The Rise Of African Soccer

June 5, 2010


“The boy was handed an AK-47 assault rifle and taught how to clean, load, aim and fire it. There was target practice for a while, which was fun. Almost like a video game, only louder with more recoil. Then one day, the boy was blindfolded. ‘I was told not to open fire until instructed,’ recalls the boy, now a man. ‘So I waited. Finally, I was given the order. I opened fire, then I was told to stop. When they removed the blindfold, I saw that I’d killed a man. They said, ‘Now you know you can shoot to kill.’ They said, ‘Do this or you will become dust.’ I was 12, maybe 13 years old. I had no shirt and no shoes. But I had an AK-47. A lot of boys like me fought in that war.'” (ESPN)


Ghana: defensive, cohesive and underrated

June 5, 2010

“‘Tactically naive’ is the common criticism for any African side which fails, generally regardless of the nature of their defeat or their manager’s tactical acumen. Ghana showed at the Africa Nations Cup earlier this year that they are anything but tactically naive. As if to emphasize what a silly criticism it is, Ghana were then labelled boring and defensive for daring to set out in a fashion that might maximise their chances of victory.” (Zonal Marking)


World Cup Tales: The Creation Of A Design Classic, 1970

June 5, 2010

“It is one of the curious anomalies of our game that when we close our eyes and think of a football we tend to think of a specific type of football and, moreover, that the type of football that we are likely to think of is a specific type of ball which hasn’t been widely used in major tournaments for over thirty years. To geometrists, it would be known as spherical polyhedron, but we would be more likely to know it as a 32-panel football, a Buckminster ball or a ‘bucky ball’, it made its international debut at the 1970 World Cup finals in Mexico, and it is a perfect example of the application of science to commercial design.” (twohundredpercent)


On Hatred and American Soccer

June 5, 2010


St George and the Dragon, Vittore Corpaccio
“I’m writing this in a circuitous way to explore the reasons I follow the U.S. Men’s National team. The simple reasons: I played soccer in high school, make time to watch a variety of leagues today, and have lived most of my life in the U.S. But I have a feeling there’s deeper cause, a stronger pull, for my infatuation with this team. Less than a week before the World Cup kicks off, I begin.” (Run of Play)


World Cup Tales: Did Il Duce Fix It? Italy, 1934

June 5, 2010

“When Joao Havelange claimed, in 2008, that the 1966 and 1974 World Cups were fixed, his claims were largely laughed out of court. Depending on who you listened to, he was either deliberately misconstruing events or demonstrating little more than the first signs of senility. What was, however, curious about his comments was what he missed out. No mention was made of the 1978 tournament, which many have pointed to as being a tournament of less than sturdy moral fibre (and was, coincidentally, the first held under Havelange’s tutelage) and, even more curiously, none was made of the second World Cup of all, which was held in the Italy of Benito Mussolini in 1934.” (twohundredpercent)


Spain 1-0 South Korea – Video Highlights and Recap – Friendly – 3 June 2010

June 5, 2010

“Two teams headed for the World Cup faced off in an international friendly on Thursday, June 3, 2010 as Spain played South Korea. Spain was looking to improve on their form from an earlier friendly against Saudi Arabia where they narrowly won 3-2. South Korea are not a favorite to get out of the group stage but are a team that is not to be taken lightly.” (The 90 th Minute)


Italy 1-2 Mexico – Video Highlights and Recap – Friendly – 3 June 2010

June 5, 2010

“Italy, the defending World Cup champions, faced off against CONCACAF side Mexico in an international friendly on Thursday, June 3, 2010. Italy are not picked by most to repeat as champions or even make the final. Mexico on the other hand have a group that could be tough but they are definitely good enough to make it to the second round.” (The 90th Minute)


World Cup Preview: Group H

June 5, 2010


Fernando Torres
“The 19th World Cup Finals kick-off in just seven days, and the impending five week surge of ill-informed tabloid jingoism is tantalisingly within reach. Trying hard to not get carried away, but gnawing at the rope which tethers him to his kennel with excitement nevertheless is Dotmund, who today completes his in-depth look at the runners and riders for South Africa 2010. Today, a sneaky peak at the reigning European champions, a second-time Central American qualifier, a team from a country with a lot of cheese in and a team from a country which is quite long and thin.” (twohundredpercent)


Argentina’s World Cup chaos

June 5, 2010

“Much has been written of late already about the sanity, or lack thereof, to be found in the mind of the manager of the Argentine national football team. WSC has also asked at times this year whether the security authorities have entirely the right idea about how to deal with the violent elements within Argentina’s football supporters. So it should come as no surprise to learn that, when the selección flew from Buenos Aires to Johannesburg last Friday on a public South African Airways flight, 22 ‘official’ barra bravas were on the same aeroplane.” (WSC)


World Cup 2010: Matthew Booth the perfect advertisement for integrated South Africa

June 5, 2010

“So when some members of the Spanish press thought they heard him being booed by black fans at the Confederations Cup last summer they thought they had a great story about racial disharmony in the new South Africa and filed their copy to Madrid. They got it excruciatingly, embarrassingly wrong. The fans were celebrating their cult hero, launching into a resonant chant of “Booth!” every time the 6″6 centre-half met the ball with one of his thumping defensive headers.” (Telegraph)