We Don’t Need No Stinking Octopus
July 10, 2010

¿Quién va a ganar esta cosa ? This is the Goal Post. We don’t need no stinking octopus. I can predict the outcome of the match without Paul. The mollusk seems quite nice, has been perfect in his predictions, but he’s only predicted six games before the final, all of them German. I can do better than that. He might be loveable and edible, but I’m cuddly and he ain’t. I did predict the final. I wrote that the final will be Spain vs. Argentina, and Algeria will win. There you have it. The cynical among you will say that it’s Holland and not Argentina, but that’s simply a technicality.

Luke Dempsey's Best and Worst
July 07, 2010

Best Uniform: Uruguay, for the insouciant way they wore their collars. No two players agreed -- should it be up, a la Eric Cantona; non-existent, a la Brazil, or all messed up? All messed up seemed to dominate. Worst individual performance: Ricardo Clark, USA. Phew, he was dreadful. Substituted after half an hour against Ghana? That's a starting pitcher giving up 8 runs in the top of the first. On two grand slams. No one out. In the post-season. Least enjoyable game: England vs. Algeria. Did anything at all actually happen?

Last Word on the Soccer Wars
June 25, 2010

Grist, you might think, for both sides in the Soccer Wars comes from this Economist poll, which reports that 55% of Americans have no interest whatsoever in the World Cup. See! Soccer will never catch on! Except that 21% of Americans say they are following the tournament at least somewhat closely.

Best of the Web, PM Edition
June 23, 2010

What is the "American" style of play? Sean Ingle: Germany weak at the back? USA-Ghana at even money The BBC's "farcical hype" US vs. Algeria - in photos Zonal Marking on Germany vs. Ghana and England vs. Slovenia Sid Lowe: England survives despite Terry's antics Diego's reserves star

The Trials and the Elation
June 23, 2010

When Landon Donovan finally slammed the Jabulani into the net, 91 minutes after the kickoff, there was one part of me that wondered “Will it count? Will it count?” And not, Alex, because I think there’s been a massive anti-American conspiracy, but simply because the refs in this group stage have been terrible. Contrary to popular prognostication, Koman Coulibaly, according to FIFA's official report, called back Edu’s goal for a foul not by Bocanegra, but by Edu (who didn’t commit a foul); there's a reason FIFA gave Coulibaly a "poor" rating and dropped him for the second round.

The Best of Group C
June 23, 2010

Group C, of course, has been a popular group for our bloggers. Rabih Alameddine kicked off proceedings with a bold pick: So the final will be Spain vs. Argentina, and Algeria will win. Mark it down. England vs. the USA divided the loyalties of some of our bloggers, including Luke Dempsey: So how am I to watch England vs. USA? Who could I possibly cheer for? I’m English, through and through, and what would my late father think … but I’d no more root against the US than want to live anywhere else. How can I be in the position of wanting both teams to win, and neither to even draw?

Best of the Web, AM Edition
June 22, 2010

Mexico and Uruagay both aim to win The French media tries to make sense of their team's collapse Does the World Cup need width? Jonathan Wilson: wide play will be key for U.S. against Algeria Legos make England-Algeria slightly more entertaining. Slightly. How players should deal with the vuvuzelas John Terry made to look like "a guilty schoolboy" And finally, yesterday was the 40th anniversary of what many consider the greatest goal in World Cup history:

Related to Pride, Close to Desire
June 19, 2010

In November 2008, on a Sunday afternoon in Buenos Aires, I happened upon one of those mini-riots peculiar to the moments immediately before or immediately after any first division soccer match. I was walking in a neighborhood by one of the larger train stations, when a train arrived from the vast outer suburbs of the capital, releasing a horde of young fans dressed in red—partisans of Independiente, if memory serves.

Goal Post’s World Cup Bracket Contest
June 08, 2010

In honor of Frank’s opening question (Who is going to win this thing?), we’ve asked our contributors to separate their heartstrings from their cold-blooded capabilities of analysis and fill out tournament brackets. Most are already busy weighing the relative strengths of Slovenia and Algeria and many of our illustrious authors—Aleksandar Hemon, Daniel Alarcón, Rabih Alameddine, Tom Vanderbilt, and Frank Foer—have generously agreed to award signed copies of their books as prizes. Now it’s your turn.

A Prognostication and a Disclaimer
June 08, 2010

Before prognostication, a disclaimer: I have never been able to pick a winner. Not that it has ever stopped me from trying to. Well, it has stopped me from buying stock, but let’s not talk about that. I picked a winner in 1970. I chose Pele and Brazil but I was 10 and my dad told me to. I came close in 1974. I picked Holland–West Germany in the finals (Ajax and Bayern Munich were by the far the top clubs in the early 70’s) but I thought Cruyff and Neeskens would waltz through Beckenbauer and Netzer. Heartbreaker. Oh well, this was then.