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 The Organization of American States negotiated a cease-fire which took effect on 20 July, with the Salvadoran troops withdrawn in early August.”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)