First XI: World Cup celebrations

May 31, 2010


“Falcao: Brazil vs. Italy (1982). From the outside, Falcao was seen very much as the quiet man of the Brazilian side that travelled to Spain 1982. His equaliser in a losing cause against a Paolo Rossi-inspired Italy in the semi-final tie saw him cut inside onto his left foot, dragging three Italian defenders away from the goal and fire a fine shot into the net before charging towards the bench. With veins bulging from his forearms, he evaded Luizinho before doing his best impression of a kangaroo in front of the fans.” (ESPN), (Grand Inquisitor)


Download the Free EPL Talk Toolbar

May 31, 2010

“The World Cup is agonizingly close, I seem to be spending all my time thinking, reading, or talking about it. However with all of the different news, blog, and sport sites available on the internet, sifting through the pile for worthwhile material can be a nightmare. This is why I have, in association with The Gaffer, created the EPL Talk toolbar. It allows you to find the latest football news, blogs, and opinion quickly and efficiently without leaving your current webpage.” (EPL Talk)


Portugal’s players are good enough, is the coach?

May 31, 2010

“In theory, Portugal playing Cape Verde just before the World Cup was a decent idea. They’ve struggled to score throughout the past two years, so how about a morale-boosting thrashing of a former colony to get the goals flowing?That was the idea, anyway. An embarrassing 0-0 draw was the actual outcome, with Portugal demonstrating precisely why they struggled to qualify for this tournament in the first place. They dominated, as you would expect, but constantly got into the final third and then seemed to run out of ideas.” (Zonal Marking)


USA: The Yanks

May 31, 2010

“At the Confederations Cup in South Africa last year, the United States soccer team shocked the world by reaching the finals and beating favorite Spain along the way. The performance got a lot of play in the States and gave hope to the team’s ever-increasing fan base. Last week, in the team’s final friendly on home soil before it departed for South Africa, 68,000 people came out to Philadelphia for the inspired send-off. Perhaps encouraged by a game with a ball shaped like a basketball, even President Barack Obama took time out to meet the team and wish it good luck.” (Vanity Fair)


Messi / Durant

May 31, 2010


“Kevin Durant is 6′9” and lanky, with a 7′4” wingspan. In a sport where length is all-important, Durant is as long as they come. Lionel Messi, 5′7” with a low center of gravity, is as nimble with the ball at his feet as anyone in the world. Durant has cited his mother and brother as his role models. Messi learned soccer from his father, a coach in Argentina when he was young. Both are modest, say all the right things to the media, and lead unflashy lives. Both seem to accept their success without being absorbed into it, using the love for their respective sports to keep them grounded. Messi has a reputation for shyness, while Durant, though soft-spoken, actively connects with his fans over Twitter. The two might not look it, but they’re very similar athletes, and you can learn a lot by looking at one through the lens of the other.” (Run of Play)


Not the Germany You Think You Know

May 31, 2010

“Despite being a showcase for the supposed ‘world game’—blessed with alleged powers to bring down barriers and make the globe a cozier, happier place—the World Cup actually has a tendency to reinforce some of the most tired of stereotypes. Not so much among hard-core fans, many of whom, in an age of globalization, tend to know better, but among the casual observers, who drop in every four years and need a convenient set of CliffsNotes to better enjoy the spectacle.” (WSJ)


Gerd Muller: Der Bomber

May 31, 2010

“One of the most natural finishers ever to have played the game, Gerd Muller was an accomplished international poacher whose prolific World Cup record for West Germany is a testament to his striking prowess. Der Bomber – as he is affectionately known by the German public – netted an incredible 14 goals in just 12 World Cup games, culminating in the winning strike in the 1974 final.” (ESPN)


Heysel Stadium Tragedy: 25 Years Later

May 31, 2010


“My memories of how I learned about the news regarding the Hillsborough Disaster and the Bradford Fire Disaster are a lot more vivid than what happened 25 years ago today in the Heysel Stadium Disaster. Part of the reason was because both the Hillsborough and Valley Parade games were played on a Saturday, while the European Cup Final of 1985 was played on a Wednesday night in Brussels. For me, living in the United States, it was certainly easier to follow games on my shortwave radio on a Saturday morning when the signal was much more clearer than on a Wednesday afternoon when I would be working and the signal strength was abysmal.” (EPL Talk)


A goal, a ghost

May 31, 2010

“Joe Gaetjens, a Haitian immigrant, scored the greatest goal in American soccer history. He should have been a hero. Instead, Gaetjens was abducted and died in a Haitian prison. ‘Outside the Lines’ sheds light on his story.” (ESPN)


Video: USA 2 – Turkey 1 (International Friendly Highlights)

May 31, 2010

“Landon Donovan assisted on second-half goals from starting forwards Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey to give the United States a 2-1 comeback win over Turkey on Saturday. The match at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field in front of 55,407 vociferous fans was the Americans’ last before departing for FIFA World Cup 2010 South Africa.” (Football Fashion)


World Cup Tales: When The World Cup Legitimised A Dictatorship – Argentina, 1978

May 30, 2010


Camouflage Comics
“There have been, over the last eighty years or so, several questionable decisions made regarding the hosting of World Cup tournaments. None, however, have been met with quite the fury that met the hosting of the 1978 World Cup finals in Argentina. The decision made to award the 1978 finals to Argentina was made in July of 1966, but after a military coup in March 1976 left the country in the hands of a military dictatorship, there were calls for the tournament to be moved elsewhere in a clash of ideologies that pitted the liberal left of popular opinion in Western Europe against the more right-wing politics of FIFA.” (twohundredpercent)


Japan 1-2 England – Video Highlights and Recap – Friendly – 30 May 2010

May 30, 2010

“England played their last warm-up to the 2010 World Cup with a friendly match against AFC side Japan. They still haven’t narrowed down their roster from 30 to 23 so it was a chance for a few players to try and impress Fabio Capello. Japan are not expected to get out their group but would provide a decent test for the Three Lions.” (The 90th Minute)


Book Review: The World Is A Ball

May 30, 2010

“I have no idea what kind of distribution The World is a Ball: The Joy, Madness and Meaning of Soccer is going to get outside of Canada and Ireland, where the author, John Doyle, has some kind of following. But if you’re in Canada, I suspect it’s going to be hard to go into a bookshop for the next two months without seeing this book prominently on display. Being football fans, you’re going to be tempted to buy it. So let me get the important part of this review of the way: if you do buy it, you will almost certainly be disappointed.” (Pitch Invasion)


World Cup Tales – Magyarország! The Greatest Team Never To Win A World Cup? Hungary, 1954

May 30, 2010

“The story of football in the years immediately following the end of the Second World War often seemed to be following a pre-prepared script, but it was a script that, at the World Cup finals at least, the competing nations seemed unwilling to follow. In 1950, the tournament should have been a procession for the host nation, Brazil, but in the final minutes of the final match, Uruguay silenced the Maracana. And four years later, one of the greatest teams in the history of the game would come unstuck in similar circumstances. They were the ‘Golden Team’ – the Hungarian team of Ferenc Puskas, Nándor Hidegkuti and József Bozsik. This Hungarian team was, tactically, one of the most important in the history of the game, and it only lost one match in four years. It just so happened, however, that the match that they did lose was the most important of all.” (twohundredpercent)


Photo: US v England Will Be All Kisses & Hugs

May 30, 2010


“A sign viewed at the USA – Czech Republic friendly earlier in the week. They get marks for effort, particularly with the clever implication Landon Donovan was planted on loan in England as some sort of spy (English flag on the chest and all), but the consensus is cutting off Wayne Rooney’s head would merely piss him off, thus scoring eight goals rather than two. The smart move would be cutting off Don Fabio’s noggin’ – he’s the brains of the operation.” (World Cup Blog)


Heysel: Requiem For A Cup Final

May 30, 2010

“There is no pleasure to be had in this evening’s second post, which is a BBC documentary of the story of the 1985 Heysel Stadium Disaster, which happened twenty-five years ago this evening. Even at a quarter of a century’s remove, and speaking as someone that watched the events of that appalling evening unfold live on the television, the capacity of the such events to shock remains undiminished. The crowning glory of years of English hooliganism laid bare in front of the whole world.” (twohundredpercent)


Two friendlies lead Capello back to square one

May 30, 2010

“It’s difficult to analyse England’s 2-1 win over Japan, simply because it’s not clear what Fabio Capello was trying to discover. Was this match purely an audition for individuals to stake their claim, or was he trying to find a cohesive shape? Assessing individuals was certainly on his mind, since Tom Huddlestone and Darren Bent – two players in danger of going home – were given starting places. This was plainly not the line-up that will face the USA. Capello stated in his pre-match interview that he had decided 20 of 23 the players, with one defensive, one midfield and one attacking position still up for grabs.” (Zonal Marking)


Route to ’66

May 30, 2010

“tsk tsk… there you go again with your 1966 nonsense. will you ever be able to discuss England without referring to that ominous year? i doubt it. it was a controversial tournament that ended in controversy. same goes for the italians winning on french soil in 1938, the maglia nera incident comes to mind as mildly controversial, but you don’t see the italians bringing up the glory days of the 1930′s every chance they get! some fascists might but that’s besides the point. italians revel in recent history because they have actually done something in international competition recently!” (The Dark Horses)

Group C: thank you for playing
J’en sais beaucoup de par le monde/ A qui ceci conviendrait bien :/De loin c’est quelque chose, et de près ce n’est rien./ Jean de la Fontaine, Le Chameau et les Bâtons flottants. From afar it is something big, and close it is nothing. that’s how i feel about this group. England. check out the previous post: route to ’66. USA. the obvious – the team is the freshest of the major teams at the world cup….” (The Dark Horses)

Route to ’66
(YouTube)


Spain 3-2 Saudi Arabia – Video Highlights and Recap – Friendly – 29 May 2010

May 29, 2010


“The 2008 European Champions, Spain, began their 2010 World Cup warm-up with a friendly against AFC side Saudi Arabia. They still have some injury concerns with Fernando Torres and Cesc Fabregas but both are expected to be ready by the World Cup. Saudi Arabia are gearing up for the the 2011 AFC Asian Cup.” (The 90th Minute)


Greece: lightning probably won’t strike twice

May 29, 2010

“It seems foolish to write off Greece after the miracle of 2004, but both on paper and on the pitch, this seems a fairly weak side – albeit on that is well-organised and has a good understanding between players. Otto Rehhagel is still in charge, and having played a variety of systems throughout qualification, appears to prefer a fairly defensive 4-3-3 shape that has generally been his favoured formation throughout his nine years in charge.” (Zonal Marking)


The Sound of Nations Gasping

May 29, 2010

“Compared with the American version of football, soccer doesn’t seem all that rough. There are no helmets, no blind-side hits. Just a bunch of con-artists who howl in fake agony to the referees whenever they go down. Here’s the thing, though: A lot of them aren’t getting up. As the June 11 opening of the World Cup approaches, injuries are clouding the tournament. From England to Germany to Ghana, teams are breathlessly awaiting last-minute word on whether key players can play—or are already resigned to the likelihood that they can’t.” (WSJ)


World Cup winners

May 29, 2010


“It now seems normal for nations to obsess about the football World Cup. Yet when the English did so in 1990, Jonathan Wilson notes in his scholarly Anatomy of England, it ‘was unprecedented and unexpected’. Only quite recently have World Cups turned into occasions for countries to debate who they are. Those 11 young men in their team shirts have become the nation made flesh, and the tournament the foremost contest for prestige among countries. Twenty years ago, very few serious studies of football existed. Today there are enough to fill a mid-sized library. The four books under review here build on this body of knowledge, add to the library’s tiny African room, and distil patterns from that knowledge.” (FI – Simon Kuper)


World Cup 2010 – Which Team Wants it the Most?

May 29, 2010

“I know. Everyone wants to win the World Cup. That’s why they call it the World Cup. But which of the 32 World Cup teams has the biggest reason for wanting to win it? Read on for a list of the 32 teams and my best guess at what’s driving them to victory. Feel free to add/argue different reasons in the comments.” (World Cup Blog)


Lucio matures into the outstanding Brazil defender of his generation

May 29, 2010

“One down, one to go for Lucimar Da Silva Ferreira, or as he far prefers to be known, Lucio. On May 22 the combative and classy center back helped Internazionale to the big club prize, Europe’s Champions League. And now he’s in South Africa, preparing and hoping to scale the summit of the international game and bring home the World Cup.” (SI – Tim Vickery)


The Supporters Trust Movement Reaches Serie A

May 29, 2010

“Yesterday was an important day in Italian Football Culture, as Serie A’s first Supporters Trust – Azionariato Popolare AS Roma – was formed, as the first attempt to run a football club by the fans in Italy. Azionariato Popolare AS Roma are the second Trust to be formed it Italy, after Società Cooperativa Modena Sport Club was formed in 2008, by fans of Serie B Modena.” (twohundredpercent)


World Cup Coaches, By Nationality and Numbers

May 28, 2010


“Below you’ll find a complete list of the 32 coaches at World Cup 2010. You’ll also find their nationality, and their age going into the tournament. Beneath that you’ll find some amateur hour number crunching I did with pen, paper and the calculator on my cell phone to work out a few statistics.” (World Cup Blog)


World Cup Preview: Group G

May 28, 2010

“The 2010 FIFA World Cup kicks off in just two weeks today, which is so exciting the hair on my legs keeps on spontaneously erupting into flames. By this time next week – when your correspondent Dotmund (to use his Brazilian footballer nickname) completes his guide to the groups – all the final squads will be announced and we’ll be good to go. This is especially useful for him, as he’s just realised he’s not written the preview for Group H yet. Group G, however, is in the can. Let’s suckle at the teat of knowledge and learn about the fortunes of Brazil, North Korea, Ivory Coast and Portugal.” (twohundredpercent)


Video Of The Week: Argentina vs Netherlands – The 1978 World Cup Final

May 28, 2010

“This week’s Video Of The Week is a little late due to other commitments, but it is an absolute belter – the 1978 World Cup final between Argentina and the Netherlands. There will be more on here about the Netherlands at the 1978 World Cup finals over the weekend, and this is something of a taster for it. We get to see the Argentinian protests over Rene Van De Kerkhof’s lightweight cast before the match, then the entire match itself, including extra-time. The Dutch team, often overlooked in comparison with their 1974 team, came very close to winning the match, as you will see.” (twohundredpercent)


European Team of the Season 2009-10

May 28, 2010


Pastorale, François Boucher
“Hot on the heels of the Goals of the Season, we move on to the Football Further European Team of the Season. As in any decent dream team this side is strongly, perhaps even foolishly, oriented towards attack. Feedback, particularly of the irate, finger-jabbing kind, is warmly welcomed.” (Football Further)


High-fiving the World Cup

May 28, 2010

“There’s a brief segment of spring weather in Milwaukee that, while it lasts, can generate more excitement, adrenaline and leap-15-feet-off-the-ground happiness than anything else on Earth. We go about things during that time without the sticky humidity of summer heat and the creeping, buzzing insects that come with it. The temperatures are warm enough to make one start asking businesses whether they have a shirt policy. Right now is that time in Milwaukee, and it’s with that mood-enhancing environment in the background that this week I’ve been imagining high-fiving my bus driver about the World Cup.” (Match Pricks), (Must Read Soccer)


2010 FIFA World Cup: map, with the 32 teams’ home jerseys, and the 32 teams’ World Cup titles and appearances list.

May 28, 2010

“From World Cup Blog.org: ‘The Final Pre-World Cup Rankings’. Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org, National team appearances in the FIFA World Cup. Thanks to World Soccer Shop.com, for some of the jersey photos.” (billsportsmaps)


Is Diego Maradona set to surprise people?

May 28, 2010


Diego Maradona
“‘Maradona’s crazy! He doesn’t know what he’s doing!’ is the general attitude towards Argentina’s manager since he took over 18 months ago. The first part is undeniably correct – Maradona is crazy. He celebrated a crucial goal late on in qualifying by diving along a rain-sodden pitch, Klinsmann-style, and when Argentina finally secured qualification, he sat down in the post-match press conference in front of the gathered journalists, and immediately declared, ‘You lot take it up the a**e’. He is definitely crazy.” (Zonal Marling)


Spain: La Selección World Cup squad analysis (23 for 2010)

May 28, 2010

“With the official announcement of the 23-man squad, we are going to take a look and assess everyone that will be competing for Spain at the World Cup finals this summer. The squad has been fairly settled under Vicente del Bosque but there are a few surprises that will get their chance to shine on the biggest stage next month.” (Just Football)


115. Fabio Capello, 2010

May 28, 2010

“Click to enlarge, and debate the strip below the line. Keith Hackett’s official answers appear in Sunday’s Observer and here from Monday.” (Guardian – Paul Trevillion)


Tango

May 27, 2010


You can find the tango all over Buenos Aires: in it’s mythical cafes, at the milongas, and by walking around the city’s authentic neighborhoods.”
“‘Tango is an improvised movement — at its best and most challenging, a politics of touch — carrying within its sensory mechanisms the potential instantiation of a politics that might be called a politics of friendship. Tango is a challenge to fraternization as the maxim for democracy even while it is the dream of a nationally unified identity. Tango is all of these contradictory movements of desire.’ (Erin Manning, Politics of Touch, p.28)” (Sports Babel)


Legacy of South Africa’s World Cup will take many years to measure

May 27, 2010

“‘Our society,’ said British writer Johann Hari, ‘is very good at some things, generating wealth, say … But we are very bad at meeting a basic human need for shared collective experiences. Our atomized lonely culture can only meet this need at freak flashpoints.’ Or World Cups.” (SI – Tim Vickery)


Puma does the World Cup ad better, with African footballers and fans, Gnarls Barkley and Kehinde Wiley

May 27, 2010

“Contrast the above (and its soundtrack) with Nike’s bloated ad, which is seasoned with the most tired forms of machismo and sexism. Here there are even a few girls and women, presented not as sex objects or football failures, but as fans and players (asking the boys to give her the ball!). This ad, furthermore, is actually about African soccer.” (From A Left Wing)


World Cup Tales: The Murder Of A Footballer, 1994

May 27, 2010


“In amongst the razzamatazz of the 1994 World Cup, which kicked off with Diana Ross putting a penalty kick wide of the goal during the opening ceremony and finished with Roberto Baggio putting one over in a penalty shoot-out that seemed pre-ordained to follow a desperately bad final between Italy and Brazil, the darkest of football’s dark hearts showed its face. It felt as if a parallel universe – a feudal world in which criminality rules and considerations of humanity take a back seat – had momentarily become entwined with ours, and it led to the death of a sportsman, quite possibly for the seemingly absurd reason that he made a mistake under highly pressurised circumstances that cost some very violent and very powerful people a lot of money.” (twohundredpercent)


Netherlands 2-1 Mexico – Video Highlights and Recap – Friendly – 26 May 2010

May 27, 2010

“Holland (aka the Netherlands) played their first friendly leading up to the 2010 World Cup with a match against Mexico in Germany. They would be without a few players who were playing in the UEFA Champions League final while Mexico would have all their top players available. Neither team will be focused too much on a result but getting their teams fit and ready for South Africa.” (The 90th Minute)


Divided We Stand: the Problem of Parachute Payments

May 27, 2010

“The Premier and Football Leagues reached a deal over restructured solidarity payments from the former’s coffers two weeks ago, but with the Play-Offs and pre-World Cup mutterings taking precedence there’s been frustratingly limited coverage of the landmark agreement in the national press.” (thetwounfortunates)


An old-fashioned 3-5-2 for Uruguay

May 27, 2010


“The three-man defence may be fairly unpopular throughout Europe at the moment, but it is alive and well in Latin America. With Chile having used a 3-3-1-3 system throughout qualification and Mexico toying with a 3-4-3, Uruguay will join them, with a more traditional 3-5-2 formation.” (Zonal Marking)


Maradona’s management could be a sight for sore eyes

May 27, 2010

“Following Argentina’s 5-0 demolition of Canada in their final World Cup warm-up match on Monday evening, Diego Maradona conjured up a rather disturbing image while on radio by promising to run around the centre of Buenos Aires naked if his side are victorious in South Africa. Football managers are prone to offering to go naked in public – Martin Allen and Gary Johnson have both made similar commitments in the past. But is it likely that the world will be exposed to Diego’s untoned frame waddling around the Argentinean capital?” (WSC)


How to sound smart at the watercooler

May 27, 2010

“Everyone isn’t a soccer expert. Yet many of you will be caught in a conversation that veers toward the World Cup at some point in the coming summer. For those of you not inclined to scour Slovenia’s World Cup roster for hidden clues that could help the U.S. gain possession in the middle third, here are a few lines that will help you sound like you know what you’re talking about…” (ESPN)


Mexico’s fluid shape makes them dark horses

May 27, 2010

“‘There’s a lot of movement arrows on that diagram’, you might be thinking. And you’d be right – there are, for that’s the key to Mexico’s system – movement from almost every player on the pitch and plenty of width when attacking. The 3-1 defeat to England was harsh on Mexico. They dominated possession and created the better chances – a lack of composure in the penalty area was their downfall.” (Zonal Marking)


How football helped to heal Honduras

May 26, 2010


“I often see a football match described as a battle or a fight for survival but in 1969 a tie between Honduras and El Salvador proved to be the catalyst that turned simmering border tension and immigration issues into all-out war. The two teams met in a play-off that had more at stake than simply a place at the 1970 World Cup in Mexico and each side was subjected to abuse, xenophobia and hatred when playing in the other country.” (BBC)

Football War
“The Football War (La guerra del fútbol, in Spanish), also known as the Soccer War or 100-hours War, was a four-day war fought by El Salvador and Honduras in 1969. It was caused by political conflicts between Hondurans and Salvadorans, namely issues concerning immigration from El Salvador to Honduras. These existing tensions between the two countries coincided with the inflamed rioting during the second North American qualifying round for the 1970 FIFA World Cup. On 14 July 1969, the Salvadoran army launched an attack against Honduras. The Organization of American States negotiated a cease-fire which took effect on 20 July, with the Salvadoran troops withdrawn in early August.” (Wikipedia)

Salvador–Honduras War, 1969
“An idyllic view of Latin America shows twenty or so somewhat similar countries living in peaceful proximity to each other. Revolutions, yes; wars, no―or so goes the popular concept. Wars are for Europe and Asia, not for neighborly Latin America. The fact is, however, that Latin America has been the site of a number of bitter conflicts, several of which have resulted in large numbers of casualties. The Chaco War, the War of the Pacific, the Paraguayan War, the Peruvian-Ecuadoran War―all of these were international conflicts that disturbed the hemisphere.” (Air Power)


All the Men’s Kings

May 26, 2010

“And so the 2010 Champions League Final raised its skinny arms up over its head, arched its little back, and dove into the waters of ‘a thing that happened,’ where it slipped in without making a splash. I mean no bitterness toward the participants when I say that, unless you were an Inter fan or could name more than four players on Bayern’s team, this was not an event that sent you scurrying to your secret dictionary. Mourinho’s teams have a way of making their victories look tautological—they perform actions from which winning results, therefore they win—and this one was even more programmatically straightforward than most, a lot of patient defending combined with two inspired stabs from Milito. Bayern should have scored, but they didn’t, and therefore Inter performed the actions that ensured they never would. Mourinho keeps doing it, as Andy Gray twice purred. Code is poetry, except that it totally isn’t.” (Run of Play)


On Massumi’s Logic of Relation: Players

May 26, 2010

“In the last section of our analysis on Brian Massumi’s logic of relation he asks us to consider the ball as a part-subject that catalyzes the vast field of potential that is the soccer pitch. It is the ball that reconfigures the field of potential while movement plays out or unfolds, since the players continuously move in response to its displacements. Susken Rosenthal’s pencil drawings are interesting in that they make the autonomous agency of the ball explicit by tracing its movements around the pitch during the course of a soccer match. One notices the relatively straight lines that collectively express the displacements of the ball, but also the quite angular vertices showing where the ball changed direction with a well-placed kick.” (Sport Babal)


World Cup Moments: Gheorghe Hagi Scores From There, ‘94.

May 26, 2010


Gheorghe Hagi, ‘Maradona of the Carpathians’
“Back at the ‘94 World Cup, Romania’s Gheorge Hagi was the bee’s knees. He was so good he was allowed to join that rarified group: players who’ve sidled up on each flank of El Clasico. Good throughout the tournament, but there was a moment, one singular moment, which reigns in the memories of all: that goal, from there.” (World Cup Blog)


Spain Blows Whistle on La Liga

May 26, 2010

“Spanish football teams are shooting for a new goal: To break even. In an effort to tackle reckless spending and rising debts among the 20 La Liga clubs, the country’s top teams will be subjected to financial regulation by a new independent body established by the Spanish government to ensure that teams are living within their means.” (WSJ)


North Korea: a better side than you might expect

May 26, 2010

“For obvious reasons, there hasn’t been a great deal of media coverage about the North Korean national team, making a re-appearance in the World Cup for the first time since their famous adventure in the north of England in 1966. Of course, this has only contributed to a sense of anticipation about their side; there were suggestions that throughout the qualification campaign, North Korea played the most defensive game imaginable – telling their strikers to drop back into defence when out of possession. That seems doubtful, but regardless, they have new coach anyway.” (Zonal Marking)


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