World Cup retrospective

July 17, 2014

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“Well that was fun, wasn’t it? Previous World Cups have kind of come and gone from my consciousness: I was 8 for Italia ’90 and have very little recollection of it at all; I remember snatches from USA ’94, largely a grudging admiration for Taffarel; France ’98, a blur of blue and enormous jealousy that my sister was in Paris on a French exchange for the final; Japan and South Korea ’02, drunkenly going to first year university exams having watched games that started at 7, and manically cheering Senegal as my sweepstake team, especially after that win; and Germany ’10, revelling in that Spanish team. But, having started to write about football and, more importantly in many ways, become part of a community who talk and think about football, this is the first World Cup where I’ve really inhaled it, really been carried by the highs and lows of such a glorious celebration of football. So I thought I’d do a quick look-back. A good place to start would be the piece I did in The Football Pink: Issue 4 – The World Cup Edition, which was a group-by-group preview. And boy did I get some things wrong.” Put Niels In Goal

amazon: The Football Pink: Issue 4 – The World Cup Edition [Kindle Edition] $1.50, amazon: £0.97


World Cup 2014: BBC pundits pick their best moments in Brazil

July 17, 2014

“After 32 days, 64 games and 171 goals, there was only one winner. Germany are the new world champions after grabbing the glory at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The tournament will be remembered for its exciting games and spectacular goals but also some of the biggest shocks of recent times, with the hosts Brazil and defending champions Spain both suffering humiliating defeats. England, meanwhile, only lasted eight days and two games before being eliminated. BBC Sport’s TV and radio football presenters and pundits look back on the action and choose their best goal, best player and most memorable moment of the tournament, before considering how far away England are from being contenders.” BBC


Brazil’s national team, club woes are rooted in complex, long-term issues

July 17, 2014

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“Now that the dust has settled and the visiting fans and teams have packed up and gone home – their suitcases filled with for the most part happy memories – it is time to look back and reflect. And, most importantly, it’s for Brazilian soccer to ask the question with the complex answer: What went wrong? It is perhaps fitting that in this country blessed with such abundant gifts but cursed with a luckless history – colonization and slavery bleeding into a 21-year military dictatorship and now this modern Brazil, where a stable democracy is tainted by an often grubby and corrupt governing class – that the team left with the most regrets after this kaleidoscopic tournament is the host nation. Like the high school student with no date to the prom, Brazil was left looking sadly on from the porch as Germany and Argentina donned their best tuxes, climbed into the limo, and drove off into the night.” SI


2014 FIFA World Cup Awards: Best Player, Best Young Player, Best XI and many more

July 17, 2014

“With the World Cup drawn to a close, many are left disappointed while others celebrate their achievements. Germany won the World Cup, but many other individuals & teams left admirers in their wake. While FIFA gave out it’s individual honours with Messi the choice for Golden Ball particularly bewildering football enthusiasts. We at Outside of the Boot thought long & hard before deciding our choices which might just be a bit more fair & rational than FIFA’s choices! There are some surprises, and also occasions where the hipsters may not be pleased. Nevertheless, here are the best performers at the World Cup divided into Primary Awards, Talent Radar Awards and Secondary Awards.” Outside of the Boot


Die Größte Show Der Welt

July 17, 2014

“It’s staring at me, that wallchart. It’s a little bit frayed and crumpled now since the move back from Greece and after finding its way around Jesse’s sticky fingers and teething gums. Since Sunday, I haven’t been able to summon the requisite will to complete the final vacant space. The one that states that Germany beat Argentina, one-nil, AET. It’s the finality that daunts me; the knowledge that once complete it becomes a historical artefact, no more a tantalising map of an unknown future. All those games, all those goals, all those hours. Gone forever.” Dispatches From A Football Sofa


The Ninjas in Brazil

July 17, 2014

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“‘Stop. Stop. Stop, stop, stop,’ Caio says. He’s seen something. We’re on a side street in Rio de Janeiro — within walking distance of Maracanã Stadium, where Argentina is taking on Bosnia-Herzegovina in the first World Cup game the city is hosting — and a protest that had been marching on, compact and peaceful for the past hour, has just splintered. The packs of Rio police officers, who had been treading silently and steadily alongside the banner-waving protesters, suddenly formed a cordon. The tear gas quickly followed, sending the protesters helter-skelter. Now I follow Caio, a member of the independent media collective Mídia Ninja, a veteran of this kind of thing, out of the scrum. ‘It’s dangerous what they decide to do,” he says of the protesters. “The street is very small. There is no strategy.’” Grantland


Writing the World Cup

July 17, 2014

“There’s nothing like a World Cup to nail down some narratives, and flip the finished product through the other door at a substantial mark-up (marketed, of course, as self-evident truths). Man vs. machine, Messi vs. Maradona, pragmatism vs. idealism. Let’s kill ‘em all.” blogistuta


The Ball

July 17, 2014

“Omar Larossa played over 400 times for Boca and Argentinos Juniors, Huracan and Independiente, winning four domestic titles and the 1978 FIFA World Cup.  Now, flanked by Boca and national team luminaries Alfredo Rojas, Silvio Marzolini and Antonio Rattin on a low stage inside La Bombonera, he begins to explain how it felt to lift the trophy to his lips. “I wish I could tell you, to put into words, but whenever I think of that moment…”  His voice wobbles, tears begin to well.  Unprompted, a Special Olympics athlete – one of 35 young players Boca provide free weekly training sessions for – moves out of the crowd to give the world champion a hug.  “It’s ok,” he says as the two remain interlocked, the rest of the room silent. “Thank you,” Larossa replies. “Thank you.”In Bed With Maradona