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Stay on the ball for the big kick-off

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How do you watch the World Cup and still keep your job?

Being on the other side of the world, there are some distinctly weird kick-off times, mostly while you are at work.

England's first game in Saitama, Japan, is against Sweden on Sunday 2 June at 10.30 BST, so that's fine.But the next encounter, with the mighty Argentina at the Sapporo Dome, is set for Friday 7 June at 12.30pm. And 'our' last, possibly crunch, game against the Nigerians is in Osaka on Wednesday 12 June starting at 7.30am.

For the Argentina game, you could try and convince your manager that it is at lunchtime - despite finishing about 2.15pm and time being money etc. Say it's good for morale, and that staffers will henceforth insert practicethreatening mistakes in all CADs if watching that match is denied them. The Nigeria game finishes at 9.15am so should not present too many problems, although productivity may be influenced if you watch it in the pub and wobble in from there.The second round matches are on a weekend too, if England gets that far, though the quarter finals (who are we kidding? ) will be either Friday 21 June at 12.30pm or Saturday 22 June at 7.30am.

Semis don't really bear thinking about but are Tuesday and Wednesday lunch jobs again, while the final is a Sunday special.

Alternatives for the weekday fixtures involve IT and are as dull as ditchwater. Set your Internet browser to show the score or buy a pocket TV and watch it surreptitiously under the desk.

We could suggest the option likely to be used by the rest of the country - 'pulling a sickie'.

But we're a respectable journal.

And that would be foul play.

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