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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

Referees: Soccer's Secret Society (Part 1)

There is a decidedly non-vital, unimportant area of soccer about which we know far too much: the private lives of the players, their girlfriends, their hairstyles, their favorite television programs, foods, colors and much, much more of similar bilge.
» 3 Comments

Brazen goalkeeper cheating helps Sevilla win Europa League

Is there any excuse for this? That the Europa League cup -- one of soccer's major trophies -- has just been won by Sevilla thanks to absolutely blatant cheating by its goalkeeper?
» 32 Comments

Goals (Part 2): A lively weekend when goals were what mattered

I was telling you about the weirdo in the Anthony Burgess novel who kept dreaming up absurd soccer scores -- Fulham 19 West Ham 3 indeed!
» 10 Comments

Goals (Part 1): Dreadful decision from EPL ref Dowd nixes Suarez's brilliant record-breaking goal

In Anthony Burgess' novel "The Doctor Is Sick," the doctor (not a medical doctor, but a linguist) is in a hospital ward where his neighbor talks aloud in his sleep. He intones soccer scores:
» 10 Comments

The Soccer Tragedies -- Lest We Forget

Ernie was a massive Londoner who used to sell newspapers outside London's Tottenham Court Road subway station. The foghorn voice went with the job and every night I'd hear his cry of "Star, News, Standard" as I headed down the steps to the trains.
» 1 Comments

On being unable to see the soccer for the koaches

It has been a sweet and sour week. Sweet because the UEFA Champions League and the Europa League have produced some remarkable games and some outstanding individual player performances. Sour because the coaches have been so much the focus of attention.
» 12 Comments




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