• My World Cup: Use replays now to stop goalkeeper cheating in the shootout
    The latest U-turn performed by Sepp Blatter on the matter of goal line technology will surprise no one. Blatter has been leaning this way and that for years now, saying no, maybe, no again, yes, but ... and so on.
  • My World Cup: More goals and less 'banalysis' sounds like a good idea
    On Sunday night I spent some time telling a neophyte soccer fan -- well, he's just discovered the World Cup actually, so he's more of a World Cup fan at the moment -- that the first-round days of cautious low-scoring ties were over, and now we were into the knockout phase, and now every game really means something, so look out for fireworks and lovely soccer, and so on.
  • My World Cup: Two bad calls: blame refs for one, Blatter for the other
    It was asking too much to imagine that we could get through this tournament without at least one egregious miscall by a referee. And now it's happened -- the screw-up arrived yesterday, stamped "Made In Italy," and it was Mexico that suffered.
  • Time for Bob Bradley to Step Aside?
    World Cup time is, obviously, battle-time for national team coaches. A battle that only one out of 32 can win. When the battle is over, the field is strewn with casualties.
  • My World Cup: In Praise of Landon Donovan
    Cometh the hour, cometh the man ... and the man, as surely we all knew it would be, had to be, was Landon Donovan. The hour was, in fact, a moment, a crucial minute when all of the USA's World Cup hopes were disintegrating on a far-away field in Pretoria.
  • My World Cup: Bafana Bafana and France depart, the Maradona-Messi show gathers strength
    Group A has finished all wrong, of course. It's been an unswerving rule of every World Cup that the host team always qualifies for the second round. South Africa should be celebrating right now. But it's out of the tournament after only three games, and I'm wondering who ever really believed that the South Africans were good enough?
  • My World Cup: USA Hysterical, Italy Lousy, and It's OK to Foul Brazil
    No doubt the advertisers have spent millions compiling the commercials that we are now seeing, aren't we ever, during the World Cup games. Most of them, maybe all of them, are evidently conceived and written by morons. Certainly most of them seem to be narrated by gravel-voiced airheads.
  • My World Cup: Beware of coaching nonsense
    We're now reaching the stage of the World Cup when we are forced to put up with a good deal of crap about coaches and coaching. From the coaches themselves, of course, but also from their players (how would they dare contradict their coach?), and from their followers in the media.
  • My World Cup: Still Waiting for Brazil
    We've had to wait a long time for Brazil in this tournament, and it seems to me we're still waiting. Brazil's performance yesterday during its 2-1 win over North Korea was hardly vintage Brazil. We got the thinnest shadow of the beautiful game. We got Dunga's Brazil, the pragmatic Brazil of which Dunga has boasted time and again.
  • My World Cup: Referees get it right
    Half of the 32 World Cup teams have now strutted their stuff, and most of them have been singularly unimpressive. The awful truth behind this disappointment is that I am the one to blame for all the caution and the defensive play that we have -- and hence the lack of goals.
  • Hoping Soccer Breaks Through the Political Miasma
    Is it possible that a soccer tournament will break out in South Africa? That the sport will manage to force itself into the foreground and push aside the huge tribe of pseudo-soccer-enthusiasts who appear regularly every four years -- the politicians and the businessmen and the publicists and marketeers and suchlike.
  • Defense wins championships? Think again
    Despite the fatuous chants, which we shall no doubt be hearing quite soon on the World cup scene, defense does not win championships. Of course, it helps to have a good defense -- an obvious comment -- but in the end, a winning team does have to score some goals.
  • No sign of World Cup boost for MLS
    So, it's farewell MLS for a couple of weeks. On the assumption that fans will prefer to watch World Cup games -- and might well find MLS games an annoying intrusion -- during the next two weeks, the MLS biggies have decided not to compete.
  • Toughest World Cup job: opening game ref
    A week to go for World Cup kickoff. A time of mounting excitement -- and a time of mounting anxiety and nervousness. Nowhere can those last two qualities be more pronounced than among the World Cup referees, the 30 officials selected to take charge of the 64 games.
  • Can this be a soccer ball?
    Honestly, I would not have thought this was possible. How on earth could the pre-tournament complaints about this World Cup's new ball get any more strident, any more stupid than those for previous events?