A central defensive decline?

June 6, 2014

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Thiago Silva
“Major international tournaments are generally underwhelming in terms of attacking football, with managers preferring to play cautiously, keep it tight at the back and then spring quick counter-attacks. This approach, which we can expect at the 2014 World Cup, has delivered more cautious, subtle defending — to the point where some may question where all the highlight-reel worthy tackles among centre-backs have gone.” ESPN – Michael Cox

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How a New York bar brought boots and pints to North America.

June 6, 2014

“Jack Keane is recalling the days when he’d be threatened with physical violence for televising football in New York City. How dare you show that shit? shouted an instigator, some drunk East Village punk who was offended at the sight of the game. Don’t you know where you fucking are? ‘He grabbed me by the collar over the bar,’ Keane remembers. ‘He didn’t like me much, I’ll tell you that.’ This was the mid-’90s, when Manhattan’s East Village still had an extra layer of Giuliani-era grit to it and Nevada Smiths, the bar on Third Avenue that Keane ran, was the only place in town showing European football. ‘It was a completely different neighborhood,’ he says. ‘Filled with fucking crazy people. Cars being broken into, drug deals on the streets. It was a different era.’” 8 of 8


From bullet holes to Brazil: Edin Dzeko writes a new chapter for Bosnia

June 6, 2014

“It’s the question Edin Dzeko is constantly asked. ‘You ask me again about war…’ sighs the 28-year-old, rolling his eyes and smiling as he enjoys a rare moment of peace outside Bosnia-Herzegovina’s team hotel in the picturesque suburb of Ilidza. Perhaps the line of questioning is understandable given that just a short drive away is Dzeko’s home city of Sarajevo, where the national hero lived throughout the Bosnian War which raged between 1992 and 1995.” CNN


World Cup Heores | Oliver Kahn: leader of men, goalkeeper extraordinaire and World Cup Legend

June 6, 2014

“What is a legend? Does winning define a legend? Building on the above questions, what would an individual’s first thoughts be when he thinks about a World Cup Legend? The first images that flash by the mind are those depicting the player raising the illustrious WC Trophy in his hands. Obvious logic takes over when categorizing a player as a World Cup legend, he has to have won a World Cup trophy. History however has shown the world exemplary examples of individuals standing up and being greater than life.” Outside of the Boot


Croatia, a Work in Progress

June 6, 2014

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Darijo Srna, Croatia
“Next Thursday, Croatia has the privilege of playing the World Cup’s opening match against Brazil, the host nation. The Eastern European country gets to take on a team that has won the World Cup a record five times—and is this year’s favorite—before nearly 70,000 people in São Paulo’s brand new Itaquerao stadium. The game is the first World Cup match to take place in Brazil since 1950, when the country last hosted the event. Brazil was the favorite that year, too, but it lost in the final in a shocking upset to Uruguay—and the country has never forgotten it.” The Paris Review


Fandom – it’s bigger than football

June 6, 2014

“Ten years ago the England football team played a friendly in Portugal. Afterwards I shared a taxi with some England fans. We chatted about the game. Then one of them asked: ‘What was the score, then?’ This man must have spent hundreds of pounds coming to Portugal to see the match. It begged the question: why are people football fans? Why will the coming World Cup be the biggest media event in history, measured by the numbers of TV viewers and clicks on websites? Football seems to give people something they can’t get elsewhere.” FT – Simon Kuper


Will the Dragons roar at their first World Cup?

June 6, 2014

“There’s always something of a novelty about a new nation qualifying for the World Cup. This time, the sole debutants are Bosnia-Herzegovina, who reached the Promised Land by topping Group G in UEFA Qualifying, ahead of Greece on goal difference. Bosnia, who have only been a member of FIFA since 1996, topped their group and thus avoided the dreaded play-offs, where they were narrowly defeated by Portugal prior to the last tournament in South Africa. For a small country with a population of under four million, it is a colossal achievement, especially considering that, twenty years ago, the nation was embroiled in a long, bloody civil war, with its roots deeply entrenched in complex ethnic divides.” backpagefootball