after a long, grueling elimination tournament of two games, North Korea is in the cup finals.
LET GEORGES DO IT
"The most-wanted Christmas gifts come from Georges Kaplan," said the headline in a full-page ad in The New York Times last week. Among the gifts Georges figures the outdoorsy types most want are the fur hammock—$5,500 for chinchilla, $3,500 for mink, $2,000 for blue fox—and the fur sleeping bag, at $4,000, $2,000 and $1,000 for the same furs. If a chinchilla hammock or a mink sleeping bag doesn't grab you, Georges is prepared to sell you yard goods—in chinchilla, mink or blue fox—and you can get the wife to whip up whatever it is you do want most.
Traditionalists who haven't quite accepted the orange basketball may be even more displeased to hear that it is being bounced on a plastic court this year. North Central College of Naperville, Ill. has installed in its Merner Fieldhouse a new plastic surface previously used only on running tracks. "I saw how the material worked on tracks and was convinced it was just the thing for a field house," said North Central Athletic Director Ralph McAlister just before the Cardinals tried out their synthetic surface on Augustana of Illinois. McAlister added that the plastic prevents slipping (even if the floor is wet), shin splints and dead spots. Better yet, exultant spectators once again can rush out onto the court after a victory: the floor is impervious even to spike heels.
Wilt Chamberlain, who rarely leaves on a road trip without at least 10 $1,000 bills cached in a coat pocket, can scarcely be blamed for misplacing less valuable articles. Like a smelly old size 15 sweat sock—even if it did contain a $9,000 diamond ring, among other things. Wilt left that lying around the locker room at San Francisco's Civic Auditorium. As he was leaving the auditorium, two kids overhauled him, one waving the footgear. "Hey, mister, you forgot something," he yelled. Chamberlain gave them each $5. He also gave them the sock.
TAKE THAT, WOLLEY SEGAP!
Noted Heart Specialist Paul Dudley White came out against the extension telephone last week. It is not wise to deprive housewives of much-needed exercise, he said.
Dr. White hasn't heard from any housewives yet, but the telephone company went on record as being distinctly unamused. New England Telephone had best keep the volume level down, though—-or the Boston surgeon might speak out against the Yellow Pages, too. "Let your fingers do the walking," indeed!