Unhinged Melody: Euro Soccer Fans Enliven Stadiums With Song

June 19, 2016

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“In a sporting sense, the European soccer championship is a gathering of tremendous talent, artful craftsmen and bubbling drama, a delicious recipe that produces one of the most remarkable events on the calendar. The extraordinary nature of the soccer, however, is surpassed only by the extraordinary nature of its soundtrack. For in a musical sense, the European Championship is a gathering of bizarrely discordant overtures, cheesy riffs, synthesizers and, quite often, rhymes that schoolchildren would struggle to comprehend. And yet it is somehow irresistible.” NY Times (Video)

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Euro 2016: How Teams Can Advance to the Next Round

June 16, 2016

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“The group stage of Euro 2016 is well underway: From Wednesday until Saturday, all 24 teams will complete their second of three games of group play. And the minute those games are over, many serious fans will start to do math – in their heads, on cocktail napkins or even on spreadsheets – to determine what their teams must do to ensure a place in the knockout stage of the competition. It can be complicated, particularly in this expanded 24-team tournament, where four third-place teams will advance, but we’re here to help you sort through it all. This page provides a big-picture overview in real time, and as soon as teams have completed their first two games – as the teams in Group A and Group B have – we’ll publish a detailed page just for those teams, showing you all the ways they can make the Round of 16.” NY Times


After winning Copa group, USA has chance to prove knockout chops

June 12, 2016

“Now a new Copa América begins for the United States. The U.S. has persevered through the group stage, shaking off an opening loss to Colombia and winning twice against Costa Rica and Paraguay to reach the knockout rounds of another major tournament, even winning the group with a late helping hand from Los Ticos.” SI (Video)

U.S. Advances to Copa América Quarterfinals After Surviving an Ejection
“The United States knew the Copa América math days before it took the field against Paraguay on Saturday. A win or a tie would mean advancement to the quarterfinals. A loss would mean elimination. It was the solution to that problem that was surprising: 10 men and one goal equaled a second life. Riding a first-half goal by Clint Dempsey and overcoming the second-half ejection of defender DeAndre Yedlin, the United States held off Paraguay, 1-0, to seal its place in the quarterfinals later this week. Instead of the Americans’ facing the ignominy of a first-round exit, it was the Paraguayans heading home.” NY Times


Euro 2016: England and Russia fans clash in third day of violence

June 12, 2016

“Two England supporters have been seriously injured in Marseille after violent clashes with rival fans in the hours leading up to England’s opening Euro 2016 group match against Russia. Police had to resuscitate one 51-year-old fan after he was repeatedly kicked in the head on Saturday, apparently by several Russian fans, leaving him unconscious. Witnesses claimed he had also been attacked with a small axe leaving his head bleeding ‘like a tap’, although the allegation could not be immediately verified.” Guardian (Video)

Russia and England Fans Clash Repeatedly at European Championships
“Fights broke out Saturday before and soon after Russia earned a 1-1 draw against England with a stoppage-time goal in a Group B match at the European Championships in Marseille, France. Fans of the two teams rioted before the game in Marseille’s Old Port district and briefly outside the nearby Stade Vélodrome in a third straight day of violence in the city. The police fired tear gas and water cannons at the fighting fans.” NY Times (Video)


Soccer Teams Raise the Curtain on the Live Show in Stadium Tunnels

June 12, 2016

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“There are cages. There are escalators. Sometimes there is claustrophobia. Usually there are children milling about, and in at least one instance, the whole setting (purposely) looks like a mine shaft. In most sports, the tunnel area leading from a stadium’s locker room to the field or court is a sacred space. The final few moments before top athletes head out to compete are, generally, a private preserve of calm introspection or frothy expectation, a sanctuary free from scrutiny where participants can engage in a final motivating message or a last, quiet confrontation with their nerves. Except in soccer.” NY Times


Copa América 2016: Who’s In, Who’s Hurt and Who Could Win It

June 4, 2016

“The Copa América Centenario, born in scandal and saved only by the promise of better behavior (and the presence of some pretty good soccer teams), kicks off Friday night when the United States faces Colombia in Santa Clara, Calif. The 16-team event is being played outside South America for the first time as a celebration of its 100th anniversary, and while a handful of top players have been left out or ruled out by injury, there is plenty left in the cupboard, including four of the eight quarterfinalists from the last World Cup. Here’s what you need to know before the tournament begins.” NY Times


Worth the Price of 92 Admissions: Entry Into a Stadium Fan Club

April 24, 2016

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“The list includes ramshackle old stadiums, scented and scarred with century-old reminders of English soccer’s storied past, but also the gleaming cathedrals that testify to the Premier League’s rich new present. The City Ground (Nottingham Forest) and the County Ground (Swindon Town). Elland Road and White Hart Lane, but also Villa Park and Craven Cottage. Turf Moor and Deepdale and Ashton Gate. And when the final whistle blows at Saturday’s match between Manchester City and Stoke City, Martin Weiler, a 61-year-old soccer fan with no affiliation to either team, will leave the Etihad Stadium having seen a match in every one of them. In doing so, he also will become eligible for membership in one of soccer’s most distinctive supporters groups: the 92 Club, a small and exclusive fellowship made up of individuals who have watched a competitive league or cup match at the stadium of each of the 92 clubs in England’s top four divisions, which includes some teams from Wales.” NY Times