Browsing Bookshelves Until the Games Begin

May 11, 2010


“Every four years, there are certain unassailable commercial indications that the World Cup is near: sporting goods companies unveil new national team jerseys, companies offer promotions to try to cash in on World Cup fever, and desks begin to groan under an avalanche of (mostly) new soccer books.” (NYT)


Manchester United’s failings down to a lack of attacking variation

May 11, 2010

“It depends how you want to interpret the number ‘1′. There is no shame in losing a league title by a single point, but the flip side is that when you’re a club as used to success as Manchester United, a mere one season without silverware is considered a failure. The statistics about goals easily sum up United’s problems. They had the best defensive record, despite the fact that first-choice central defensive partnership Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic started just nine of the 38 games together.” (Zonal Marking)


On Zidane, Aging, and the World Cup

May 11, 2010

“I watched Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait again over the weekend—this time on disc, so I had the chance to watch all the added features, including an interview with Zidane himself. If you missed it when it was showing briefly a year ago or so at Anthology Film Archives and the Brooklyn Academy of Music, you can catch it again at BAM in early June in the run-up to this year’s Cup. It’s more than worth seeing—it’s riveting soccer verité, focused completely on one extraordinarily compelling character: Zinedine Zidane. Multiple cameras follow him in real time through a La Liga match with Real Madrid against Villareal in April 2005.” (Vanity Fair)


Video Of The Week: The World Cup – A Captain’s Tale

May 11, 2010

“We’ve got a bit of a change from the normal for this week’s Video Of The Week, with a chance to see the rare drama, ‘The World Cup – A Captain’s Tale’. Produced by Tyne-Tees Television for ITV in 1982, it tells the story of the West Auckland FC team that travelled to Turin for the Sir Thomas Lipton Trophy in 1909 and 1911 – the tournament that became known as the first World Cup. It’s a well known story, but this is a well-crafted dramatisation of it and features a cast with some very well-known names in it, including Tim Healy, Nigel Hawthorne, Dennis Waterman and Richard Griffiths.” (twohundredpercent)


In soccer terms – are we still a colony?

May 11, 2010


“I have received a breathless announcement from MLS informing me that Manchester United will be coming to the USA this summer. A press release, of course, but one is entitled to wonder which section of the press it is intended for. It also seems likely that much of the wording is designed to impress sponsors and marketing people.” (Soccer America) (Must Read Soccer)


Ronaldinho Misses Out on Brazil Selection

May 11, 2010

“Ronaldinho’s gap-toothed grin will be missing from the Brazilian team photos from South Africa. The most dazzling player of a generation was omitted from Dunga’s preliminary roster Tuesday, signaling perhaps that supreme talent alone is not enough to be part of the Seleção, and that training habits and commitment may also be important.” (NYT)


Bayern and Inter set for Bernabéu showpiece

May 11, 2010

“Club football’s biggest prize is at stake when two of the great names of the European game, FC Bayern München and FC Internazionale Milano, cross swords in the climax to the 2009/10 UEFA Champions League season in Madrid.” (UEFA)


World Cup Moments: The Wasserschlacht, West Germany v Poland, 1974

May 11, 2010

“Just because it’s the World Cup doesn’t mean everything about it need be of World Cup quality. Take the pitch in the 1974 semifinal between hosts West Germany and Poland, for example – it looked like it belonged hosting the 400m butterfly at the Summer Olympics rather than a World Cup game. And that’s precisely why it became known as the Wasserschlacht, German for water fight.” (World Cup Blog)