Uruguay: World Champions

October 30, 2013

“The Uruguay national football team has undoubtedly had a rough year. After a promising start to qualifying for the next World Cup, a run of negative results put the team’s chances in jeopardy. Uruguay ultimately advanced to a two-game playoff against Jordan for a spot in Brazil in 2014. Their 5th place finish in CONMEBOL qualification derived from a paltry 2-1-5 away record, including a 4-1 loss to lowly Bolivia, and an additional 3 home draws to weaker opposition such as Paraguay and Venezuela. Finishing below a talented Colombia team and a young upstart Chile was somewhat disappointing, but losing the last automatic qualification spot to Ecuador was shocking after Uruguay finished in 4th place in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.” Soccer Politics

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Qatar 2022 could be FIFA’s biggest mistake ever

October 9, 2013

“Growing up around an Egyptian father–absolutely obsessed with football–there were certain truths that I had to accept and never question: 1. Pele is the greatest soccer player of all time, and any Argentinian fan who disagrees is blinded by bias. 2. Never trust a fan of the Algerian national team. 3. Never be optimistic about the English national team. 4. Never trust FIFA because it is the most corrupt governing institution in the world. With the 2022 World Cup eight short years away, FIFA President, Sepp Blatter, arguably the most nefarious man in sports, has dug himself into an inescapable hole by picking Qatar to host the world’s largest sporting spectacle.” Soccer Politics


EA Sports FIFA, US, and The Global Game

October 6, 2013

“In the United States, Saturdays and Sunday are reserved for one thing: football. Across the country, people neglect their chores, homework, jobs, and responsibilities to flock to sports bars, friend’s couches, and the biggest TV they can find to in order to watch college and professional football. Recently, however, American sports fans have been putting aside one kind of football in favor of another. American soccer, or football, as it’s known to the rest of the world, has seen a seismic shift in popularity during the last several years. According to Rich Luker, the brains behind the ESPN Sports Poll, soccer is America’s second most popular sport for those aged 18-24. How? What could be the source of this newfound fanfare? Perhaps it’s the increasingly global reach by the world’s most popular clubs? Soccer Politics


Rodgers and Liverpool have the cyclic nature of football on their side

September 29, 2013

“Great sides come and go. Clubs rise to greatness and fall back into the pack like the monthly tides, with the exceptions able to be counted on one hand. Teams like Ajax come to mind, who in the mid-seventies rose to the forefront of Europe under the brilliance of Johan Cruyff only to fade from glory on the European stage for some twenty years after. For manager Brenden Rodgers and Liverpool Football Club, however, the time has never been riper to wrestle back control of the Premier League from their rivals at Manchester United.” Soccer Politics


Qatari Foundations

September 1, 2013

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“A spectre is haunting European football – the spectre of Qatar. No holy alliance has emerged to respond to this rising power; indeed, it has been embraced by both established luminaries (Barcelona, Zidane) and by (hopeful) rising stars, such as the Paris Saint-Germain football club and now, in Belgium, Eupen. Qatar is already acknowledged by European football powers to be itself a power in their midst.” Soccer Politics


Invisible Men? Racism in Honduran Soccer

August 6, 2013

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“… In the United States we hear a lot about racism in soccer, but it is always in the context of events in Europe. Most people who follow the sport know about the John Terry-Anton Ferdinand affair, for which Terry was stripped of the England captaincy. And many are familiar with the more recent cases involving fans making monkey sounds at Kevin Prince Boateng and Mario Balotelli. Even when a Latin American player is involved–such as in the Luis Suárez-Patrice Evra incident–the question of whether or not something qualifies as racism is interpreted through a European (not to mention a U.S.) lens.” Soccer Politics


Incitement

June 27, 2013

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“‘Tear gas is a magic potion,’ writes Chris Gaffney from the streets of Rio. ‘Those who launch it are weakened while those forced to inhale it are strengthened.’ For those of you interested in the politics of football in Brazil, his blog – as well as his excellent book on Stadia in Argentina and Brazil – is a key place to go to understand the ways in which preparations for the 2014 World Cup have served as a trigger for what may become a major political and social movement in Brazil. As is often the case, the state’s response to what were initially small protests has energized a movement that is tapping into a powerful vein of dissatisfaction in the country.” Soccer Politics

Can Brazil protests can be traced back to a 2003 Fifa decision?
“Of all the unimportant things in life, as the wise old saying puts it, football is the most important. Which means, wonderful as it is, that the global game comes below education, health and public transport in any rational list of governmental priorities. It is the poor standard of these public services which has brought millions of Brazilian people onto the streets. No-one saw this protest movement coming and no-one knows where it will end. Most agree that the complaints are justified.” BBC – Tim Vickery