A Tiny Club’s Uneasy Rise

“This month, Toni Kroos and Lionel Messi played in the World Cup final in front of nearly 75,000 people at Rio de Janeiro’s Estádio do Maracanã. Soon, however, these star players will discover the challenge of playing at Ipurúa, a hillside stadium with 5,250 seats that is home to Eibar, the new kid on the block in Spanish soccer. Tiny Eibar has needed more than just victories to join La Liga, Spain’s top division, and earn the right to challenge Kroos and his Real Madrid teammates or Messi and his fellow Barcelona players. After winning promotion in late May from the second division, Eibar faced a race against the clock to raise 1.72 million euros, or $2.32 million, and meet regulations on how much capital a top-division club should have.” NY Times


Hack to the future for Brazil

“It remains to be seen whether Brazil’s new coach Dunga, a vocal critic of the possession game in the past, has learned anything from Spain and Germany’s eight-year domination of international football. During an appearance on The World Cup Show, as events in Brazil unfolded before our eyes, Les Murray, Craig Foster and I tried to dissect what had gone wrong with the football played by the host. We did not limit ourselves to the 7-1 thrashing by Germany in the semi final. We commented that even while the Brazil team was winning games it was losing friends. I told the story of the Copa America final, seven years earlier in Venezuela. Brazil caused a surprise by beating Argentina 3-0.” The World Game – Tim Vickery (Video)

Gerrard’s exit could bring change

“Steven Gerrard’s decision to retire from international football, announced on Monday, brought the England national team back into the consciousness of the media and public. Until now, it seemed that everyone had decided to overlook the disappointing World Cup experience altogether — there had been no outcry and no great fervent discussion about what went wrong in Brazil, where Roy Hodgson’s side claimed one point from three games.” ESPN – Michael Cox