World Cup 2014: Guide to Switzerland’s Group E

May 28, 2014

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“Style & formation: Switzerland’s perfectly-timed rise to become one of the seeded nations for the World Cup is founded on a resilient defence, with two central midfielders shielding the back four. Nonetheless, coach Ottmar Hitzfeld has responded to previous criticism of his defensive tactics and rigid 4-4-2 formation by integrating creative young players into a 4-2-3-1 line-up well suited to a counter-attacking approach.” BBC – Switzerland, Ecuador, French, Hondurans


How Soccer Used to Explain Brazil

May 28, 2014

“Beginning in 1938, when Brazil sent its first integrated team to the World Cup, the players chosen to represent the Seleçao have also represented the country in terms of its ethnic, social, and religious makeup. The current crop of stars still mirror changes to Brazilian society, but in certain ways they have also come to represent the country’s upper class—the very target of Brazilian protestors.” Fusion


WC2014 Expert Interview: Why are expectations low despite Nigeria being African champions?

May 28, 2014

“A lot of Nigerian’s ply their trade in Europe. Do you think that doing so brings them an unfair share of attention, and hence greater chances of selection? Or is their experience in Europe deserving of a spot in the World Cup squad? The truth is that playing in Europe will more often than not give you a better chance of catching the attention of the national selectors. This has been more the rule than the exception over the years. However, coach Stephen Keshi has been bold enough in his three years in charge to give players from the domestic league a more decent run in his team so much so that the home-based players are no longer just mere ‘training materials’.” Outside of the Boot


The Dream Kickoff

May 28, 2014

“Before Brazil and Croatia play the first game of the 2014 World Cup on June 12, a paralyzed person will stand and walk on the pitch, then kick a ball. This is the story of the Brazilian neuroscientists who developed the mind-controlled exoskeleton that will make it possible.” Grantland


Soccer in Solitude

May 28, 2014

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“I’ve drunk too much coffee. I do this every time. It’s forty-five minutes to kickoff and I’ve got nothing to do with my hands, and so I drink another cup. I’ve got nowhere to put my body. I am not at a bar. I am certainly not at the stadium. I’m not even with my friends. I am sitting, and now standing, and now pacing, and now sitting again, in my apartment. It is a half-hour to kickoff. I am chewing the inside of my cheek. Fifteen minutes. I wish someone would bring me a beer. They’re playing the national anthems. Time to shut the window, set the phone to silent. Someone, somehow, please grant me some other passion. This one is wearing me out. Quiet, please. I am a soccer fan.” Roads and Kingdoms


Portrait Serial Winner Luis Suarez Soccer Most Beautiful Player

May 28, 2014

“BEFORE GETTING TO the alleged mob hit or the mystery of the missing referee, there should be an explanation about how this quest began. An assigned profile of Luis Suarez led to a stack of things to read about his past. Whether it was a tabloid calling him Cannibal! or The New York Times calling him Luis Alberto Suarez Diaz, the portrait is of a cheat and a lunatic. If someone breathes on him near the goal, he falls down like he’s been knifed. He has bitten an opponent. Twice. And, back in his childhood in Uruguay, there’s an oft-reported incident that serves as explanation, or maybe proof, that he is, in fact, batshit crazy. When Suarez was 15, overcome with anger, he headbutted a referee and received a red card in a youth match, making the man’s nose bleed ‘like a cow,’ as a witness said.” ESPN (Video)


The War on WAGs

May 28, 2014

“The biggest threat to the World Cup is not Brazilian protestors, FIFA greed, or shoddy infrastructure—it’s women, at least according to the English press The wives and girlfriends of the world’s elite soccer players are about to descend on Brazil, eyes asparkle with the unmistakable glint of women plotting to destroy something we menfolk hold dear. The tabloids of Great Britain will cover these ladies as though they’re the ones down on the field, losing for England. And the tabloids are on the right track, because the WAGs constitute a threat, not just to on-field performance but to the very survival of the game we love. Think about it: before the rise of WAG culture, was soccer beset by melodrama, vanity, copious materialism, TV money, egotism, financial bankruptcy, and exploitative labor practices? No.” Soccer Fusion