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)


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