In Soccer’s Hinterlands, World Cup Expansion Opens a Door

January 19, 2017

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Uganda, celebrating a goal against Botswana, is one of the teams that are likely to benefit the most from the coming World Cup expansion.
“While the soccer world was chewing over FIFA’s controversial decision on Tuesday to increase the size of the World Cup finals to 48 teams from 32, Milutin Sredojevic was trying to block out the noise. Sredojevic, a Serbian coach, is in Dubai preparing Uganda’s national team for the Africa Cup of Nations, the continental championship that begins Saturday in Gabon. Uganda, which is in the tournament for the first time since 1978, is a heavy underdog. Yet despite Sredojevic’s best efforts to focus on the task ahead, news of the expansion, which could benefit smaller federations like Uganda’s, filtered through anyway.” NY Times


Russia’s 2018 World Cup – A Conversation Beyond Sport

December 23, 2016

What’s happening with the next World Cup? The 2018 World Cup will be in Russia, running from 14 June to 15 July, hosting 32 football teams—and their fans –from around the world. It will be held in twelve stadiums and eleven cities across the European part of Russia. The host cities are a mix of large and small, cities that are better known to foreigners and cities that are almost unknown outside Russia.” futbolgrad


The best World Cup format–that FIFA would never consider

December 8, 2016

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“The World Cup might grow to 40 teams, or it might wind up with 48. It might be eight groups of five or four groups of 10, or there might be 16 seeds and a straight 32-team knockout round to get to join them in the format we have now. Or it might be 16 groups of three. Either way, the endless gigantism stimulated by FIFA presidential elections, as candidates promise more and more nations that they, too, can play in a World Cup, means that the competition will be even more bloated, even more unwieldy by then. Of course, this is 2026 we’re talking about, so there’s a significant chance global political elections by then will mean that by then, as George Orwell foresaw, it’s just three teams: Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia.” SI – Jonathan Wilson


‘Some of those Dundalk players wouldn’t look out of depth within the Irish squad’

September 15, 2016

“FORMER REPUBLIC OF IRELAND captain Kenny Cunningham believes some of the Dundalk players wouldn’t look out of place if called up to Martin O’Neill’s international setup for next month’s World Cup qualifiers. Despite their domestic dominance over recent seasons, it’s the club’s displays against higher-calibre European opposition in the last few months that has significantly raised the profiles of the likes of David McMillan and Daryl Horgan.” The 42


Do South American World Cup qualifiers put the Champions League to shame?

September 6, 2016

“Now that Copa América and the Euros are behind us, the focus turns to World Cup qualification. For South American teams – who kicked off their campaigns last October – the road to the biggest football tournament in the world has always been tough and since 1996, when the current round-robin format was originally introduced, competition has improved tremendously. Historical powerhouses such as Brazil and Argentina are no longer shoe-ins to qualify as teams such as Chile, Uruguay, Colombia, Paraguay and Ecuador, with star players of their own, are more than just also-rans.” Guardian


Labor City, Qatar’s creepy new city for migrant workers, is open for business

November 8, 2015

“Do you want to build 2022 World Cup infrastructure in steaming hot Qatar? If so, you may want to look into accommodations in Labor City, the Gulf state’s newest city built specifically for migrant laborers moving to Qatar to work on long-term construction projects. As of November 1, Labor City is open for business. Before continuing, please take a moment to appreciate that Qatar, a country with a scandalous labor record, named an actual city ‘Labor City.’” Fusion (Video)


Sounds silly but Qatar keeping the 2022 World Cup might be the least fucked solution

June 27, 2015

“The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the largest inter-governmental organization in the world after the United Nations, describes itself as the ‘collective voice of the Muslim world.’ With 57 member states on four continents, the OIC seeks to ‘safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony among various people of the world.’ It’s a noble-sounding endeavor, tone-wise, and in line with the mission statements of almost every other notable inter-governmental organization designed, in theory, to foster global harmony, understanding, and puppy GIF feelings.” Fusion