Fascism & Football: The political history of Spanish football

May 22, 2014

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“Spain had been a notable absentee from the 1938 World Cup. The country was being torn apart by Leftist Republicans and a coalition of Nationalist Forces led by General Francisco Franco. The Spanish Civil War was instrumental in bringing three most powerful Fascist leaders together. In 1937, Mussolini sent a considerable number of men to support his Fascist ally. German involvement in the War began immediately as Adolf Hitler immediately sent powerful air and armoured units to assist Franco and his Nationalist forces along with considerable economic loans. By 1939, Franco was successful in curbing the last outbursts of his Republican resistance, including and importantly, the capital of Catalonia, Barcelona. In one week alone in the last year of struggle, 10,000 members of the anti-Franco brigade were executed in Barcelona. A further 25,000 were shot after the ceasefire in the city.” Outside of the Boot

Fascism and Football: How Italy won the 1934 and 1938 World Cup
Outside of the Boot

Fascism & Football: When Germany were the inferior team
Outside of the Boot

Mussolini’s Football
Soccer Politics


Duel: Is the World Cup a poisoned chalice?

May 22, 2014

“To describe the World Cup as a ‘poisoned chalice’ for the host nations is to ignore the fact that its value goes beyond the economic—it brings people and nations together. It’s also a fantastic platform from which to spread the message that racism and homophobia in sport are wrong. I’m not denying that it costs a huge amount of money to host the World Cup but Brazil currently has the seventh largest economy in the world, is rich in natural resources and has a population of over 198m people. It is a nation that loves football and has a strong tradition of excellence in the game; this event has forced them to upgrade their stadiums and ensure they maintain a world-class standard. It has also made it essential for the Brazilian government to improve the nation’s infrastructure. Brazil is supposed to be this new country coming out and showing the world how powerful they are. I believe that hosting the World Cup will, in the long term, be a huge benefit to Brazil’s economy and global status.” Prospect: Sol Campbell and Simon Kuper


2014 World Cup in Brazil

May 22, 2014

“This summer, 32 countries will compete in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Although each country has distinct histories, customs, and cultures, soccer ties these countries together and bridges their differences. Thus, soccer acts as a mode of universal language or, perhaps, even transcends language, due to its simplicity and global appeal. As a ubiquitous sport, soccer appeals not only to players, but also to millions of fans—some of who play soccer and others of who have never played. For four years, these fans wait anxiously for the quadrennial World Cup, which attracts more fans than any other sporting event in existence. This blog page is a background and travel guide for all of those fans who plan to travel to Brazil to witness the spectacle firsthand. It is also a useful resource for those fans that will witness the event on television and might want additional insight into the Brazilian culture and history that make this summer’s World Cup so meaningful. We hope you enjoy our guide and find it useful in answering any questions you may have. Enjoy Brazil, savor the exhilarating soccer matches that are sure to take place and, for those of you making the journey, safe travels!” Soccer Politics


The Fight For 23: Crowded U.S. midfield makes for heated World Cup roster competition

May 22, 2014

“In the fight to make the 23-man U.S. World Cup squad, any discussion about the midfielders has to begin with Michael Bradley. The rock of the central midfield is at the height of his powers at age 26, and he knows exactly how the U.S. should look on the field in Brazil when the Americans are playing at their best. How can you tell when that’s the case? When, as Bradley puts it, ‘tactically we’re organized, and defensively every guy is committed to closing down and being aggressive and pressing and making the game hard on the other team. It means that when we win balls we’re mobile and dynamic and showing how athletic we are and how quickly we can go forward.’” SI


The (Midfield) Engine That Could

May 22, 2014

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“There are eleven positions on a soccer team, each with its own character. None is more glamorous than the striker, whose job is to score the goals in a game that has so few of them. None is more romantic than the goalkeeper, who stands alone as the team’s last line of defense, the only player who can use his hands in a sport that depends on the use of the feet, the head, and every part of the body but the hands. None is more celebrated than the Number 10, known sometimes as the fantasista, the team’s playmaking superstar who’s asked to supply the creativity that can undo the most rehearsed and structured defense. Yet despite the spotlight that shines on those players, the midfield position situated just in front of the team’s defensive backline is perhaps the most critical of all. ” The Paris Review


A National Team Without a Country

May 22, 2014

“The 18 Eritrean refugees arrived in this picturesque, blue-collar Dutch city 20 miles east of Rotterdam earlier this month looking for safety, security and, finally, after 18 months of fear and uncertainty in two refugee camps on two continents, a home. Refugees are not an uncommon sight in the Netherlands. More than 500 are granted legal status every year in the country’s municipalities, towns and cities, often in groups of two or three, though a huge number of economic migrants arrive, many illegally.” NY Times


Soccer Players You Need to Know Before the World Cup: Thomas Muller

May 22, 2014

“Thomas Muller gets more tangible results from intangible skills than any player in any sport on the face of the planet. Usually, when we talk about intangibles we talk about players who do the little things: glue guys, clubhouse guys, guys who are willing to put in the dirty work other players won’t. But that’s not Muller. Thomas Muller scores goals. He scores them all the time; he’s regularly a top goal-scoring contributor on perhaps the best club team in the world, Bayern Munich, and one of the best national teams in the world, Germany. But exactly how he gets them? That’s the intangible.” Grantland