Blog  Total Football

Losing In Style

In the very last minute of extra time, Dominic Adiyiah headed what should have been the winner for Ghana. The ball, without doubt, was going in. But Uruguay striker Luis Suarez got in the way – with both hands: “The best save of the World Cup," he said later, not the hand of God, “the hand of Suarez.”

It was a decision that would keep Uruguay in the World Cup and would change many lives forever. Suarez was sent off and Ghana was given a penalty. The penalty before the penalties, as we know now. When Ghana’s forward Asamoah Gyan was about to take the shot, a whole continent held its breath. Seconds later, the silence in and outside of the stadium was eerie - after he had only hit the crossbar.

Blog  Total Football

Brazil Needs You!

After crashing out of the World Cup today, Brazil - as yet another big football nation after Italy, France, and England - will have to reinvent its brand of football and build a new "golden generation" of players.

It might need your help, which is why MinimalsWorld ask: "If you played for Brazil, what would your name be?"

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Of Soccer and Snobbery

Interesting piece on "Soccer and Snobbery" by Theodore Dalrymple in the New English Review (hat tip to @axelletess), examing the ramifications of the French World Cup fiasco on French society and civilization at large...

My favorite paragraph:

"The decerebrating effect of football (and no doubt other sports as well) is illustrated by a story that my French brother-in-law told me recently. A couple of months after France won the World Cup in 1998, he went to Tibet. He went to a Buddhist monastery that was two days hard trek from the nearest road. There he met young novices, some of whom spoke a few words of English. They asked him where he was from and he told them.

‘France,’ they said. ‘World Cup. Zidane.’"

Read the full article here.

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World Cup 2010: Conspiracy Theory

Does the power of companies such as Nike, Adidas, and Puma extend beyond the consumer? Is there an influence on FIFA and the 2010 World Cup? Such a highly regarded international tournament would never rig its matches for the sake of promoting sponsors, would it? You be the judge:

Uruguay (Puma) vs. South Korea (Nike) = Uruguay (Puma)
Ghana (Puma) vs. USA (Nike)  =  Ghana (Puma)

Quarter Final: Uruguay vs. Ghana = Puma     

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A Goal is Not a Goal

After today's dramatic 1-4 defeat against Germany, English fans will complain about their disallowed goal, while German fans will argue that it was the long overdue compensation for the controversial English "Wembley Goal" in the World Cup 1966 (see video below). As you can see below, at least for today, there is clear evidence that it was not a goal.

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Is Football Innovative?

If you examine the history of football for groundbreaking, "game-changing" innovations, you realize they have been scarce; by and large the game hasn't changed much. Some innovations resulted from a changing of the rules (on the macro-innovation level, if you will). Most of them, however, were truly driven by either organizational or individual excellence: for example, the position of the "Libero," the "sweeper" before the goal-keeper, who, freed from marking a direct opponent, was mandated with opening a team's game from deep in its own territory (German legend Franz Beckenbauer perfected this role in the '70s); the allure of the "playmaker" (personified by the French Michel Platini in the '80s); the introduction of a three-man defense row in the '90s; the "Sweeper-Keeper" performing the defensive actions of a libero; the increased importance of the "6," the defensive holding midfielder; and the Dutch "Total Football" concept with its fluid, attacking 4-5-1 and 3-2-5 formations.

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The Three Most Beautiful Books about the Beautiful Game

“Writing about football is like dancing to architecture,” one might be inclined to say, slightly paraphrasing Elvis Costello. In other words: it’s tough. The “beautiful game” comes to life in the moment it is experienced, either in the stadium or in front of a screen, alone or with others. And while the seminal games live on in the collective memory of fan communities, cities, regions, and nations, ruthlessly dissected by an army of self-proclaimed pundits who squeeze the last ounces of magic out of football in their data-obsessed post-match analysis, football has always been more about the here and now – because, as we’ve seen so far in this World Cup, anything can happen. So it is not surprising that amidst the flood of football literature there are only a few books, in my eyes, that really capture the beauty of the game. Here are three of them.

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The Best Interactive World Cup Schedule

Try it in full screen mode. Just make sure you haven’t had too many pints first. ;)

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Diego Madonna.....Oops I Mean Maradona*

Diego Maradona is the infamous manager of Argentina's World Cup squad. Maradona made his claim to fame during the 1986 World Cup when he netted two goals in the finals, the first of which was an obvious handball. Madonna Maradona admitted to the handball after Argentinas championship victory yet claimed that his hand was the "hand of God". If that doesn't hint at Maradona's larger than life ego, his month long stay in South Africa will solidfy his "godly" swagger:

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Screaming Crazy

How loudly would you scream for a pair of tickets to support your country in the World Cup?

Japan is certainly excited for it's first match against Cameroon on June 14th. The Japanese Men's National Team sponsored a contest that would give one lucky fan a pair of tickets to South Africa to attend every game Japan plays in. In order to win, you have to scream your heart out..... literally.