How Manchester United could look in Louis van Gaal’s unorthodox 3-4-3 formation next season

July 24, 2014

WRaqncy
“According to The Daily Mail, Louis van Gaal intends on basing his new era at Manchester United around a 3-4-3 formation after finding success with it at the World Cup with the Netherlands, but should such a radical set-up worry or excite the fans at Old Trafford? The basic tenets of the Dutchman’s preferred way of playing, and how they could translate to his new job in the Premier League, has already been covered by Squawka in three parts, looking at how his tactical approach could affect how United’s defence, midfield and attack are deployed come August, albeit in the 4-3-3 system he has favoured throughout his career.” Squawka


I Say Futbol, You Say Soccer

July 24, 2014

“Why the U.S. and Mexico should bid to co-host the 2026 World Cup. The ties between the United States and Mexico make up one of the most important bilateral relationships in the world today, with profound implications for the prosperity, well-being, and security of the people of both nations. Some in Mexico and the U.S. may not enjoy reading this, but there is one inescapable truth, one that has developed over time since the early 1990s and accelerated in the decade after NAFTA’s approval, and that could fundamentally alter the nature of our relationship and have a profound impact for North America and, dare I say, for the global community as well: Mexico and the United States are converging, as societies and as economies.” Fusion


Barça sign “230-year-old” defender in potentially disastrous deal

July 24, 2014

“FourFourTwo’s Spanish football expert Tim Stannard assesses Barcelona’s big summer signing… And there you have it. A fine lesson in being very careful what you wish for. Barcelona had not signed a centre-back for five years, but the Catalan club went and ended that dry spell on Wednesday by bringing in Valencia international Jeremy Mathieu. Of course, La Liga Loca is being a tad literal with the term ‘international’. The ginger stopper has turned out twice for his country, probably back in the last century, so old is the doddery Mathieu.” FourFourTwo


Football in Brazil

July 24, 2014

PortoSeguro-Brazil
A Brazilian man plays football in Porto Seguro
Wikipedia – “Football is the most popular sport in Brazil. The Brazilian national football team has won the FIFA World Cup tournament a record five times, in 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 and 2002, and is the only team to succeed in qualifying for every World Cup competition ever held. It is among the favorites to win the trophy every time the competition is scheduled. After Brazil won its 3rd World Cup in 1970, they were awarded the Jules Rimet Trophy permanently. But 365 days before World Cup 2014 begins, Brazil’s rank dropped to 22nd, an all-time-low position. … The governing body of football in Brazil is the Brazilian Football Confederation. Brazil is currently hosting the 2014 FIFA World Cup, in which they were knocked out by Germany in the semi-final with a humiliating 1-7 defeat.Wikipedia

Futebol Nation: The Story of Brazil through Soccer – David Goldblatt
“No nation is as closely identified with the game of soccer as Brazil. For over a century, Brazil’s people, politicians, and poets have found in soccer the finest expression of the nation’s collective potential. Since the team’s dazzling performance in 1938 at the World Cup in France, Brazilian soccer has been revered as an otherworldly blend of the effective and the aesthetic. Futebol Nation is an extraordinary chronicle of a nation that has won the World Cup five times and produced players of miraculous skill, such as Pelé, Garrincha, Rivaldo, Zico, Ronaldo, and Ronaldinho. It shows why the phrase O Jogo Bonito—the Beautiful Game—has justly entered the global lexicon. Yet there is another side to Brazil and its game, one that reflects the harsh sociological realities of the ‘futebol nation.’ David Goldblatt explores the grinding poverty that creates a vast pool of hungry players, Brazil’s corrupt institutions exemplified by its soccer authorities, and the pervasive violence that has seeped onto the field and into the stands.” amazon

The Country of Football.
Politics, Popular Culture, and the Beautiful Game in Brazil – Edited by Paulo Fontes and Bernardo Buarque de Hollanda
“Brazil has done much to shape football, but how has football shaped Brazil? Despite the political and social importance of the beautiful game to the country, the subject has hitherto received little attention. This book presents groundbreaking work by historians and researchers from Brazil, the United States, Britain and France, who examine the political significance, in the broadest sense, of the sport in which Brazil has long been a world leader. The authors consider questions such as the relationship between football, the workplace and working class culture; the formation of Brazilian national identity; race relations; political and social movements; and the impact of the sport on social mobility.” Hurst Pulishers

The Country of Football: Soccer and the Making of Modern Brazil – Roger Kittleson
“Soccer is the world’s most popular sport, and the Brazilian national team is beloved around the planet for its beautiful playing style, the jogo bonito. With the most successful national soccer team in the history of the World Cup, Brazil is the only country to have played in every competition and the winner of more championships than any other nation. Soccer is perceived, like carnival and samba, to be quintessentially Brazilian and Afro-Brazilian. Yet the practice and history of soccer are also synonymous with conflict and contradiction as Brazil continues its trajectory toward modernity and economic power.” amazon


The Enigmatic Case of Mario Götze

July 24, 2014

“It was a scene and dialogue which could have been scripted in Hollywood. The underachieving golden boy with the silver-screen looks gets the terse and pithy motivational speech from the embattled veteran coach needing just one more big moment to complete a widely unexpected legacy-rehabilitating championship run. ‘Prove that you are better than Messi. You can decide the match today.’ And with those words of encouragement, Joachim Löw sent Mario Götze into the overtime period of the World Cup final and toward his destiny, which was to plaster his name among those of Helmut Rahn, Gerd Müller, and Andreas Brehme, as men who provided the title-clinching goal to bring a world championship to Germany. You won’t find many 22-year-old footballers with a resume as accomplished as that of Götze.” Bundesliga Fanatic


Russia 2018: Major challenges for next World Cup hosts

July 24, 2014

“After what was largely considered to be a successful World Cup in Brazil, international attention now turns to the next hosts, Russia. Whether current political tensions between Russia and the West will have any bearing on the staging of the tournament remains to be seen. What does seem assured is that the 2018 World Cup is set to top Brazil 2014 as the most expensive in history, with Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko saying the budget for the tournament could total $40bn, having earlier estimated it at $19bn. The estimated cost of the stadiums alone in Brazil, in comparison, was in the region of $4bn.” BBC