Howler #5 | World Cup edition | Summer 2014

August 3, 2014

“The World Cup issue, filled with everything you could possibly want to know about the tournament. A 36-page timeline of its history. Bin Laden’s plot to blow up France ’98. Ashley Cole, Philipp Lahm, Tim Howard, and Carles Puyol on how to stop Cristiano Ronaldo. Profiles of Aron Johannsson, Graham Zusi, and Matt Besler. Eight reasons we’re optimistic for the U.S. national team. The official songs and films of the Cup. So much more. $15. Howler #5

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Vanishing foam

August 1, 2014

“Vanishing foam is a substance applied to an athletic field in order to provide a temporary visual marker. Its use in association football is not regulated by the Laws of the Game, authorisation being in the hands of the governing body of a match, league, or tournament. In association football, referees use the foam to enforce the rules as to the minimum distance that members of the opposing team must remain from the ball during a free kick, as well as the spot from which the kick is taken. …” Wikipedia


World Cup 2014 best XI

July 25, 2014

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“… Jerome Boateng, Germany.  Perhaps a controversial choice – Philipp Lahm is widely regarded as the best right-back of his generation, and captained Germany to victory. But Lahm spent the first couple of games in the centre of midfield, and didn’t play particularly well, making careless mistakes against both Portugal and Ghana. Had he played the entire tournament at right-back – a move which made Germany a better side – he’d be a shoo-in. Boateng, however, played well throughout the group stage at right-back – in the game against USA, for example, he was the man who led the attacking with some dangerous bursts and good crosses.” Zonal Marking


What is Americans’ Favorite Global Cuisine?

July 25, 2014

“During the World Cup, we wondered how the countries would fare if it wasn’t their soccer teams but their national cuisines playing for glory. So we launched the FiveThirtyEight International Food Association’s (FIFA) 2014 World Cup. The group phase of the competition identified a few front-runners. Some, such as Italy, are also good at soccer. (The Italians might have done better in the soccer World Cup, but Uruguay’s Luis Suarez, apparently confused about which tournament he was playing in, decided to take a bite out of one of them). Others countries, like Mexico, will have a chance to avenge their soccer disappointments. We also introduced a few ringers, such as China, that didn’t qualify for the soccer World Cup but that belong in any discussion of the world’s best cuisines.” fivethirtyeight


Miroslav Klose: the last poacher?

July 25, 2014

“Ordinarily, a striker surpassing the all-time World Cup goalscoring record would be the major story of the day, but Miroslav Klose’s 16th goal came in Germany’s historic 7-1 thrashing of Brazil – so it was nothing more than a subplot. The man he surpassed, Ronaldo – who has since turned to a different sport as a PokerStars pro – was in the stadium to see his record defeated. There’s no question that Ronaldo was a far superior all-round footballer, but few strikers in history have shared Klose’s ability as a goalpoacher. There has been some snobbery towards Klose gaining this record, as if such a simple striker shouldn’t be entitled to such a status…but then that’s the very point of Klose. He doesn’t do anything apart from score – his link-up play is average, he’s never been particularly quick, he’s not very tall. He’s simply excellent at positioning himself, and finishing calmly.” Zonal Marking (Video)


How Dunga Reflects Brazil

July 25, 2014

“Why a previous coaching failure is back to lead his country out of its current crisis. His hair is the color of tarnished steel, brushed into an aggressive flattop. There’s that chilling, perpetually angry gaze, the tightly clenched jaw. A single tense vein throbs furiously in his temple. I’ll be back, he might have growled in that dull metallic voice, all those years ago, and now here he is. But whereas the original Terminator had the relatively simple task of destroying humankind, Carlos Caetano Bledorn Verribut, better known as Dunga, faces a considerably more daunting challenge – how to restore dignity to the most storied soccer nation in the world after an especially harrowing public humiliation.” Fusion


The Post-Mortem: World Cup 2014 – Colombia

July 22, 2014

“Brazil 2014 was Colombia’s best ever World Cup for several reasons. For the first time the team reached the quarterfinals of the tournament and, in doing so, delighted fans both at home and abroad with their exciting brand of football, their skill and their talent. Not only did Colombia have the top goal scorer, James Rodríguez, they also won the Fair Play award. When things became difficult, the Colombians picked themselves up and rose to the occasion. They went out fighting and without relinquishing their style of play. It was a most fantastic time for Colombian football. The doubts that had crept-in over the previous months were quickly washed away by the dazzling pace of the Colombian attack, the team’s confidence and its prolific goal-scoring. Memories of the tournament will endure for decades in the Colombian mindset.” Just Football

The Post-Mortem: World Cup 2014 – Ghana
“An impressive 2-2 draw with eventual winners Germany in what was touted one of the best games of the tournament had seemingly shot Ghana high up the favourites list for a round of 16 spot, after a 2-1 loss to the USA in their opener. And Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal were to be the patsies. However, a lacklustre showing twinned with a series of camp agitations at the Estadio Nacional meant the Black Stars would be heading home at the group stages for the first time, following a 2-1 reverse.” Just Football