Five Future Stars to Watch at the World Cup

Forget Rooney and Ronaldo, Messi and Eto’o. World Cups are often more about the stars who emerge from under the radar than the ones already anointed before the first kick off. Here are five youthful talents (probably) destined to be household names by the tournament’s end.

Angel di Maria, 22, Argentina


Spain’s Exquisite Headache


The coach that leaves Fernando Torres or Cesc Fabregas on the bench would be deemed certifiably insane — or on the take — in every football playing country in the world, except one: Spain’s coach Vicente del Bosque may be forced to do just that, in order to field the

The Silence of William Gallas

So it turns out that France defender Gallas has decided not to talk to the press “for the duration of the tournament”, as a team official put it. Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris added ominously (if helpfully), “Whatever happens in our squad stays in our squad.” Rumor has it that Gallas is angry that France have made Patrice Evra the captain, …

Hello Joburg

There were four sections on my British Airways flight to Johannesburg from London: first, business, coach, and sombrero. The flight was filled with Mexican fans on their way to the World Cup to root for their cherished El Tri, the Three Colors. Our flight was delayed for about an hour because BA was having a hard time getting our 747 …

Fabio Fumes and the Diplomats Raise the — ahem — Steaks

Today in England World Cup news (fear not — not a regular feature!): Coach Fabio Capello loses his sh…irt with the country’s notorious photographers during training. Meanwhile, the highly respected English and U.S. Ambassadors decide to have a wager over this Saturday’s showdown. ‘Twas ever thus.

How to Pick Your World Cup Nation: Look at Its Carbon Emissions

Choosing a World Cup squad to support can be a complicated task, particularly for those, like yours truly, whose country didn’t qualify for the 32-team tournament (India is absent, and will remain so till time immemorial). One nation may play an exciting brand of football, but its leading star could be a contemptible cheat. Or …

France’s World Cup: “Can We Go Home Now?”

Don’t tell the French this World Cup isn’t all over for them before it even starts. Suggesting otherwise is largely brushed off on Planet France–the largest consuming nation of tranquilizers and anti-depressants anywhere. Right now, optimism is mostly seen as merely forestalling the soccer agony that fate has in store for l’equipe de

Point Guard On the Pitch

If, for some reason, you’re inclined to turn to websites other than ours for World Cup commentary – and really, why would you be? – here’s one worth looking at:, where two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash will be filing a series of eight video reports from South Africa. Nash, who was born in Johannesburg, is a self-described …

What Inter Milan Tells Us About Italy’s World Cup Chances


Tuesday’s appointment of former Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez to run Italian treble-winners Inter Milan confirms a trend that signals a problem for Italy’s national team: Last season, under Portugal’s Jose Mourinho — now off to head up Real Madrid — Inter won all …

And Talking of Tempers, Will Eto’o Implode?


With Didier Drogba fighting to overcome a fractured arm to play in the tournament, the media’s search for Africa’s great hope has settled, perhaps somewhat improbably, on Cameroon’s Samuel Eto’o. Not that the Inter Milan striker is anything but a supremely gifted …

Will Wayne Rooney’s Temper Be His Undoing? Again?

They were the words every England fan dreaded to hear. Wayne Rooney’s colorful choice of language — the key word rhymes with an object in hockey — to the referee in his country’s final warm-up game before their campaign begins against the U.S. this Saturday was a potential precursor for why England’s continuing drought in international …

Welcome to the Greatest Show on Earth!

Strap yourself in, make sure your diary is clear until July 11 and get set for a fantastic fiesta of football. The 19th World Cup, being held in Africa for the first time, is almost upon us.

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