A Dark Horse Is Adjusting to Rising Expectations

“It was always the neighboring Dutch who painted their houses orange for the World Cup, drove orange cars and wore orange outfits until everything and everyone in the Netherlands was the color of a traffic cone. Belgium, meanwhile, could only wonder when its Red Devils would give fans another chance to carry plastic pitchforks around in foreign lands with yummy drinks and sandy beaches. Sure, Belgium reached the semifinals in 1986, but since then, its most notable achievement might have come at the 1994 World Cup in the United States, when players wore hair gel that also acted as a coolant and sunscreen.” NY Times

Algeria’s Chance for Revenge
“I had been thinking of 1982 World Cup even before the tournament began. Socrates had been on my mind. I wanted to write an essay about him, but couldn’t come up with anything that hadn’t been said many times before. I worshipped him as a player and respected him as a man. I hated the Italy team that defeated Brazil, thought them too cynical for some reason, but not as much as I hated the West German team. I hated them before the tournament that year and loathed them after that scandalous game against Austria. All I had to do was see Rummenigge on the small screen and I’d feel the blood in my face boil, steam whistling out of my ears, and imaginative curses in at least three languages escaping my lips.” New Republic

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