Ivory Coast’s uphill task just got even steeper

June 4, 2010


“Ivory Coast were been labelled the dark horses of this tournament by many, presumably all of whom were fortunate enough to miss their pathetic display at this year’s Africa Cup of Nations, where they recorded a 0-0 draw with Burkina Faso in the group stage, and were eventually knocked out by an average Algeria side.” (Zonal Marking)


Target Anxiety: the Penalty Shootout Reconsidered

June 4, 2010

“The penalty shootout is the monster under soccer’s bed. There are good reasons for this. Well, there are reasons, anyway, and they grow knotted and blighted from the nature of the penalty kick itself. The sport we quaint Old Worlders call American football is one of micro-management. An American football game is divided into dozens of short bursts of activity – a huddle in which a play is called, followed by the play in action, followed by another huddle, and so forth. This sequence of packets of time facilitates discipline and intra-team order. Each play call is a precise, unyielding instruction. Executive power thus largely resides in the coach making the call rather than in the foot soldier.” (Norman Einstein’s), (Must Read Soccer)


…And then I booked my flight

June 4, 2010

“It was a Wednesday. The Copa del Rey final had just finished. Sevilla beat Atletico Madrid in a pulsating game at Camp Nou in front of a packed crowd. I’ve always thought Atletico Madrid had rowdy fans, though I’ve never seen them live. Now I’m sure of it. Someone on Twitter in Barcelona said the Atletico fans outnumbered the Sevillistas down Las Ramblas by eight to one. Given the noise they made inside the stadium, I believe it.” (Just Football)


From Pastime to Industry: How Nineties Design Made the Sport

June 4, 2010


Adam Beebee, “Ultras”
‘There’s no formula; (the concepts) just have to be emotionally loaded. It may be something I hear on the radio, or a lyric from a song… It’s a simple thing.’ Ed Ruscha (primarily noted as an artist) distills his methodology in this straightforward description, and Michael Beirut (a graphic designer) co-opts it in his collection of essays on design, chiefly to frame artistic process in terms of Beirut’s own profession. For creative endeavors related to the sport of association football, Ruscha’s words ring favorably.” (Pitch Invasion)


World Cup scouting: Fábio Coentrão (Portugal)

June 4, 2010

“Even by modern standards, Fábio Coentrão is frighteningly skilful for a full-back. The blond left-sided player began his career as a fleet-footed winger at hometown club Rio Ave, with whom he spent three years prior to joining Benfica in July 2007. He had to bide his time before making his first-team breakthrough though, enduring largely unfulfilling loan spells at Nacional and Real Zaragoza before returning to Rio Ave on another loan deal in January 2009, and it wasn’t until this season that he managed to pin down a starting place at the Estádio da Luz.” (Football Further)


It’s Going To End Badly For Both Of Us: a Conversation With Brian Phillips

June 4, 2010


“The favors I owe Brian Phillips are beginning to stack up. First, he wrote an excellent piece comparing FIFA and FIBA for my blog, 48 Minutes of Hell. Now he has taken time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions about Brooklyn Asylum F.C., a serial novel about American soccer in the 1920s he is steadily publishing at his site the Run Of Play. If you’re new to the Run Of Play, it’s a bit like getting drunk with Lionel Messi in a bookstore in Nuevo Laredo, only to wake up, roll over, and say, ‘Oh my God, I wasn’t dreaming. That’s Lionel Messi. And he’s wearing nothing but briefs.'” (Norman Einstein’s), (Must Read Soccer)


Little Slovenia Hopes to Make Big Impression at World Cup

June 4, 2010

“Roam the mountains and vineyards of Slovenia, and its citizens and soccer players will regularly remind a foreign visitor of two verities. This is not Slovakia (a very touchy subject). This is a very small country: about the size of New Jersey and home to about 300 million fewer inhabitants than its future World Cup opponent, the United States.” (NYT)


Barring Disaster, United States Will Proceed With Confidence

June 4, 2010

“United States forward Jozy Altidore’s right ankle will be evaluated later Friday while his teammates continue their preparations for the World Cup. With only a week before the start of the tournament, players and coaches are especially wary of new injuries, or the danger of aggravating old ones.” (NYT)