2014 Fifa World Cup: Gary Lineker’s guide to the eight seeds

December 7, 2013

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“England have been drawn in Group D for the 2014 World Cup, meaning they will face seeded team Uruguay as well as Italy and Costa Rica. Hosts Brazil are in Group A, reigning world and European champions Spain are in Group B and three-time champions Germany are in Group G. Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker, speaking before the draw was made, takes a closer look at the eight seeded national teams…” BBC


U.S. draws incredibly difficult group, but one filled with opportunity

December 7, 2013

“The U.S. had drawn Germany, Portugal and Ghana, the hardest opening-round group the Americans have ever faced in a World Cup. Germany, a three-time world champion, could easily win the tournament. Portugal has Cristiano Ronaldo, who may be about to win the Ballon d’Or as the world player of the year. And Ghana has been the destroyer of U.S. dreams at the last two World Cups, eliminating the Americans both times. Group G has easily the most difficult average FIFA ranking of any World Cup group: 11.25. Germany is No. 2, Portugal No. 5, the U.S. No. 14 and Ghana No. 24.” SI

USA’s 2014 World Cup group overflowing with history
“You wanted a World Cup group with some sumptuous storylines? You got one. The USA was drawn into a Group of Supreme Death with Germany, Portugal and Ghana, with Jurgen Klinsmann needing to gameplan for the likes of Mesut Ozil and Cristiano Ronaldo while aiming to break the Ghana hex — just to reach the knockout stage. The amount of history that the USA has against its group opponents is staggering, too.” SI (Video)


German Nationalism Courtesy of Football

December 7, 2013

“The 20th century was a wicked roller coaster ride for Germany. Two World Wars, each spawned by high levels of nationalism, both resulted in German defeat. In the course of less than fifty years, Germany’s territory, economy, and politics were reduced to rubble, rebuilt, and then subsequently destroyed multiple times. Post World War II, the Allied Powers split Germany into two countries to separate East from West during the Cold War, with the very visible divide in the form of the Berlin Wall. Only with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 did East and West Germany begin the process of reunification. So, where has that left German citizens?” Soccer Politics


World Cup draw musings: Travel plans, Dyke’s “doh” and happy Fab

December 7, 2013

“Shortly after the World Cup draw, the national team coaches and FA officials are herded into what’s known as the “mixed zone”. It’s basically a giant tent, with eight barricades, one for each group. The coaches stand behind the fence, with the media scrum on the other side, microphones and notebooks in hand. How much a manager talks depends on several factors. First and foremost is his personality and how in demand he is. Then there is something as basic as how many languages he can speak: if you’re comfortable in English and Spanish, you can go a very long time.” ESPN


AC Milan Crisis: What next for the Rossoneri?

December 7, 2013

“While teams like Juventus, Roma, Napoli were racking up points to fight it out for the title, Milan were sliding downhill, drawing and losing to teams they would have annihilated a few years back. Champions in 2010-11, Milan were flirting with the relegation zone as they had slumped to a lowly 13th in the table just 4 points off the dreaded drop zone and a massive 20 points off the table toppers, Juventus. Things were fairly quiet and subdued at the Via Turati in the summer; somewhat a relief after last seasons mass exodus with Filippo Inzaghi, Gennaro Gattuso, Alessandro Nesta et al putting their keys to their San Siro lockers on the table one by one.” Outside of the Boot


Football in Belarus and a tale of false promise

December 7, 2013

“It’s easy to forget that the all-conquering magicians of Europe Bayern Munich began their romp to the continental crown last season as the victims of a remarkable conjuring act. A startling result, which saw the grand masters beaten 3-1 in the former Soviet province of Borisov by a team who had never before tasted victory at Europe’s top table, might for all the world have been an illusion mechanised by Belarusian champions BATE for the benefit and bemusement of the world’s press. Not so much a rabbit out of a hat as a tractor, the likes of which are produced at the Borisov Auto Electric plant from where the club draws its name, bursting from the toe of a delicately stitched Bavarian stocking.” World Soccer