FIFA’s Foul Play

July 19, 2010


Cape of Good Hope
“For any practitioner of Zen who imagines he has achieved a state of detached equanimity, the ultimate test must be to watch his national side play at soccer’s World Cup. That England’s team is dull, I tell myself after the first game, I can handle; that they are truly dire, I reflect after the second and third, is perhaps only par for the course. When, in their first knockout match, England goes 2–0 down to a fluent and attractive Germany, it seems the perfect opportunity for resignation and acceptance.” (NYB)


Brazilian league lacks bite

July 19, 2010

“Spain or Barcelona? No contest. Week in, week out, Barcelona combine the midfield interplay of Xavi and Iniesta with the cutting edge of Lionel Messi, Daniel Alves and co. The comparison serves to confirm the impression that these days club football is of a much higher standard than international – as long as we restrict the debate to the major European leagues. The big clubs in Spain, England, Italy and Germany are in front of the national teams because of the time their players spend together and because they count on the best talent from all over the planet. When the World Cup stops and domestic football returns, the level of play goes up.” (BBC – Tim Vickery)


Remediations

July 19, 2010

“I was born in the age of the instant replay, but only just – if it was in fact in 1970 that they started using it, as I seem to recall having heard once. I wasn’t able to confirm that, and still wonder if Hurst’s goal of 1966 was available to the television audience for immediate review, however grainily. I know for a fact the games were broadcast in black and white back then, and that it was only cinemagoers who got to see the highlight packages in colour. At any rate, the first World Cup in my actual memory is the one of 1978 and at that stage you could watch the games live – still only in black and white in our household – and the replays of the goals during the games themselves, but that was it.” (Miinus the Shooting)


The final analysis, part five: Iniesta takes up increasingly advanced positions before pouncing

July 19, 2010

“The first sign that Andres Iniesta was the danger man came midway through the second half of normal time, when he found himself through on goal (pink), but took too long to get a shot away.” (Zonal Marking)


The King of Football – Pele on Postage Stamps

July 19, 2010


“FIFA player of the century Pele is widely regarded as the greatest footballer of all-time. He is the all-time leading scorer of the Brazilian national football team and the only footballer to be a part of three World Cup-winning squads. In 1957 just 3 months short of his 17th birthday he made his international debut and scored. That goal making him the youngest player to score in a full international match. A year later he took the world by storm.” (Footysphere)


Feel It: Reflections on South Africa 2010 and the Contradictions of Fandom

July 19, 2010

“Though a round-about series of unplanned events, a few weeks ago I ended up watching South Africa play France in an immense and busy fan park in a dusty working class outskirt of Pretoria/Tshwane. In the fan park, while stumbling around looking for an angle on one of the big-screens, a couple South African fans glommed onto my American friend and me with curiosity: other than some staff running the show, we seemed to be two of the few white people in the place and we obviously didn’t quite know what we were doing. So, as always seemed to happen during World Cup 2010, the locals took it upon themselves to look out for us.” (Pitch Invasion)


ZM’s World Cup 2010 Best XI

July 19, 2010

“This was the tournament in which many of the big names failed to perform, but few of this XI were unknowns before the tournament started. No rules about number of players per country, here’s ZM’s all-star XI.” (Zonal Marking)