Team USA and the State of the (Soccer) Nation

May 17, 2010


“Among the many common critiques of American soccer is the idea that we’ve managed to invert the traditional roots of the game: in most parts of the world football is a diverse sport of the people, but in the US soccer is a homogenous ‘country club’ sport for the suburban elite. The US soccer system, according to this popular narrative, restricts the sport’s power structures in ways that exclude our best ‘athletes’ (which is often code for low-income minorities). I’d like to suggest, however, that after carefully considering the US’s preliminary World Cup roster—the 30 men that ostensibly best ‘represent’ the American system—the actual story is a bit more complicated.” (Pitch Invasion)


Defending champs draw soft group

May 17, 2010

“No group in the World Cup is easy. But if Group G, which we’ll tackle next week, is the Group of Death, Group F might be as well be the Group of Life. Indeed, as far as SPI is concerned, this is about the weakest possible permutation of teams that might have been drawn into competition together.” (ESPN)


League comparison by points

May 17, 2010

“An interesting (if ultimately pointless) graph that shows the points tally of equivalent clubs from the Premiership, La Liga and Serie A (all of which play with a 20-team, 38-game season).” (Zonal Marking)


The World Cup, in 32 Murals

May 17, 2010

“You may soon begin to notice—as you wander the streets of New York, read your favorite magazine, or surf the web—a series of brightly colored murals depicting men on horseback, eagleback, and elephantback; men dressed as supermen or samurai; men sprouting wings or plated with armor. Do not be alarmed. These are not new comic book characters, created to kick Batman, the Fantastic Four, and Transformers to the curb. No, they are much bigger than that. These are the heroes of the 2010 World Cup, each of them en route to South Africa as they prepare to vanquish their foes and bring glory to their homelands.” (Vanity Fair)


Spain’s World Cup selection dilemma

May 17, 2010


“Spain coach Vicente del Bosque doesn’t have many tough squad choices to make going into this summer’s World Cup. Even casual fans can guess the outline of his ideal team, which includes such outstanding talents as Xavi Hernández, Cesc Fábregas, Fernando Torres and David Villa. Only one decision has threatened to undermine Spain’s unity of purpose ahead of a promising summer campaign – who will be called up as third goalkeeper?” (WSC)


The Power Of The Premier League

May 17, 2010

“I am not going to pass any moral judgment on the grubby Melissa Jacobs, who secretly recorded a private conversation with the now ex-FA independent chairman, in order to make him the ex-FA independent chairman. I’m sure she had her reasons – quite possibly tens of thousands of them. Nor am I going to pass any moral judgment on the Mail on Sunday newspaper, which facilitated that recording and published the results. I’m sure there is some philosophical argument that moral judgment cannot be passed on something without morals.” (twohundredpercent)


My place in Fabio Capello’s kit bag

May 17, 2010

“For most people the World Cup is an experience that steadily recedes. As a kid you believe there is a pretty reasonable chance you will one day score the winning goal in the final. Over time, the World Cup becomes more distant, a four-yearly jamboree only obliquely consumed. Outside of a successful playing career, this seems to be an irreversible process.” (Guardian)


Master and the apprentice

May 17, 2010

“Confidence is something José Mourinho has probably never lacked, but if one man more than any other helped the FC Internazionale Milano coach believe in himself, it could be the one who will try to deny him a second UEFA Champions League title on Saturday: FC Bayern München’s Louis Van Gaal.” (UEFA)