World Cup 2014 best XI

July 25, 2014

a48e27a87ef_boateng
“… Jerome Boateng, Germany.  Perhaps a controversial choice – Philipp Lahm is widely regarded as the best right-back of his generation, and captained Germany to victory. But Lahm spent the first couple of games in the centre of midfield, and didn’t play particularly well, making careless mistakes against both Portugal and Ghana. Had he played the entire tournament at right-back – a move which made Germany a better side – he’d be a shoo-in. Boateng, however, played well throughout the group stage at right-back – in the game against USA, for example, he was the man who led the attacking with some dangerous bursts and good crosses.” Zonal Marking


What is Americans’ Favorite Global Cuisine?

July 25, 2014

“During the World Cup, we wondered how the countries would fare if it wasn’t their soccer teams but their national cuisines playing for glory. So we launched the FiveThirtyEight International Food Association’s (FIFA) 2014 World Cup. The group phase of the competition identified a few front-runners. Some, such as Italy, are also good at soccer. (The Italians might have done better in the soccer World Cup, but Uruguay’s Luis Suarez, apparently confused about which tournament he was playing in, decided to take a bite out of one of them). Others countries, like Mexico, will have a chance to avenge their soccer disappointments. We also introduced a few ringers, such as China, that didn’t qualify for the soccer World Cup but that belong in any discussion of the world’s best cuisines.” fivethirtyeight


The Most Insufferable Fans in the Whole Wide World

July 25, 2014

“How the contemporary Arsenal supporter has become whiny and morally high-handed. This coming Saturday, Arsenal will play their first match on American soil in twenty-five years as they take on the New York Red Bulls to kick off their pre-season preparation. This represents a wonderful and rare opportunity for US-based Gunners fans to cheer their team on in the flesh, and also an opportunity for the rest of us to test our patience in coping with the arrogance of the modern Arsenal fan.” Fusion


Miroslav Klose: the last poacher?

July 25, 2014

“Ordinarily, a striker surpassing the all-time World Cup goalscoring record would be the major story of the day, but Miroslav Klose’s 16th goal came in Germany’s historic 7-1 thrashing of Brazil – so it was nothing more than a subplot. The man he surpassed, Ronaldo – who has since turned to a different sport as a PokerStars pro – was in the stadium to see his record defeated. There’s no question that Ronaldo was a far superior all-round footballer, but few strikers in history have shared Klose’s ability as a goalpoacher. There has been some snobbery towards Klose gaining this record, as if such a simple striker shouldn’t be entitled to such a status…but then that’s the very point of Klose. He doesn’t do anything apart from score – his link-up play is average, he’s never been particularly quick, he’s not very tall. He’s simply excellent at positioning himself, and finishing calmly.” Zonal Marking (Video)


Is Jérémy Mathieu an upgrade on Barcelona’s existing central defensive options?

July 25, 2014

Bartra-Stats-Barcelona-e1406204526859
“A major focus of Barcelona’s weakness last season was on their defensive side of the game. Though they landed up challenging Atletico right up till the last day of the season, their campaign was riddled with a string of sub-par performances and disappointing results. They stuck to their beliefs in their general approach, but the attack didn’t cover up the problems in defence quite well enough. With club legend, Carles Puyol, also having left once the season was done, Luis Enrique’s priorities turned to improving the defence.” Outside of the Boot


How Dunga Reflects Brazil

July 25, 2014

“Why a previous coaching failure is back to lead his country out of its current crisis. His hair is the color of tarnished steel, brushed into an aggressive flattop. There’s that chilling, perpetually angry gaze, the tightly clenched jaw. A single tense vein throbs furiously in his temple. I’ll be back, he might have growled in that dull metallic voice, all those years ago, and now here he is. But whereas the original Terminator had the relatively simple task of destroying humankind, Carlos Caetano Bledorn Verribut, better known as Dunga, faces a considerably more daunting challenge – how to restore dignity to the most storied soccer nation in the world after an especially harrowing public humiliation.” Fusion


Why Conte, Why?

July 25, 2014

“There was no warning. Like a stone thrown into a pond, the news shattered the serene peace of Turin’s grand Old Lady. Even in an age of twenty-four hour news coverage, Antonio Conte’s resignation as Juventus manager arrived like a lightning strike, the first whispers leaking less than fifteen minutes before the club confirmed the 44-year-old had quit. Later, a recorded interview from Conte, a former Juventus captain, confirmed his own departure, and an open letter from Juventus President Andrea Agnelli attempted to console ailing supporters, thanking Conte for the ‘three years in which we rewrote this club’s history’ and noting that the news had ‘saddened him greatly.’ Supporters felt exactly the same way, deeply shocked that the man responsible for transforming La Madama back into a serial winner was gone.” 8by8