With the completion of the group stages, three quarters of the matches in the 2014 FIFA World Cup have been played. Now, it's a straight round-by-round elimination for the remaining 16 teams in their quest to reach the final. There's been biting, alternative commentary, mood swings, (allegedly) sulky England players, exciting matches, the USA vs Ronaldo, Europeans taking early return flights, deep analysis, a fantasy league and many goals - but who will finally lift the trophy in Rio's Estádio do Maracanã on Sunday 13th July? [more inside]
"And looks like an almost goal. If that whole goal system would have been moved over maybe thirty more feet, we would have been looking at a goal." -- MeFi favorite Reggie Watts (previously) doing World Cup commentary alongside MeFi favorite Peter Serafinowicz (previously) on his Mixlr account, where Serafinowicz has been providing comedic commentary for the games for the last week. [via]
Today at 6 PM Eastern, the United States plays Portugal in the World Cup. The United States has never been very successful in World Cup soccer (football), but it has come close. The United States shocked the world by coming in third in 1930 and again by defeating England in 1950. In 2002, the U.S. had an upset against Portugal, but could it happen again? Playing for Portugal is Cristiano Ronaldo, possibly the best player in the world, whose fancy footwork is legendary.
"It was the dark ages of American soccer, with the United States preparing to host a World Cup for a sport that its public had virtually no common appreciation for. Since the collapse of the North American Soccer League in the 1980s, the country didn’t even have a professional top division – Major League Soccer was a mere glimmer in Doug Logan’s eye. It was a time when the notion that airing football matches in the US could be a viable, lucrative endeavour received “zero respect”, in Keane’s words, from broadcasters. Burdened by extortionate broadcasting agreements with pay-per-view carriers, Keane would often record European matches for diehard fans who had no idea which teams won over the weekend."
Football's (soccer, that is) ultimate conquest of North America comes a step closer with the sale of English Premier League broadcasting rights to NBC for 250 million dollars. Unlike the Olympics, NBC has indicated that they'll broadcast the games live, to complement their NHL broadcasts. [more inside]
The whistle has blown in Port Elizabeth. Stoppage time in Pretoria, and three men run into the box. Altidore flicks the ball across, but Dempsey walks it straight into the goalkeeper. On the rebound, Donovan puts it in the net. The world reacts. [more inside]
Sometimes called the "Miracle on Grass", the USA's 1-0 victory over England in the 1950 World Cup is arguably the biggest upset in the history of the cup; when a team of school teachers, dishwashers, and postmen beat the "Kings of Football". It was the Game of Their Lives. Today, they had the chance to do it again.
A heartbreaking 10-minute documentary on Joe Gaetjens who scored the single goal in the USA's shocking victory over England at the 1950 World Cup. Gaetjens was a Haitian accounting student at Columbia University who went to Europe shortly after the 1950 World Cup and returned to Haiti a few years later. His story, and the story of the upset victory, was until recently largely unknown in the US.
In 2010, Obama will have a miserable year, NATO may lose in Afghanistan, the UK gets a regime change, China needs to chill, India's factories will overtake its farms, Europe risks becoming an irrelevant museum, the stimulus will need an exit strategy, the G20 will see a challenge from the "G2", African football will unite Korea, conflict over natural resources will grow, Sarkozy will be unloved and unrivalled, the kids will come together to solve the world's problems (because their elders are unable), technology will grow ever more ubiquitous, we'll all charge our phones via USB, MBAs will be uncool, the Space Shuttle will be put to rest, and Somalia will be the worst country in the world. And so the Tens begin.
The Economist: The World in 2010. [more inside]
The Economist: The World in 2010. [more inside]
How to Follow Soccer in Europe. A handy comparison of American sports leagues and European soccer. Also: The competitions. Going to the game.
We wuz robbed. I know, it wasn't really a handball. USA loses to Germany and their amazing goalkeeper. Good run, guys.
One of the teams in the Mexico vs. USA World Cup game made history. As of before the game, the USA has never won a knockout game of the World Cup - Mexico had never won a knockout game of the World Cup when not in Mexico. Click the article to see which team made history - or if you don't want it spoiled, don't click at all!