Scattershot Politics: Sport and Its Serpentine Political Meanings

June 14, 2011


Andres Escobar
“Over the past fifteen to twenty years, historians have increasingly emphasized the role of sports as both a driver and reflection of society. The recent Bill Simmons-inspired and ESPN-produced 30 for 30 documentary series tackled a number of difficult subjects via sport. In “The Two Escobars“, directors Jeff and Michael Zimbalist travelled through 1980s Columbia, following the lives of Pablo (international drug dealer/murder/local philanthropist) and Andres Escobar (captain of Columbia’s 1994 World Cup team murdered in a nightclub alteration several months later). The two unrelated protagonists encapsulated the travails of late 20th century Columbia. Drug money filtered into the nation’s soccer infrastructure, boosting its competitive success but also adding layers of complexity and violence to a nation already struggling with decades of conflict.” CultFootball

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Swansea City Back In The Big Time

June 14, 2011

“After nearly thirty years Wales once again has a representative in the top tier of English football, following Swansea City’s thrilling 4-2 win in the Championship play-off final against Reading. Not only was this a terrific achievement in its own right, but it also represented a massive turnaround for the Swans, who came close to going out of business less than ten years ago.” Swiss Ramble


Milutin Soskic leaves indelible mark on U.S. goalkeeping technique

June 14, 2011

“Being honest, there isn’t much about U.S. soccer that people in England envy, but we do wish we had a similar glut of goalkeeping talent. Over the last 10-15 years the U.S. has produced an extraordinary number of high-class goalkeepers, so many, in fact, that it’s begun to spoil Sylvester Stallone’s performance in Escape to Victory (because there, of course, half the joke was that he was an American who played football and had to play in goal so he could use his hands).” SI


Penarol carving out a new history

June 14, 2011


Pablo Dorado of Uruguay, World Cup 1930
“Measuring 309m by 46m, the flag unfurled on 12 April by fans of Uruguayan club Penarol is apparently the biggest in the world. Draped across much of Montevideo’s Centenario stadium, it hung in celebration of the fact that the club had made it through to the knockout stages of the Copa Libertadores for the first time since 2002. Two months later, there is much more to celebrate. Penarol have gone all the way to the final, for the first since they won the last of their five titles in 1987.” BBC – Tim Vickery


Bradley faces high-pressure stakes against Guadeloupe in Gold Cup

June 14, 2011

“Here’s what Tuesday’s U.S. game was supposed to be: a meaningless Gold Cup group-stage finale against Guadeloupe (9 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer, TeleFutura), a tiny Caribbean island that (as part of France) isn’t even allowed to compete in World Cup qualifying.” SI


Review of the Season: No plan ‘B’ for Barça & Mourinho’s blacklist

June 14, 2011

“Real Madrid ended October above Barcelona after perfect month – essential in a league where dropping a single point is as advisable as jamming your todger in a toaster. Pep’s Dream Boys carelessly threw away two precious points at the Camp Nou in a 1-1 draw against Mallorca, prompting mass panty-bunching panic in the Catalan capital.” FourFourTwo


Brazilian football is not dead, but things need to change

June 14, 2011

“Towards the end of the group phase Vanderlei Luxemburgo’s Brazil, with Ronaldinho and Alex shining, had booked their place in the second round. Colombia seemed sure to join them. They had played well, and only needed to avoid a five goal defeat against the Brazilians to make sure of their slot. I interviewed the Colombian coach, Javier Alvarez, the day before the game.” Sambafoot