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World Cup final ref gets big call wrong, punishes the victim, neglects concussion dangers

Of course there were concussion-incidents during the World Cup. Given that there are head-clashes in virtually every game of soccer that is ever played, that was to be expected.
» 60 Comments

Soccer needs a Brazilian revival

RIO DE JANEIRO -- It took nearly two hours of often rather trite soccer for Germany to win this World Cup. The one goal that decided the final, from Mario Goetze, was a beauty ... in a game that, while it had plenty of tension and a sufficient number of near-misses and other highlights, was sadly lacking in that precious ...
» 30 Comments

Alfredo Di Stefano: The complete player. Maybe the best, too.

RIO DE JANEIRO -- As Argentina was making its laborious way to the 2014 World Cup final, the word came from Spain: Alfredo Di Stefano was dead, at the age of 88. Di Stefano, the Argentine who many regard in awe as the greatest of them all.
» 3 Comments

Germany on top of the world as Brazil searches for a way back

RIO DE JANEIRO -- Superlatives are definitely called for to describe Germany's blitzing of Brazil. No one expected anything like that. Who would, when nothing like it, even remotely comparable, has ever happened before. The host team of a World Cup being utterly humiliated, letting in seven goals right there, in front of its own fans, in a semifinal game.
» 19 Comments

Dutch and Argentines well-balanced; For Germany, the Brazilian cauldron awaits

RIO DE JANEIRO -- Down to the final four, and things seem to have arranged themselves pretty much as expected. The cream of South America -- Brazil and Argentina -- against the best of Europe, Germany and the Netherlands.
» 24 Comments

Thank you, Jurgen. And good bye. Time to Move on from the Sterile Klinsmann Interlude.

Buried under the tumult and clamor of the USA's performance against Belgium -- most of it focused on goalkeeper Tim Howard's remarkable performance -- are some uncomfortable truths for the American game.
» 163 Comments

Can this be Brazil? The hosts stagger through to the quarterfinals

So Brazil is through to the quarterfinals. Of course that’s good news, not only for Brazilians, but for the tournament itself, which would have suffered a tremendous deflation, a colossal anti-climax had the hosts been knocked out so rapidly.
» 21 Comments

Teenage wonder kids and ruling dynasties: They don't come around too often

Ever since the 17-year-old Pele was the star of the 1958 World Cup we've been waiting for another talented teenager to come along and emerge as a superstar by taking over a World Cup the way that Pele did.
» 5 Comments

Goals early and often light up World Cup

Those (myself among them) who feared that caution, with its depressant effect on goalscoring, would rule the early games of the World Cup, evidently got it wrong.
» 4 Comments

Brazil 3 Croatia 1. No Beautiful Game from this Brazil team

Not, by any means, an uneventful game. Not short of action, suspense, tension. So plenty to get excited or emotional about. And that's not bad for the opening game of a World Cup. There have been some real stinkers.
» 16 Comments

Losing the first game means your World Cup is almost certainly at an end

The World Cup starts off -- for every team, favorites or outsiders -- as a three-game tournament. That's all you get -- just three games to prove whether you belong there or not.
» 9 Comments

Remembering Marinho -- who smiled so brilliantly on the sport of soccer

I find Jose Mourinho an irritant. Nothing more. His constant presence, his non-stop efforts to create headlines for himself, his not particularly interesting comments on world soccer -- always, it seems to me, carefully measured to make sure that he comes over as more important than Messi or Ronaldo or Suarez, to ensure that his name gets the spotlight. Mourinho ...
» 12 Comments

World Cup Rosters: the injury curse, plus thoughts on Klinsmann's choice of passport-holders

So much for any thoughts of an intriguing afternoon watching World Cup teams play warm-up friendly games. Very quickly I'm watching an appalling challenge from Ireland's Alex Pearce on Italy's Riccardo Montolivo. After a delay for treatment, Montolivo departs on a stretcher. The Italian press is saying he has a fractured tibia. No World Cup for him.
» 20 Comments

Referees: Soccer's Secret Society (Part 3)

The Vice President of Competition at Major League Soccer is former national team player Jeff Agoos. One of his responsibilities is to oversee the formation and the functioning of the MLS Disciplinary Committee.
» 11 Comments

Referees: Soccer's Secret Society (Part 2)

In 1981, I interviewed the aging Sir Stanley Rous, former FIFA president and a cardinal figure in the development of modern refereeing. I asked him if he thought a set of signals would be a good idea for referees.
» 12 Comments




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