How Japan’s five substitutes and switch to a back five stunned Germany


“It’s been an eventful couple of days in the World Cup, to the extent that this isn’t even the most notable example so far of an Asian side turning a 1-0 half-time deficit against a strong favourite into a famous 2-1 victory. But in a purely tactical sense, Japan’s win over Germany was the most fascinating contest of the World Cup so far, a classic game of two halves. Germany ran riot in the opening 45 minutes, prompting Japan to dramatically change their shape at the interval before launching their astonishing comeback. …”
The Athletic
Guardian: Germany’s protest will reverberate down the years and generations
NY Times: Germany Protests FIFA Decision That Blocked Rainbow Armbands
The Athletic: Germany chose to be an ally and take on FIFA. It was a powerful, meaningful gesture

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Peek Inside a $200-a-Night ‘Room’ at the World Cup in Qatar


“DOHA, Qatar — After Sheng Xie, a 33-year-old soccer fan from Vancouver, booked his flight to the World Cup, he went searching for accommodations. Using the official tournament website, he quickly settled on a relatively affordable place called Fan Village. The room pictured looked functional and clean. There were two twin beds, Wi-Fi, air conditioning and a refrigerator, all for about $200 a night. He did not realize it was, essentially, inside a shipping container. …”
NY Times

Belgium 1-0 Canada: Two Golden Generations Enter, One (Kind of) Emerges

“We’ve been hearing about Belgium’s golden generation for going on two generations. Much of the world is just learning about what might be Canada’s. … The first 15 minutes – and much of the first half – belonged to Canada, amassing 1.43 xG in that opening spell alone. That’s more than Belgium conceded combined in all eight of the first halves in their qualifying matches (1.42), but Canada weren’t able to convert with Alphonso Davies’s 10th-minute penalty saved by Thibaut Courtois. It was the first on record saved at a World Cup by a Belgian keeper. …”
The Analyst
Guardian: Belgium run ragged by Canada but Michy Batshuayi strikes to grab victory

The Last Authoritarian World Cup


Adrien Rabiot of France scores their team’s first goal during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group D match between France and Australia at Al Janoub Stadium on November 22, 2022 in Al Wakrah, Qatar.
“In 1986, the International Olympic Committee voted to split the Winter and Summer Olympics so they would alternate every two years instead of occurring together every four years. The new tradition began in 1994 with the Lillehammer Winter Olympics, site of the infamous showdown between figure skaters Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding. The IOC initiated the split schedule in part to bring greater attention to the winter events, and while this move did bring them out from the shadow of the more popular summer games, it also locked the Winter Olympics into permanent competition with an even bigger quadrennial athletic spectacle: the World Cup. …”
The Bulwark

Moroccan fans bring alive dry draw against Croatia

Al Khor, Qatar: They’ll ‘take it’. Morocco and Croatia drew 0-0 at Al Bayt Stadium in what was a rather uneventful game, aside from the boisterous enthusiasm of supporters of the Atlas Lions, as the Moroccan side is known. While many Moroccan fans were hoping for an upset against the finalists of the 2018 World Cup, a draw sets their team up for a possible pathway to advance beyond the group stage of the World Cup — and its supporters know it. …”
Aljazeera