Spain ’82: My First World Cup

July 9, 2014

“The first World Cup I remember was Spain ’82. I was eleven and in my fifth year of primary school and living at the Holy Child Teacher Training College, in Ikot Ekpene, in southern Nigeria, where my mother taught home economics. This is about an hour from my village. It was two years since I watched Nigeria’s Green Eagles (as they were called then) defeat Algeria to lift the African Cup of Nations for the first time, in 1980. I remember the three goals against the Desert Foxes, or Les Fennecs, by Segun (Mathematical) Odegbami and Muda Lawal and the celebrations that swept through the land. The image of our captain, Christian (Chairman) Chukwu, lifting the cup after the game was something to behold.” New Yorker


Shades of Oranje

June 25, 2014

“France ’98 remains the standard for World Cups in my lifetime. The number of great players in their prime, the quality of the games in the knockout rounds, the last-second drama of the now (thankfully) abolished Golden Goal—a rule by which the first team to score a goal in extra time won—it all proved irresistible. France as a nation had turned to embrace the right, and up had risen the National Front; nevertheless, people traveled in happy droves to spend days, if not weeks, in their dream of Romantic France. During those June days, football flourished under what should have been a crushing paradox of love and hate, more felt than fully understood.” The Paris Review


The World Cup’s top 100 footballers of all time – interactive

June 23, 2014

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6. Johan Cruyff
“Welcome to the Guardian’s choice of the World Cup’s top 100 footballers. Led by Lothar Matthäus and Zico, our international panel of 40 experts compiled a countdown of the finest players to grace the globe’s greatest sporting event. You can see who the judges are and read how we compiled the list here. Starting with No1 in the top left corner, click on the individual players to read more about them.” Guardian


Garrincha

June 19, 2014

GARRINCHA 3
“Manuel Francisco dos Santos (28 October 1933 – 20 January 1983), known by the nickname ‘Garrincha’ (Portuguese pronunciation: [ɡaˈʁĩʃɐ], ‘little bird’), was a Brazilian footballer who played right winger and forward. He is regarded by many as the best dribbler in football history. The word garrincha itself means wren. Garrincha was also known as Mané (short for Manuel) by his friends. The combined ‘Mané Garrincha’ is common among fans in Brazil. Due to his immense popularity in Brazil, he was also called Alegria do Povo (Joy of the People) and Anjo de Pernas Tortas (Angel with Bent Legs).” Wikipedia

YouTube: Garrincha – The Genius of Dribble ( Documentary ) Part 1, Part 2


Restored Footage from the First World Cup: Uruguay, 1930

June 18, 2014

“The 19th FIFA World Cup is now underway in Brazil, and that gives us an excuse to revisit the first World Cup, played in July, 1930 in Uruguay. Only 13 teams participated in the tournament, and all matches were played in Montevideo, Uruguay’s capital. In the semi-finals, the United States lost to Argentina, 6-1. Uruguay crushed Yugoslavia by the same score. In the end, Uruguay, the favorites all along, triumphed over Argentina (4-2) before a home crowd of 93,000, to become the winner of the inaugural FIFA World Cup.” Open Culture (Video)


How We Play the Game

June 16, 2014

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Pelé in a match at the 1966 World Cup in England.
“Every team is simply trying to score goals while preventing its opponent from doing the same. But they all seem to go about it in distinct ways, don’t they? To understand what is happening on the fields in Brazil at the World Cup, one must learn a bit about each country’s history, and literature, and music, and regionalism, and economy – not to mention bicycles and pottery. If you look closely enough at the X’s and O’s, you just might find a national poem.” NY Times


Fabio Cannavaro: The street urchin who became a World Cup ‘legend’

June 8, 2014

“‘When you win the World Cup, you start to become a legend — for the people around the world, you are different.’ For Fabio Cannavaro, this legendary status was hard earned. At just 5 foot 9 inches tall, he wasn’t built to be the world’s greatest center back. And he certainly never expected to be named the world’s best player.” CNN


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