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Dilma Rousseff's Political Future and the World Cup

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.
posted by needled on Jul 12, 2014 - 759 comments

The Life and Times of the Dog-Man

"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]
posted by Kattullus on Jul 11, 2014 - 23 comments

Heart of the Amazon, City of the Forest

For 350 years Manaus has stood sentinal at the dramatic Meeting of the Waters, where the dark Rio Negro and the sandy Rio Solimões (or the Upper Amazon) meet to form the headwaters of the Amazon River. [more inside]
posted by Eyebrows McGee on Jul 10, 2014 - 10 comments

The Beautiful Moments in the Beautiful Game (Game Day Edition)

The World Cup is hardly an unmitigated joy - bone crushing injuries, protests in Brazil, FIFA being FIFA, backshoulder 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 with starstruck fans. [more inside]
posted by 26.2 on Jul 8, 2014 - 1306 comments

Get your game on! Sex and Sports

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]
posted by travelwithcats on Jul 4, 2014 - 966 comments

Where it went wrong for African teams at the World Cup

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]
posted by marienbad on Jul 2, 2014 - 10 comments

2014 FIFA World Cup: From the Round of 16 to the Winner

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]
posted by Wordshore on Jun 26, 2014 - 1838 comments

Single-use bicycle rim

World Cup Downhill MTB Run - With No Rear Tire
posted by aniola on Jun 25, 2014 - 36 comments

Generate a random annoyed footballer.

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.
posted by running order squabble fest on Jun 25, 2014 - 40 comments

Behind the Bite

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.
posted by Cash4Lead on Jun 24, 2014 - 167 comments

Algeria make history

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.
posted by marienbad on Jun 23, 2014 - 530 comments

If you can only watch one soccer game...

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.
posted by twoleftfeet on Jun 22, 2014 - 352 comments

Paninimania: Sticker Rarity and Cost-Effective Strategy

Paninimania: Sticker Rarity and Cost-Effective Strategy [PDF] [more inside]
posted by alby on Jun 18, 2014 - 17 comments

So, soccer....

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]
posted by 256 on Jun 17, 2014 - 63 comments

The First Goal Of Its Kind In History

Footballing History was made last night when France striker Karim Benzema scored against Honduras. Due to the position of the Honduran Goalkeeper, it was impossible to tell if the ball had crossed the line, and the goal line technology was called into action and controversially gave a goal.
posted by marienbad on Jun 16, 2014 - 113 comments

Balls

The World's Ball - the NYT reviews the design evolution of the soccer/football from 1930 to the present
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Jun 15, 2014 - 23 comments

LON (London): HELLO THERE WHAT ARE ALL THESE RUMOURS WE HEAR THIS IS LON

FK (Falklands): 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.
posted by 256 on Jun 14, 2014 - 63 comments

why isnt he moving anymore

How to look like you know loads about football
posted by capnsue on Jun 12, 2014 - 30 comments

Argentina, 1978

While the World Watched At the same time Argentina hosted the 1978 World Cup, the nation's dictators were waging their "Dirty War" of repression, kidnappings and torture. As the tournament again draws near, ghastly memories are flooding back.
posted by modernnomad on Jun 11, 2014 - 22 comments

The World Cup of World Cup 2014 songs

We join the action in the quarter finals, where the line up is as follows: Croatia v Spain, Bosnia v Italy, Brazil v Argentina, and Belgium v Chile, in The Guardian's World Cup of World Cup 2014 songs, as voted for by Guardian readers.
posted by marienbad on Jun 4, 2014 - 13 comments

Flew On The Pitch And We're 'Aving A Laugh

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.
posted by BeerFilter on May 31, 2014 - 24 comments

BBC Assessment of World Cup Groups

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]
posted by marienbad on May 27, 2014 - 76 comments

"The point has come to make the decision"

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]
posted by davidjmcgee on May 25, 2014 - 74 comments

The ground gives up its secrets.

The closest his memories usually come to the surface is when he insists those memories no longer hold any power over him. "All of this stuff," he says, "helped me realize that you have to be happy in life. I had my childhood. It was fun. I would never change my childhood." Twenty years after fleeing with his family from the Bosnian War, Vedad Ibasevic has led his national team to an appearance in the World Cup. But nothing can stay buried. [more inside]
posted by Snarl Furillo on May 17, 2014 - 3 comments

Better World Cup slogans?

FIFA: "The votes have been counted and the winners declared! Congratulations to our 32 winners... The winning slogans will be placed on the respective teams' buses at the 2014 FIFA World Cup! Scroll down to read all the winning entries." - CNN: FIFA's bus slogans cause misery and mirth on social media - and The Guardian asks: "Can you think of better World Cup slogans for the 32 teams? "The England team are not 'the heartbeat of millions', real men do not 'wear orange' and since when did 'heroes play like Greeks'? The World Cup slogans need a rewrite. Can your wit help?"
posted by marienbad on May 15, 2014 - 50 comments

Everything Looks Pre-Planned With These Hungarians

"On 25 November 1953, an international football match was played between Hungary - then the world's number one ranked team, the Olympic champions and on a run of 24 unbeaten games, and England... The British press referred to it as the "Match of the Century" - the originators of the game, against the finest team in the world at that time." [more inside]
posted by marienbad on May 12, 2014 - 21 comments

Got...got...need

The World Cup is on the way, and for many kids (and nostalgic adults) that means only one thing: stickers. [more inside]
posted by mippy on May 6, 2014 - 22 comments

The cost of staging a modern World Cup

Qatar has proposed a bold vision of its future in 2022, but at what cost? In September 2013, the Guardian reported that up to 4,000 migrant workers would die during the construction process for Qatar's staging of the football World Cup in 2022. The Pravasi Nepali Coordination Committee, an advocacy group representing Nepalese and South Asian migrant workers, estimates that 400 Nepalese have died on Qatari construction sites since 2010. Nepalese make up around 20% of the migrant workforce. In the past two years 450 Indian workers have died on construction sites. [more inside]
posted by MuffinMan on Feb 17, 2014 - 32 comments

What Planet Are You From?

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.

posted by the man of twists and turns on Feb 12, 2014 - 14 comments

"I will not post any casualty reports for 24 hours as I am celebrating."

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.
posted by Kattullus on Nov 21, 2013 - 14 comments

Slaves for football

"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.
posted by salishsea on Oct 4, 2013 - 23 comments

Dos a Cero

After (intentionally?) 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.
posted by Rock Steady on Sep 11, 2013 - 136 comments

Modern History of the US Men's National Football (Soccer) Team

When Alexi Lalas was asked by a woman sitting next to him on a plane what he did for a living, he told her he played soccer. She said: 'That's nice, but what do you do for a living?' Today the US Men's National Soccer Team can be watched on ESPN, has a large traveling fan base and can sometimes beat major teams like Italy or Spain, but back in 1990, no one knew who they were.
posted by BillW on Oct 13, 2012 - 16 comments

Sepp Bless the Rains Down in Africa

Brian Phillips of The Run of Play (previously) examines FIFA's history of corruption from the birth of sports sponsorship deals to a serious of mysterious deaths in South Africa before the 2010 World Cup and speculates about the future of embattled FIFA President Sepp Blatter. [more inside]
posted by Copronymus on Aug 15, 2011 - 15 comments

Japan wins Woman's World Cup

Congratulations to Japan!!! All that screaming practice paid off. Spirits are lifted. [more inside]
posted by josher71 on Jul 18, 2011 - 82 comments

Irish Football Fans: the antithesis of Soccer Hooligans

Here Come The Lads - "The Irish soccer team will soon arrive for the World Cup with thousands of peaceful fans who love a glass and a singsong." Written before the arrival of Irish soccer fans to the US for the 1994 world cup, with anecdotes from the 1990 World Cup, when the Republic of Ireland qualified for the first time.
posted by filthy light thief on Jun 20, 2011 - 17 comments

What's a few hundred million between 24 friends?

The most powerful presidential position in the world is having its election soon, and the incumbent has just been brought up before an ethics committee for investigation. The USA's best attempt at a candidate was shut out and couldn't even be nominated. The person who is supposed to be representing the US region has been found guilty of corruption several times. Could this result in a historic revote for the 2022 World Cup location? [more inside]
posted by babar on May 27, 2011 - 28 comments

Wait till he takes guard in Mumbai

"I've never been in a stadium that feels like this one. Hindus and Muslims, Sikhs and Christians, people from different castes and classes, speakers of a dozen languages, all citizens in the Republic of Sachin. The stern cops give wide smiles and thumbs-ups. The chant goes from "Sachin! Sachin!" to "Hoo … ha … IN-DI-A!" They are interchangeable." [more inside]
posted by vidur on Mar 30, 2011 - 74 comments

The Sachin Tendulkar of Cricketblogging

For me, this was a first experience of seeing India play at home, and of Sachin Tendulkar playing in front of his own people. I chose a good game with which to start. I can think of few, if any, experiences in sport to match watching Tendulkar succeed in a home game. Roger Federer may occupy a similar status of universally-acknowledged greatness within tennis, but I think it is fair to say that Switzerland is not quite as passionate about tennis as India is about cricket. If Federer were to simultaneously play tennis whilst hoarding gold and providing banking facilities for dubious dictators, perhaps the fervour of his support would match that for Sachin. But the Swiss population is unlikely ever to top the one billion mark.
Don't know a thing about cricket? Wouldn't know a wicket from a googly? Don't worry, you won't have to know a thing to enjoy Andy Zaltzman's World Cup Blog. He is traveling around Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka attending various games. Zaltzman is best known to the world for the fabulous podcast The Bugle which he does with John Oliver. Therefore it should come as no surprise that he also does a cricket podcast. And he tweets about cricket too.
posted by Kattullus on Feb 28, 2011 - 19 comments

Football in Africa

Jessica Hilltout has been traveling around Africa taking pictures of matches as they are played in the continent's small villages, its players, goals, boots and balls. It is especially striking to compare that last collection to all the official World Cup balls. You can see slightly larger versions of some of Hilltout's pictures here and here.
posted by Kattullus on Jul 10, 2010 - 11 comments

We are amused

Yesterday, the Spanish national football squad won its first World Cup semifinal. A distinguished supporter insisted on personally congratulating them in the locker room. (SLYT, but priceless. Watch in particular the hero of the match enter the frame around 1:16).
posted by Skeptic on Jul 8, 2010 - 83 comments

Physics of Phootball

Free during the World Cup the IOP (Institute of Physics) has a collection of papers all about football (soccer). Also related is NASA's recent findings regarding the randomness of the new Adidas ball.
posted by ozomatli on Jul 6, 2010 - 8 comments

Pele should go back to the museum

Argentina has been eliminated from The World Cup, but that doesn't mean we aren't free to enjoy some quotes from the always quotable Diego Maradona. For example, after Argentina qualified for the finals in South Africa, after looking like they would not make it, he said "To those who did not believe: now suck my d**k - I'm sorry ladies for my words - and keep on sucking it. I am either white or black. I will never be grey in my life. You treated me as you did. Now keep on sucking d**ks. I am grateful to my players and to the Argentinian people. I thank no one but them. The rest, keep on sucking d**ks."
posted by Keith Talent on Jul 5, 2010 - 85 comments

District 11

World Cup is it over yet? 'cuz this is not going to end well.
posted by HuronBob on Jul 4, 2010 - 69 comments

A suburb of Elvis

The Elvis World Cup, a competition for Elvis impersonators, takes place in Cardiff this weekend. Some say that if impersonators keep increasing at the rate they are today, by 2020 one in four people on the planet will be an Elvis impersonator. Swedish Elvis. Chinese Elvis. Jewish Elvis. Lady Elvis. Black Elvis. Lesbian Elvis. Child Elvis. Mexican Elvis. The King, an impersonator who covers the songs of dead people in an Elvis stylee.
posted by mippy on Jul 4, 2010 - 17 comments

Goal line technology for some, tiny vuvuzelas for others

Following the goal that wasn't a goal in the England vs Germany match and the illegal offsides goal in the Argentina vs Mexico match, FIFA President Sepp Blatter has apologized to the eliminated teams and said that goal line detection technology will be considered for future matches. [more inside]
posted by 0xFCAF on Jun 30, 2010 - 177 comments

Psychic octopus 1 - 0 everybody else

Paul, an octopus in Germany, has made international headlines with his perfect record predicting the outcome of Germany's World Cup matches. On Tuesday, the cephalopod chose the national squad to defeat Argentina on Saturday. But it could be a tight game.
posted by orrnyereg on Jun 29, 2010 - 55 comments

Start, Approach, Take Off, Flight, Roll, Penalty

One of the least edifying aspects of professional football [soccer] is the dive. Is it just part of the game, or something that, ahem, foreigners do? In 2006 FIFA rejected the use of video evidence to punish cheaters and although "simulation" is punished, when spotted by the referee, the problem remains. In the wake of (among others) a dodgy red card to Brazilian star Kaka in the 2010 World Cup, here's a handy guide to some of the best/worst dives about (inside) and how to tell when a player is faking it. [more inside]
posted by MuffinMan on Jun 25, 2010 - 92 comments

"All the great contests at some point become head games."

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]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Jun 24, 2010 - 194 comments

"Hand of God", indeed.

All’s Fair in Love and Soccer Cheating and working the refs are part of what make the beautiful game fun to watch.
posted by horsemuth on Jun 21, 2010 - 376 comments

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