How To Beat Brazil

June 29, 2010

“You play soccer. You have a team, some decent players. You’re ambitious. Good for you. Now, attempt the following: When the whistle blows and the match begins, jog around the pitch slowly, laconically, grinning the entire time. Your body language should express an indifference to the game itself. In fact, let your opponent control the pace, let them have possession, let them think they’re in charge. When you do get the ball, pass it around a little, just to see how it feels. Isn’t the stadium pretty under the lights? Smile. Mostly, though, wait. Be patient. Don’t run hard unless it’s absolutely necessary. Just for fun, let the other side have a few shots on goal, so they get their blood flowing. Then, after twenty minutes without a single scoring opportunity, manufacture one out of thin air—a broken play in the midfield, a counter-attack, a foul and a quick restart—and once in front of the rival’s net, be merciless.” (TNR)


World Cup 2010: Paraguay 0-0 Japan (Paraguay win 5-3 on penalties)

June 29, 2010

“They say that consistency helps in football. Especially in terms of number of players you use. This seems to be one of Japan’s tactics, as they enter this game with the same XI that began each of the group games with. Paraguay give first starts to Edgar Benitez and Nestor Ortigioza, as they become the sixteenth and seventeenth players to start for the South Americans (with two others having played as substitutes). Ortigoza makes his World Cup debut, leaving Dario Veron and Rodolfo Gamarra as the only two outfield Paraguayans to see any action.” (twohundredpercent)

Cardozo’s clincher sends Paraguay to first Cup quarterfinal
“The last thing Paraguay wanted was to wind up in a shootout with Japan. After all, the South Americans almost never practice penalty kicks — or have any success when they do. Yet Paraguay took the most difficult route to its first World Cup quarterfinals Tuesday. After 120 exhausting minutes without scoring, the Paraguayans found their touch in penalty kicks, making all five to beat Japan.” (ESPN)

Paraguay 0-0 (5-3 on penalty kicks) Japan – Video Highlights, Recap, Match Stats – World Cup – 29 June 2010
“Two sides who weren’t expected to make into the quarterfinals met in the round of 16 as Paraguay faced off against Japan. One would reach their first ever quarterfinal while the other would be knocked out of the tournament.” (The 90th Minute)

From the World Expo to the World Cup: Field Notes From the New Economy

June 29, 2010

“I started the week at the World Expo in Shanghai and ended it at the World Cup in Cape Town. Both events offer a spectrum of perspectives on what is really happening in the world economy today.” (Huffington Post)

How to Train a World Cup Referee

June 29, 2010

“The ball is lighter, the players are faster, the tactics are more complex. And if you’re a referee working the 2010 World Cup and you can’t keep up and be in the right position, you may blow the call, outraging the hundreds of millions of fans watching worldwide.” (Smithsonian)

Midfielder Annan is Ghana’s key

June 29, 2010

“He’s the starting central midfielder for a perennial African powerhouse and a World Cup quarterfinalist. He’s still just 23 but has already amassed 43 caps for his country and drawn rave reviews, not just in South Africa but at the last two Africa Cups of Nations. So the question is: why does Anthony Annan still ply his trade in Norway?” (SI)

There is only one thing tired about England… the excuses

June 29, 2010

“As hard to believe as it may be, England are actually worse off now than when Steve McClaren was sacked almost three years ago. Back then, you see, there was a plan. The Football Association were going to throw money at the problem like never before; they were going to write a cheque that would make Sven Goran Eriksson’s second contract seem like luncheon vouchers.” (Daily Mail)

England’s Loss to Germany

June 29, 2010

“England’s performance was in a different league of awfulness from the regular awfulness that had been seen in earlier games. Before, the problem had been one of not seeming to care; the players behaving as though they deserved to win by virtue of their size of their wages. This time they definitely cared, they were fired up, ready to go and then when they got there, they were just awful.” (The Paris Review)