Best of the Web, AM Edition
June 24, 2010
Salon: the thrill of World Cup victory Is altitude hurting Wayne Rooney? Martin Samuel: Germany should fear John Terry Rafael Honigstein: Germany showed both strength and weakness against Ghana Jonathan Wilson expands on his previous analysis of Ghana The US should thank the MLS for its success New Zealand's impossible dream Germany's expert picker is an octopus
With South Africans' dreams of soccer glory dashed by the elimination of their Bafana Bafana from the tournament today, fans may now be hoping that at least the World Cup will deliver on the economic boost its organizers have repeatedly promised them. They are likely to be disappointed again. "We want, on behalf of our continent, to stage an event that will send ripples of confidence from the Cape to Cairo—an event that will create social and economic opportunities throughout Africa," former South African President Thabo Mbeki said in the run up to the tournament.
What's in Rooney's Future?
June 19, 2010
I fell in love with soccer watching the English Premier League. Up early every Saturday and Sunday to watch the matches on cable, admiring Lampard's steadiness, Gerrard's will to win, Rooney's excellence, Ashley Cole's daring runs. I admire the pinball they play in La Liga, but I'm passionate about the EPL. Give me the blood, sweat, and tears--I will choose craft over artistry every time. And so even as I root for the Americans in this Cup, I have a soft spot for the Three Lions. And today my heart aches a little. In its own way England's performance yesterday was as shocking as the U.S.
Matt Drudge and the Future of Soccer
June 13, 2010
Has soccer arrived in America? ABC/ESPN and Univision certainly think so -- they paid over $400 million combined to air the World Cup on their stations. The mainstream media think so as well -- the World Cup has been featured on the covers of Time, Vanity Fair, Sports Illustrated and newspapers around the nation. But the surest sign that soccer has hit the big time in the States? Matt Drudge thinks so. Last night the Drudge Report website led with the speculation that World Cup organizers might ban the vuvuzela horns. Earlier in the day he led with a picture of poor Robert Green looking haple
Live From Rustenburg: Savoring English Decline
June 13, 2010
RUSTENBURG, South Africa -- “Well done,” the middle-aged England fan said to me outside Royal Bafokeng Stadium last night after his country’s 1-1 draw against the United States. The civility was less rare than you might imagine. Sure, there was the drunken Brit in the eternal shuttle-bus queue in the red-clay parking lot shouting -- and if you read my first post, you know it brought a smile to my face -- “You’re shit and you know you are!” at a harmless group of flag-clad Americans.
How the U.S. Can Win
June 12, 2010
Pele, the greatest footballer ever, has proved a notoriously dreadful analyst since his retirement. But perhaps none of his pronouncements has been so widely mocked as his suggestion, before Brazil and England met in the 2002 World Cup, that the best player at the tournament so far had been the English defensive midfielder Nicky Butt. Even the jingoistic Daily Mail couldn't get behind that one. Nicky Butt was the greatest case of social promotion in modern football.
A Song for England?
June 09, 2010
In 2006, David Cameron said: “This coyness, this reserve, is, I always think, an intrinsic part of being British. We are understated. We don't do flags on the front lawn.” That was then, however, and now that he's Prime Minister and there's a World Cup on, Mr. Cameron has decreed that the Cross of St. George will fly above Downing Street. As a friend commented, it seems “We don’t do flags on the front lawn—unless the football’s on.” For some reason this reminded me of Merle Haggard's classic Okie from Muskogee. And so, with apologies to Mr.
Funny Old Wayne
June 09, 2010
The average Premier League club has very little to do with you, the supporter, and your life. Yes, it is named after your town, but most of the players come from elsewhere, countries you may never have heard of, stay two or three seasons, then leave. The uniform displays the logo of an offshore gambling website. The owners fly in from the Cayman Islands to snap up your club with foreign oil money, mall money, steel money, or money loaned to them by investors which they are then happy to freight onto your club’s debt.
April 19, 2010
In the run-up to the first goal in the recent game between Real Madrid and Barcelona—known around the world as El Classico—Lionel Messi, currently the best player in the world by a long shot, was fouled and knocked down, only to get up quickly, receive the ball, and pass it on to Xavi, who returned it with a sublime chip over the hapless heads of Real’s defense—and while Raul Albiol* thrashed around as though about to speak in tongues trying to stop him, Messi scored with a shot that simultaneously looked clumsy and exactly perfect.