On November 28, Chapecoense, a small club from Santa Catarina in Brazil was boarding a flight headed to Medellín, where they would face Atlético Nacional in the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana (the CONMEBOL second-tier club trophy). A few hours later, the day ended in tragedy as the plane crashed on the mountains outside the host city, killing 76 of the 81 on board. The flight included the squad and staff, but also 21 journalists covering the big game, and early reports claim it ran out of fuel on the approach and was facing electrical problems. [more inside]
Dilma Rousseff is the current president of Brazil and the first woman to hold the office. She faces re-election in October this year. While by the end of her first year in office she held higher approval ratings than any of her directly elected predecessors (59%), by early June of 2014 her approval rating had fallen to its lowest point (33%) since she assumed office in January 2011. A major contributor to this decline in approval ratings has been the country's hosting of the World Cup, plagued by cost overruns and accidents during hasty infrastructure construction. Estimated to have cost the country between $11 and $14 billion, the World Cup sparked protests up to the opening game (previously). Stadium construction was carried out in 12 instead of the required 8 cities, resulting in white elephants projects in Brasília and Manaus. Brazil's crushing 7-1 loss to Germany in the World Cup semifinals generated speculation about its impact on Dilma Rousseff's political future. While some sports moments are attributed to have changed the course of national politics and identity, how the World Cup loss will affect Dilma Rousseff's re-election chances remains murky.
As the last of the African teams exits at the Round of 16, filmmaker and columnist Farai Sevenzo looks at the state of African football, bedevilled by the perennial problems of poor organisation, tactical indiscipline and rows over money. [BBC]
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]
Today sees the start of the final round of group games in the 2014 World Cup. Each day, there are 4 games, the final 2 games from each group. Both matches in each group will be played simultaneously, after a scheduling rule change by FIFA after an infamous 1982 World Cup Finals match. But last night, Algeria qualified for the knockout stages after beating South Korea 4-2. This is the first time in history an African team has scored 4 goals at the World Cup Finals.
Brazil has spared no expense for the upcoming World Cup. The month-long competition will feature 64 matches in 12 cities across the country. Refurbishing old stadiums and building new ones has cost Brazil $3.6bn. Several of the new stadiums will seldom be used after the World Cup, and Brasilia's World Cup stadium is estimated to have cost taxpayers $900m. [more inside]
The BBC assesses the World Cup Groups: Group A/ Group B/Group C/Group D/Group E/Group F/Group G/Group H. [more inside]
US Men's National Soccer Team coach Jürgen Klinsmann on Thursday announced the final 23 man roster for the upcoming World Cup. The roster did not include Landon Donovan (NYT)). Donovan, the USMNT's all-time scoring and assists leader and widely regarded as the best ever men's American footballer, has responded: "I think if I’m being judged based solely on what happened in camp then I absolutely deserve to be going to Brazil." Klinsmann says "I just see some other players slightly ahead of him." [more inside]
The Far Post is a journalism series by Roads and Kingdoms and Sports Illustrated on global soccer culture that will run every other week until the start of "the largest theater that has ever existed in human history," the World Cup. So far there are five articles: Brazil 2014 Starts Now by Laurent Dubois gives an overview of the history of the World Cup and what it means now. Messi in Kolkata by Kanishk Tharoor is about a visit by the Argentine national team to Kolkata and the state of the game in India. Afghanistan United By May Jeong is the story of the incredible triumph of the Afghan national team at the 2013 South Asian Championship. Soccer and the Street in Istanbul by Izzy Finkel reports on the links between soccer and politics in Turkey. The Long Revolution of the Ultras Ahlawy by Patrick Kingsley is the account of how hardcore soccerfans in Egypt, at the center of the 2011 revolution, have fared in the aftermath.
Non-orthogonal soccer fields, a slideshow
"The last European monopoly, in any area, is crumbling. This recently-opened transfer window has underscored, more than anything else, that it is no longer the European football clubs’ birthright to sign the greatest players in the world." -- Leander Schaerlaeckens on the growing clout of Chinese, Brazilian, and (WTF?) Indian soccer leagues in grabbing the top talent
Sócrates is dead. It’s hard to see how anyone could be surprised. Run of Play on the death of Sócrates. [more inside]
Copa América is streamed live on YouTube. Copa América is the oldest international football competition, having been held first in 1916. This is a contest between the 10 South American nations and two invitational teams, this time Costa Rica and Mexico, who both sent young squads (Japan was slated to take part but withdrew due to the earthquake). The tournament started yesterday with Bolivia unexpectedly managing to hold Argentina to a draw. Colombia are currently beating a 10-man Costa Rica 1-0. Brazil start their campaign tomorrow, against Venezuela. One of the world's premier football writers, Jonathan Wilson, wrote previews of the three groups, A, B and C. The Independent has more light-hearted team previews.
There are only 10 days of the World Cup left. The World Cup Final is on Sunday 11th July at 19:30 GMT. Today sees the start of the Quarter Finals, and with only 8 teams left, this is when the pressure really starts. A brief Preview of the Quarter finals: [more inside]
Brazilian striker Ronaldo is now "the most prolific scorer in World Cup history." Controversy surrounded him, literally, regarding his weight in the run-up to 2006 (not to mention a bit of competition from an heir apparent named Ronaldinho). But today is Ronaldo's day, and Brasilia's as well as they try to repeat 2002 and add a sixth star to their jerseys. (The list, updated to include Muller in 2nd, Juste Fontaine in 3rd, and fellow countryman Pele in 4th.)
Sorry, But Only One Of These Countries Can Win The World Cup. But which one will it be? And what are the odds? The Guardian's Fiver can be as funny about it as it likes, but this is no laughing matter, not anymore, as we will soon be surrounded by 31 unmistakable, irredeemable, inconsolable losers. Anyway, whatever happens, I'm sure everyone here at MetaFilter will join me in wishing it's one of the countries that speak Portuguese.
Brazil vs. Germany. The 2002 FIFA World Cup has come to an end. History was made today.
Brazil x Turkey - If you don't want to know who won, don't click on the link nor the thread comments...
England blew it. Enlgand got off to a 1-0 lead before it was tied by Brazil. Even after Brazil was a man down they managed to score a goal and hold the lead for a victory. I really thought England was going to go all the way.