World Cup

Arrogance (Spain) 1 Excellence (Paraguay) 0

Against a Paraguayan team that seemed overmatched on paper, Spain looked like a weekend gardener trying to get a balky lawnmower going. No matter how many times it pulled the start cord, it couldn’t get its motor running. Only a late, somewhat fortunate goal by David Villa— in another game with crazy refereeing— afforded Spain a …

Here’s Professor Cranky!

So Spain wins on a 1-0 on a double-pooey-ricochette goal, after: a) a totally legitimate Paraguay goal is culled by an imaginary offsides ruling by the linesman (note to FIFA, check this man’s palms for hair growth, because his eye-sight is clearly defective); b) a totally legitimate Paraguay penalty is blocked, but not ordered …

What’s German For “Bada Bing”?

Germany put a big hurt on Argentina in Cape Town today, but there’s the distinct chance Diego Maradona’s squad isn’t feeling the pain: it never turned up for the match to take the pummelling.

Germany Shuts Argentina Up and Out, 4-0

One of the worst sins you can commit in a big game is to give up an early goal on a free kick. Coaches warn their teams about it all the time. Concentrate. Stick to the player you are marking. No free headers. Yet Thomas Müller left his marker for dead in the third minute of the game to get a head to Bastian Schweinsteiger’s free …

Uruguay Continues to Break African Hearts

Two weeks ago, Uruguay knocked the fight out of Bafana Bafana by beating the host nation 3-0. And now, due to some “gamesmanship” (if we’re being kind), the South Americans have defeated Africa’s remaining hope, Ghana, in controversial fashion.


The two Ghana stars–including the supposed brilliant Mensah (hey, he plays in Europe. Must be good, right)–make mookie-stinks all over themselves not daring to Take The Freaking Shot, while the last shooter from Uruguay rubs their face (and that of the footballing world en masse) with a Pananenka! I don’t mean to rob Uruguay any of its …

Awaiting The Anti-Climax

Sorry, but I hate hate hate hate hate penalty shoot outs, and think they are as equitable a measure for deciding which of two equal sides is better as, say, making the two best rival player strip down stark naked at mid-field then, at the sound of a whistle, see which gets back into his kit faster. (Frankly, I think that solution would …

Boring Brazil Falls to Holland, 2-1

So much for the new Brazil. It’s not that this not-so-special team lost to Holland, 2-1, giving up two goals that your average MLS team would feel ashamed about. It’s that Brazil committed an even worse sin. Brazil was boring. How sad is it that toward the end of the game that Brazil was reduced to sending long balls toward the box …

Orange You Glad You’re Not Brazil?


Well, my earlier criticism of the Dutch is that they’ve tended to play up or down to the level of whatever team they’ve faced each day—a tactic that got them through the group round, but risked being trickier to replicate in the knock-out stage against the cream of the world’s footballing crop. The Netherlands not only …

A Free Soccer Lesson

Last week the video crew headed out to Red Bull Arena outside New York City, to glean some soccer insight that might be useful for casual fans. Chris Albright, a defender for the New York Red Bulls and member of the 2006 U.S. World Cup team, was a great sport. Here is the clip.

90 Seconds With … Rising Ghana Star Stephen Odai

We’ve heard from some of the game’s established players over the course of this World Cup, but what about the names of the future? On the eve of Ghana’s quarter-final against Uruguay, I spoke to a young man striving to make a name for himself and make his family and country proud.

Brazil vs. Holland Will Set Off the World Cup’s Fireworks

The World Cup final is supposed to offer the thrilling climax to a month long tournament that has enthralled billions of people across the planet, but more often than not, it’s a pretty dull game — Italy’s 2006 penalties win came after a bore draw in which Zidane’s red-card earning head butt of Materazzi was the high point; Brazil’s …

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