The World Cup Balls

June 6, 2010


“The book features the original balls of every Football World Cup between 1930 and 2010; it describes the stories and legends surrounding these balls and makes observations on footballs in general. In his extensive interview, German goalkeeper legend Sepp Maier talks about his love for these spherical objects.” (The World Cup Balls), (NYT – The World Cup Balls)


World Cup marks a milestone in S Africa’s evolution

June 6, 2010

“It’s 1985, and I’m sitting on the veranda of my grandparents’ house in white Johannesburg. It’s a blazing December day, and I’ve just swum in their pool. Next to me my grandfather is listening to the cricket on the radio. Nesta, the black maid who has been working for my grandparents for decades, is cutting the chocolate cake. At the bottom of the garden, her grandchildren are playing in our old underpants from Europe. In 1985, apartheid is still going to last forever.” (FI – Simon Kuper)


World Cup Power Rankings

June 6, 2010


“You knew they had to be coming: World Cup power rankings are here. Let’s dive in…” (SI)


Experience at the World Cup

June 6, 2010

“It’s an oft-used cliché that experience is necessary in order to win the greatest football competition in the world. In fact, only the other day I saw Steve Hodge being interviewed on Sky Sports News talking about this very subject. I think he was trying to tout his Maradona ’86 World Cup shirt again but was nonetheless happy enough to offer his wisdom to Sky Sports’ rolling news feed. He made the point that the sides who won the World Cup normally had an average age of around 28/29. He’s got a point, the average age of the World Cup winning Italian squad of four years ago was 28 years and 8 months.” (twinty tin)


Don’t Bet on Home Continent in African World Cup

June 6, 2010


“The World Cup opens Friday, and this host city is draped in the flags of the 32 participating nations. With the world’s biggest sporting event coming to Africa for the first time, hope wafts across the continent that one of the six African teams might win. ‘The talent is there, certainly,’ Bob Bradley, the United States coach, said. Yet history says that disarray in preparations, desperate coaching changes, poverty, official corruption and vagaries of the draw will conspire against Africa’s chances.” (NYT)


A good Danish side that deserve more attention

June 6, 2010

“There hasn’t been much focus upon Denmark in the build-up to the World Cup, but many of those who watched this team in qualification suggest that this is the strongest Danish team since they won the European Championships in 1992. The lack of attention is strange when you consider they won probably the toughest group in the UEFA qualifying section, finishing ahead of both Portugal and Sweden. Denmark have never failed to get past the group stage on the three occasions they’ve qualified for the tournament, and whilst their opening game against the Netherlands is a tricky start, they certainly have the ability to progress.” (Zonal Marking)


The Weekly Sweeper: Absence and Presence at the World Cup

June 6, 2010

“Rio Ferdinand, Jose Bosingwa and Michael Essien hurt their knees. Didier Drogba broke his elbow. Michael Ballack and Jon Obi Mikel messed up their ankles. Arjen Robben tweaked his hamstring. Andrea Pirlo aches in his calf. No Charlie Davies, no Lassana Diara, no Mourad Meghni, no David Beckham.” (Pitch Invasion)


Pelé Remains the Last Word in a Changed World

June 6, 2010

“Pelé was barely 17 ½ when he marched onto the field in 1958 for his first World Cup match. He learned one thing that day in Goteborg, Sweden: the World Cup is vastly different from the club soccer he played back home in Brazil.” (NYT)