The Radar – The Athletic’s 2022 World Cup scouting guide


“Welcome to The Radar — the World Cup edition. Last year, for Euro 2020, we profiled 60 players that people were talking about — or would be by the end of the competition. Thirty-four of those players have since moved club. More teams means more players, so for the World Cup we’ve upped that to 100. The result is below, a carefully crafted guide to some of the best footballers on show in Qatar listed alphabetically by country — the heavyweight names, the rising stars and the under-the-radar players who could be coming to an elite club near you. …”
The Athletic

Advertisement

Lionel Messi, Here & Gone

“In the imagination of guidebook writers, who see places as they should be but rarely as they are, there is a passionate love affair between the city of Rosario and its famous progeny, global soccer star Leo Messi. … He’d agreed to help me act on my obsession with Messi, who is one of the world’s most famous athletes, and most unknowable, the combination of which sucked me in. I’d been reading everything I could find, watching internet videos of him scoring one ridiculous goal after another for Barcelona. …”
ESPN

Why Qatar is a controversial host for the World Cup

“The selection of Qatar to host this year’s FIFA World Cup brought cheers to the streets of Doha in a celebration of the first edition of the tournament to be held in the Arab world. But the choice, made in 2010, also sparked instant criticism – over the logistics of holding a sporting event in a country where summertime temperatures regularly top 100 degrees; over allegations of bribery and corruption among FIFA officials who voted for Qatar; and over concerns about human rights abuses that have persisted in the years since. Now, with the World Cup days away, the Gulf country is expecting the arrival of more than a million fans. And billions more will tune in to watch the tournament’s 64 games. Yet the controversies have not subsided. …”
NPR
Vox: The many, many controversies surrounding the 2022 World Cup, explained

World Cup TV preview: Fox’s plans, crew assignments and a big viewership hope


“We watch because of Alphonso Davies, Kylian Mbappe and the rest of the planet’s magicians. The World Cup is a beautiful amalgamation of the best of sport, a global gathering of artistry and athletic hope. It’s also a moral quagmire, and no more so than this year’s tournament in Qatar. When Sepp Blatter, the former FIFA president and a high priest of oleaginous behavior, questions the location of a World Cup, we’re all deep in the muck. …”
The Athletic

How Europe Decides Who Wins the World Cup

“SÃO PAULO, Brazil — Once a week, the boys from the Palmeiras youth academy climb aboard a bus and prepare for their regular visit to the past. These are the fledgling stars of Brazilian soccer: the best and brightest prospects from the most prolific youth system in the world’s greatest hothouse of talent. From their pristine campus in Guarulhos, on the outer edges of São Paulo’s suburban sprawl, the boys slowly make their way through the grinding traffic and head into the tight, winding streets of Heliópolis, the biggest favela in Brazil, or one of the dozens of other informal communities that house millions of the city’s poorest inhabitants. …”
NY Times

From Kudus to Gavi: eight players ready to break through at World Cup Federico Valverde, Gavi, and Rafael Leão.

“We pick the young stars well placed to shine in Qatar, ranging from Milan’s Rafael Leão to Real Sociedad’s Takefusa Kubo. … Rafael Leão (Portugal). A product of the Sporting academy, the attacker has become one of the most feared forwards in Serie A, helping Milan to their first title in 11 years last season and gaining a place in the league’s team of the year. In addition to height, the 23-year-old possesses plenty of pace and is often utilised on the flanks by Stefano Pioli. Leão is as adept at creating as he is scoring, making him a threat whether out wide or down the middle. …”
Guardian