There are many foreign players in English football today, but back in the 70s and 80s there were only a few. Some became club legends, others had disappointing spells with their club. This Daily Mail article
has lots of lovely 70s and 80s style pictures of many of these players, including Ardilles, Grobelaar, and, of course, a young Alex Sabella.
Fresh off his 6 1/2 hour stint as head coach of the Tottenham Hotspurs (previously
), Ted Lasso returns
to Premier League television as a pundit and to the world of
football as coach of the St. Catherine Fighting Owls (WHOO?). Guest starring Tim Howard and Mini Bradley Cooper.
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
). Stadium construction was carried out in 12 instead of the required 8 cities, resulting in white elephants projects in Brasília
. 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
"Casually, I click in a compilation of clips
I've never seen before. I think it's another video like other thousands of thousands, but I soon realize it's not. The clips are not Messi goals, his best runs, nor his assists. It's a strange compilation: the video shows hundreds of clips, two or three seconds long each, in which Messi receives strong fouls and doesn't fall to the ground." Messi es un perro
is a short essay by Argentine writer Hernán Casciari
on Lionel Messi. You can read an English translation on Reddit, Messi Is a Dog
. Perhaps the best way to enjoy it is to listen to the original as read by Norberto Jansenson with English subtitles
. [via this Deadspin article about Messi by Billy Haisley which you should also read]
The World Cup is hardly an unmitigated joy - bone crushing injuries, protests in Brazil, FIFA being FIFA,
shoulder biting. But lets forget all that and embrace the feel good moments of World Cup 2014. Friends helping
a deaf and blind fan experience the World Cup. The victors comforting a heartbroken opponent
. A player stopping to tie the shoe of his child escort
. The Greek team returning their bonuses
to build a new training center. The Brazilian team being generally awesome
fans. [more inside]
Abstinence is not a new tactic when it comes to sports competitions. Ancient Greeks restricted sex ahead of major events and some athletes still do it today. But does sex really affect athletic performance? Judging by the current World Cup, a strict sex ban doesn’t help to win. “All the teams known to have banned that kind of scoring in Brazil have been knocked out
.” Specific sex rules seem to have less negative impact. In today’s quarter finals, France vs. Germany and Brazil vs. Colombia, different guidelines come into play. [more inside]
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]
Lionel Messi is impossible.
Benjamin Morris of 538 uses statistics to prove that Lionel Messi is the best footballer on Earth.
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]
Karim Benzema is ticked off because you stretched out his favourite t-shirt.
FIFA filmed every footballer present at the 2014 FIFA World Cup folding their arms and looking moody, to be used in VFX. Now, thanks to Josh Cluderay
, you can find out why they look so pissed.
So earlier today Luis Suarez, striker for the Uruguay side, bit
Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini on the shoulder during their respective teams' final group play match for the World Cup. This is not the first time he's done this
--in fact, folks were taking bets
that Suarez would bite someone during World Cup play. Biting is a major taboo
in sports, and sure enough, Suarez is now facing a ban of up to 24 games
by FIFA. Indeed, Suarez has a history
of violent behavior and racist statements, even when you leave aside the biting incidents. And yet, despite all this, Suarez is generally regarded as one of the best soccer players in the world today. So it's fitting that, just before this year's World Cup began, ESPN published an essay by Wright Thompson (previously
) on the many myths and contradictions that surround Luis Suarez
In the wake of England's exit from the 2014 World Cup, QPR Manager Harry Rednapp said in an interview with BBC Five Live that some players didn't want to play for England.
"When full internationals came around, two or three players didn't want to go and play for England. They'd come to me 10 days before the game and say: 'Gaffer, get me out of the game. I don't want to play in it.'"
England Captain Steven Gerrard
then called on Rednapp to name names
, however Rednapp has so far refused
. Former England Manager (91-93) Graham Taylor then came out and said that players not wanting to play for their country is "nothing particularly new"
. And finally, ex Arsenal and England striker Ian "Wrighty" Wright wades into the debate
in The Sun
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.
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
It's now been a day since we saw defending World Cup and Euro champions Spain lose to Chile, 2-0, a day since they were mathematically eliminated from the knockout stages, and a day since we witnessed the grisly end of an era. It was a profound moment in soccer and in soccer's history, and still, all I can think about is boxing.
Interested in the World Cup, but a complete ignorance of soccer tactics keeping you from enjoying the game? You need to read Zonal Marking
. A one-stop tactics warehouse, Zonal Marking is written in its entirety by Michael Cox
and includes detailed post-game analysis as well as in-depth profiles of every team taking part in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. [more inside]
The World's Ball
- the NYT reviews the design evolution of the soccer/football from 1930 to the present
: WE HAVE LOTS OF NEW FRIENDS
LON: WHAT ABOUT INVASION RUMOURS
FK: THOSE ARE THE FRIENDS I WAS MEANING
Today marks the 32nd anniversary of the ceasefire
which ended the ten-week Falklands War. The war began when Argentine forces invaded the nearly undefended British archipelago, and ended with a decisive British victory following a counter-invasion (which the US Navy had considered to be a “military impossibility
”). This war—in which 649 Argentine soldiers, 255 British soldiers, and 3 civilians were killed—is still a fresh memory for the countries involved, as seen from growing tensions between the Argentina and England sides at the World Cup in Brazil
. Only two current England players
and four current Argentina players
had been born when the war occurred.
"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."
Yesterday, during the pre-World Cup friendly between England and Peru being played at Wembley Stadium, there were three goals scored, but the moment that captured the most attention has been this unbelievable, incredible paper airplane toss
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]
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]
"Look at this beautiful woman that's athletically very strong beside me, I knew there were some intangibles that I could work with to turn this team around in a short space of time."
The woman Rongen refers to is Jaiyah Saelua, born Johnny, but one of the island's Fa'afafine - an integral part of traditional Samoan culture, born biologically male but embodying both masculine and feminine gender traits.
It makes her the world's first transgender national football player. While, through the force of her own personality, Jaiyah becomes an integral part of the documentary - there is no explicit battle for acceptance from her teammates, the issue of sexual identity is just not an issue for the islanders.
"Its natural in American Samoa because its part of the culture. Fa'afafine's have been around since before the missionaries came. It's so deeply embedded in the foundations of our culture to show respect and that includes respect for transgender people," says Jaiyah.
It's incredibly tense in the English Premier League at the moment, with three teams fighting for the title. With Manchester United disintegrating and lucky to secure European football, the much anticipated Spurs title challenge fizzing out and Arsenal struggling to even reach their customary fourth place and access to the Champions League, it's up to Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool FC. The latter two met last Sunday in an emotional, stressfull match
which saw Liverpool win 3-2, setting a giant step forwards to winning the title.
For Liverpool fans and many neutrals it would be wonderful for Liverpool to win it now, because it's been twentyfour years since their last one, because of Steve Gerrard
who, a single childhood slipup
aside, has always been loyal to Liverpool and who has won everything but the title with them, but mostly because it's been exactly twentyfive years since the Hillsborough Disaster
and just weeks after a new inquest into the disaster and the coverup has started
. [more inside]
one of the all time greats
of English football, has died
at the age of 91. [more inside]
How many of the 114,580 people in Estadio Azteca on June 22, 1986, missed one or both of Diego Maradona’s goals against England because they were in the bathroom or buying a Budweiser? The two legendary goals that decided the World Cup quarterfinal occurred in quick succession shortly after the start of the second half. In the 51st minute, the Hand of God beat the hand of Shilton. Only four minutes later, while the outrage of English fans and players was still raw, El Diego received the ball in his own half, facing his own net. It took him 11 touches and 10.6 seconds to beat six opponents—Beardsley, Reid, Butcher (twice), Fenwick, and the goalkeeper, Shilton—and bury what many consider to be the greatest goal of all time.
On Wednesday, after retiring in September, former Germany international Thomas Hitzlsperger announced he is gay in an interview with Die Zeit (excerpt
, de) and a statement
(PDF, en) on his website, followed by an interview with the Guardian
. He discussed the decision and the aftermath of the announcement with Gary Lineker on Football Focus
(1:00-4:15). [more inside]
The Portuguese footballer Eusébio, considered one of the greatest of all time, died today.
The first great footballer to come out of Africa, Eusébio was above all an humble man who would congratulate a keeper who had just made a difficult save and for whom the greatest joy after winning the European Cup
(now named UEFA Champions League) was in getting to trade jerseys with his idol
, Real Madrid's star di Stéfano. (The goals of the final.) [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.
Football as soccer
…or should that be American Football as football?
The Major League Soccer playoffs
have begun and the MLS Cup is on the line. After beating Colorado this week, the Seattle Sounders will now face their fiercest rivals, the Portland Timbers, in a two leg Western Conference semi-final Cascadia derby. They'll have to beat both the Timbers and the Timbers Army, who will no doubt produce yet another incredible display of tifo.
When the announcement had been made that Wimbledon FC would be moved to Milton Keynes, to later be rebranded MK Dons, a meeting was called by Wimbledon fans. Toward the end of a charged meeting in the Wimbledon Community Centre, Kris Stewart, then chair of the Wimbledon Independent Supporters Club, realized that the fans had no chance of hanging on to their club and that no amount of protests would stop the franchise moving to Milton Keynes. In that moment Stewart made his walk through the crowd toward the microphone. “I’m tired of fighting,” he said before issuing a spontaneous rallying cry that has become legendary among fans of AFC Wimbledon. “I just want to watch football.”
"This is Brett Keisel, a defensive end for the Pittsburgh Steelers who makes the usually frustrating identifying process of having to look for pictures of NFL players sans helmet an unexpected pleasure. Consider two things: i) Why in the name of all that's holy would anyone want to imprison this cascading, oddly backwoodsesque yet pleasingly groomed beauty behind visor, mask or grille? And: ii) Given that he has nonetheless to do so, how the hell does he cram it all in? I'm picturing, in a pleasing sort of reverie, some sort of monstrous snood."
presents the Greatest Beards in World Sports, parts one
"The indispensable English footballer whose metatarsal will snap four weeks before the 2022 World Cup is currently 12 years old, but Fifa is already worrying stagily about the temperature in which he will perform disappointingly. As for the 12-year-old Nepalese boy whose family are unwittingly saving for the chance to send him off in a few years to die laying the foundations of a stadio-mall, or the 12-year-old Qatari boy wondering not when his people voted for this, but whether they'll ever vote for anything at all … well, it would be much easier if people did not concern themselves with them."
The Guardian summarizes the current issues over the staging of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
From prison to pro football (~soccer) but hampered by a dark past: how Ilombe Mboyo's rise destroyed the scheme that saved him. Can football help rehabilitate a criminal?
Soccer Euphoria The Olympic Stadium in Kabul has not seen this big a crowd since the Taliban used the place for public executions. No coercion was needed on Thursday to bring tens of thousands of delirious fans here to greet their national soccer team on its return from winning its first international championship. The underdog team stunned India, the defending South Asian champions, in a 2-0 victory in Katmandu, Nepal.
) missing a last second penalty kick, the US Men's National Team beat Mexico
in Columbus by a now famous final score
. Following the game, the team watched Honduras hold on for a 2-2 draw against Panama
which officially cemented the team's slot in the 2014 World Cup
. An unassuming venue
[autoplay video], Crew Stadium was the first purpose-built soccer facility in the US, and it has become the preferred location
for the US to take on its most-powerful CONCACAF rival.
You're Lewes F.C.
, a small semi-professional football club playing in the Isthmian League in London, six levels below the English Premier League. You want to get punters to come to your games, but don't have the budget to put out radio or tv ads. What do you do? Create some really great match day posters
, like this one
mimicking a WWII Russian propaganda poster
or this Clash poster
The day Harry Redknapp brought a fan on to play for West Ham.
According to one of football's most endearing fairytales, Harry Redknapp once pulled an abusive fan from the crowd and put him on the field for West Ham. This allegedly happened in 1994, but no video and scant evidence of the incident exist. Jeff Maysh chased this mystery for over a decade before finally catching up with the fan in question.
lifted the FA Cup as skipper of Oxford University, represented them at five different sports ranging from athletics to real tennis, and once shared a 150-run partnership with WG Grace in the highest level of cricket.
His most notable achievement was captaining England in the first ever international football match though. About 4,000 spectators, including a "large number of ladies", gathered to watch the historic game against Scotland at the West of Scotland Cricket Club in Partick on 30 November 1872."
With the English Premier League season less than two weeks away, there have already been a number of massive shakeups to the established order. Among the most shocking are the appointment of
Jason Sudeikis Ted Lasso as head coach for the Tottenham Hotspurs
, and Luis Suarez returning to a relatively normal office life