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World Cup

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

U.S. Women's National Team to face Switzerland in Cary on Aug. 20

Posted By on Wed, Jul 16, 2014 at 2:55 PM

Today, U.S. Soccer announced that the U.S. Women's National Team will face Switzerland in an international friendly on Wednesday, Aug. 20 at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. This will be the first time the senior women’s squads for the U.S. and Switzerland have faced each other. The U.S., currently the top-ranked team in the world by FIFA, will attempt to qualify for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup this October at the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship tournament. Switzerland, currently ranked no. 19 in FIFA’s world rankings, is one of six nations that have already qualified for next year’s World Cup in...

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Brazil 2014: Looking back, looking forward, going nowhere

Posted By on Thu, Jul 15, 2010 at 10:03 AM

Andy Mead/ YCJSoccer City, Johannesburg, South Africa. Regular league games in South Africa typically draw 8,000.RIO DE JANEIRO—The 2010 World Cup is history. Spain were deserving winners over a preternaturally violent Dutch side that should have been sent to Robben Island for a week of rock breaking. The juxtaposition of the villainous anti-football of Mark Van Bommel and Nigel De Jong to the heroic jogo bonito of Xavi and Iniesta gave Spain well-deserved moral and sporting triumphs. By most popular accounts, the 2010 tournament was a success: relatively safe streets, beautiful stadiums, decent organization and incredible hospitality on the part...

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

In defense of Dutch thuggery

Posted By on Tue, Jul 13, 2010 at 1:06 PM

Jamie McDonaldMark Van Bommel doing his thing, Xabi Alonso doing his.As soccer pundits put together their post-mortems on this World Cup, media around the world are piling on the Dutch for their tactics in the Final. From every sports page across the world have come lamentations and protestations that Holland did not play the game the right way; they did not play the beautiful game. To these people and their histrionic protestations, I offer this advice: Get over yourselves. It has become accepted gospel in soccer circles that two of the great teams in soccer history did not win the...

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Monday, July 12, 2010

The art of the 1-0

Posted By on Mon, Jul 12, 2010 at 11:58 AM

Lars BaronSpain's Andres Iniesta races off to celebrate his 116th-minute winner while Holland's Maarten Stekelenburg contemplates defeat.RICHMOND, VA—At least it all ended with a perfectly good goal. No question about offside (Dutch whining aside in the immediate aftermath), no controversy—and also, importantly, no flukes, and no ridiculous Forlan/Jabulani special strikes from distance. Just a simple 6-yard pass into space to beat an offside trap, followed by a solid finish on a ball that frankly should have been finished. A basic bread-and-butter good soccer play, by two masters of the business, Cesc Fabregas and Andres Iniesta. That play in the 116th...

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Sunday, July 11, 2010

A short history of the Dutch in South Africa, 1652-2010

Posted By on Sun, Jul 11, 2010 at 9:10 AM

Laurence GriffithsHolland's Dirk Kuyt, seen against Uruguay in the semifinalRICHMOND, VA—The Dutch East India Company established a small settlement at what is now Cape Town in 1652. The initial purpose of the settlement was to provide a rest stop and supply station for trading vessels making the long journey from Europe, around the cape of southern Africa, and on to India and other points eastward. Slavery (of Africans, but also of some Asians) was a feature of the new colony almost from day one, as was the process of subjugating the local indigenous population. Academic historians commonly refer to the...

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Saturday, July 10, 2010

Here's hoping the World Cup Final ends in penalty kicks

Posted By on Sat, Jul 10, 2010 at 1:10 PM

As the World Cup Final looms, there’s no clear consensus on who will win it all. What people seem to agree on, though, is that they hope the match will be decided before it comes to a penalty-kick shootout. Soccer purists hate penalty-kick shootouts. They seem like an unfair way to settle a match after two hours of often-intense play, and the final victor seems a bit arbitrary in the end. Or, so the argument goes. Clive RoseJapanese midfielder Makoto Hasebe slots home his penalty kick against Paraguay. Japan lost the round of 16 contest after the 0-0 match went...

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Thursday, July 8, 2010

World Cup 2010, by the numbers

Posted By on Thu, Jul 8, 2010 at 12:24 AM

Joern PollexDavid Villa leaves the field against Germany, looking like he's just been informed that he's the highest-rated attacker in the World Cup, according to the FIFA Castrol Index.RICHMOND, VA—So it is Spain and Holland in the final of the World Cup—a worthy matchup. Spain would have been in almost anyone's list of the top two teams in the world headed into this tournament, and Holland have a perfect six wins from six in South Africa. We'll have to wait until Sunday to find out which European power will get to write its name on the World Cup trophy for...

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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Impossible Germany, not-so-unlikely Spain

Posted By on Tue, Jul 6, 2010 at 9:51 PM

Laurence GriffithsSpain's players (from right, Alonso, Fabregas, Ramos, Villa) celebrate a quarterfinal victory over Paraguay RICHMOND, VA—Is it possible for a English-language sportwriter to write an article about the German national soccer team without any reference to World War I, World War II, any past national leaders, any references to "efficiency," or any references to the words "blitzkrieg" and "Aryan?" I don't know, and it's obviously too late for this article to accomplish that feat. But let's pretend for a moment that the German national side that has now dismantled England and Argentina in four-star fashion were actually from California...

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Semifinals begin today: Previewing Uruguay—Holland (and why Uruguay shouldn't apologize)

Posted By on Tue, Jul 6, 2010 at 7:28 AM

Richard HeathcoteWesley Sneijder of the DutchRIO DE JANEIRO—There are 3,510,386 Uruguayans living in Uruguay. As with 21 of the 23 players on the Uruguayan roster, some three million more Uruguayans live and work outside of the República Oriental del Uruguay. Uruguay is nestled snugly between Brazil and Argentina. Uruguay is lovely. It is fun to repeat "Uruguay." The Asociación Uruguaya de Fútbol (AUF) is bidding for the 2030 World Cup, which would mark the Cup’s centennial in the Estadio Centenário, originally named for the 100th anniversary of Uruguayan independence. In 1930, when Uruguay had 1,734,000 residents, they beat Argentina in...

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Saturday, July 3, 2010

Reading the newspapers in Cape Town; rooting for Ghafana Ghafana

Posted By on Sat, Jul 3, 2010 at 9:13 AM

CAPE TOWN—It's a joy reading the vibrant, provocative Cape Town press. The Cape Times today leads with a mammoth headline—"Cup gets 9/10 from tourists," and I believe the headline is not far off. Then the news that the Ghana team, newly dubbed “Ghafana Ghafana” by the supportive South African fans, will get some face time with Nelson Mandela himself. The Sun notes that Ghana's Serbian coach has called on the assistance of a Serbian healer who reads animal entrails in tonight's match against Uruguay. The Times also reported today that it may or may not be true that the losing...

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Brazil play beautiful football and lose to the Dutch; the conspiracy theories mount

Posted By on Sat, Jul 3, 2010 at 7:51 AM

Richard HeathcoteArjen Robben made key contributions on the cut-up pitch of Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.RIO DE JANEIRO—Brazil were brilliant for 53 minutes. Holland were terrible for 75. For about an hour, Brazil had constant midfield pressure, were recovering the ball with ease, winning the tactical battle, attacking with fluidity and pace. Kaká was playing well, looking comfortable on the ball. Robinho was running hard, Dani Alves and Maicon were causing problems for the Dutch, there was no beating of Lúcio and Juan in the air. The orange defense struggled to cope with blue movement. Robinho’s...

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When cynicism succeeds: Deliberate handball lifts Uruguay over Ghana

Posted By on Sat, Jul 3, 2010 at 12:27 AM

RICHMOND, VA—Let me first state that there has been much to admire about how Uruguay has played this World Cup. They are worthy semifinalists, and might yet win the tournament. That said, events in the 120th minute of Uruguay's shootout victory over Ghana mar—in my book anyway—the South American side's passage to the final four. The most elemental rule of soccer is that you cannot use your hands. And in particular, you cannot deliberately use your hands to stop the progress of a ball struck by the opponent. But Uruguay's resort to an extraordinarily blatant handball on the line...

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Friday, July 2, 2010

Dutch delight, Brazilian breakdown

Posted By on Fri, Jul 2, 2010 at 12:04 PM

RICHMOND, VA—Sir Alex Ferguson is capable of making some remarkably biased comments whenever Manchester United or its nearest rivals are involved, but the veteran manager (and ex-Scotland boss) is generally well worth listening to when discussing football in general. Fergie was quoted by FourFourTwo magazine as saying World Cups don't really get going until the quarterfinal stage. The quarterfinal stage is here, and if today's first match is any indication, both the intensity and the pressure have risen two or three notches from the previous rounds. A rather stunning second-half meltdown by Brazil sees them crashing out of the...

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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Five reasons why you shouldn't join the Brazil bandwagon in this World Cup

Posted By on Thu, Jul 1, 2010 at 1:41 PM

When the clock read 120 minutes at Rustenburg, U.S. fans were naturally crestfallen. Americans drawn to soccer for the first time by the spectacle of the World Cup will, I imagine, mostly stop paying attention now that they do not have a national rooting interest. Others, though, will look for new teams to support. Understanding this, I feel compelled to perform a public service: do NOT root for Brazil. Andy Mead/YCJKaka belongs to Jesus, but not in the conversation among the world's best.Shocking, I know. Nike commercials in airports and endless streams of idiotic drivel about Joga Bonito have convinced...

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

World Cup reveals "hopefulness, a newness, a sense of progress" in South Africa

Posted By on Tue, Jun 29, 2010 at 1:34 PM

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA — Cape Town, June 29, noon, and the streets are filling up with fans of Spain and Portugal wearing their scarves and wigs and jerseys, the national flags draped across their backs, faces painted. The vuvuzelas already blare, as they do almost every moment. Andy Mead/YCJBzzzzzzzz off, vuvuzelas.So let’s talk about the vuvuzelas. They are, indeed, a South African tradition, and there are some beauts — beaded and painted masterpieces. But Coca-Cola has got hold of them, too, and filled the Fan Fests — the giant outdoor viewing areas with the jumbotrons and music acts —...

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Sunday, June 27, 2010

What is justice? Blown call in England-Germany game shows need for goal-line video

Posted By on Sun, Jun 27, 2010 at 12:49 PM

RICHMOND, VA—There are only certain conditions under which all of a soccer ball crossing all of a white line painted on a patch of green grass has any significance whatsoever. But Frank Lampard and England had every right to believe that the ball he struck from about 20 yards out over German keeper's Manuel Neuer's head met all of the relevant conditions: A competitive soccer match was under way, the ball was in play, no foul was committed, no one was offside and the ball hit the underside of the crossbar before bouncing at least a yard behind the...

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England v. Germany: Tale of the Tape

Posted By on Sun, Jun 27, 2010 at 8:46 AM

World Cups Won All Time: Germany (W. Germany) 3, England 1Head to Head Results at Knockout Stage: Germany 2 wins (1970, 1990), England 1 win (1966)...

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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Win as a Country, Lose as a Country

Posted By on Sat, Jun 26, 2010 at 7:56 PM

RICHMOND, VA—The United States will not be the world champions of soccer over the next four years. Ghana probably will not either. But Ghana still have hope after defeating the U.S. 2-1 in extra time on Saturday in the sweet 16 of the Fifa World Cup (annoying Trademark mark). (On a side note, I was in Philadelphia Thursday and Friday, and was impressed by the bar at 30th Street station which had a printed poster announcing it would show all games in the "2010 World Soccer Tournament" to avoid having to pay some kind of fee to FIFA to use...

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Friday, June 25, 2010

Previewing Brazil-Portugal; racism in Brazilian media

Posted By on Fri, Jun 25, 2010 at 11:06 AM

RIO DE JANEIRO—It’s pretty amazing that Brazil, year after year, Cup after Cup, is always the team to beat. It’s hard for Brazil not to be in the group of death, because they are death to opponents. Not only has Brazil won more cups than any other nation, they have more victories and the highest points per game average, the most goals, the most everything. It’s hard to think of Brazil as a place without thinking about how many times they’ve won the World Cup. Even with the crappy team Dunga has assembled, they’re going to finish top of their...

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Reflections on watching Brazil with Brazilians

Posted By on Thu, Jun 24, 2010 at 12:06 PM

Andy Mead/ YCJIvory Coast's Emmanuel Eboue takes down Brazil's Kaká. RIO DE JANEIRO—The Rio de Janeiro FIFA Fan Fest (FFF) is a textbook example of how space can be manipulated to create and reproduce socio-economic hierarchies, cultural value systems and accelerate patterns of consumption. Watching Brazil versus Ivory Coast there on Sunday afternoon was a strangely unemotional experience in a country and city that prides itself on stopping everything for the national team. The streets surrounding the FFF in Copacabana were full of yellow clad fans heading in all directions. Since it was Sunday afternoon, the Avenida Atlântica was closed...

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Preview day 14: Who else will join us (U.S.) in the knockout stages?

Posted By on Thu, Jun 24, 2010 at 9:39 AM

One game changes everything, the saying goes. For the United States it was more like one kick, a single Landon Donovan tap in propelled the Americans from elimination to winning a group for the first time since 1930. Coincidentally that year was the country’s most successful tournament in history as they advanced to the semifinals. Things are shaping up similarly now with the USA set to face Ghana for the right to play Uruguay or South Korea. And today, after the single most important strike in USA history and with a country experiencing the World Cup fever that others romanticize...

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

USA! USA! USA! Late Donovan goal saves World Cup dreams

Posted By on Wed, Jun 23, 2010 at 12:06 PM

Andy Mead/ YCJLandon Donovan and teammates Edson Buddle (left) and Benny Feilhaber after the game-winner in stoppage time.RICHMOND, VA—It was shaping up to be the Year We Got Robbed, the moment the American soccer-interested public lost faith in the game's underlying propensity to justice and, worse yet, the moment folks stopped reading World Cup blog postings. Instead, a clutch goal capping a well-worked team move in injury team has sent the U.S. through to the second round, and sent throngs of jubilant soccer fans into ecstasy around the country. It was fitting that the two best American players were at...

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Hosts bow out with dignity intact; France not so much

Posted By on Tue, Jun 22, 2010 at 12:03 PM

RICHMOND, VA—The usual cliches about a side "crashing" out of a competition in no way apply to South Africa's exit from this World Cup. Bafana Bafana put together not just a spirited but a technically excellent performance over the first hour of today's match vs. France, taking a two goal lead and very nearly going up 3-0 early in the second half when Katlego Mphela's close range effort hit the post. For a solid half hour, the impossible seemed possible: South Africa might win the match 4-0 and supplant Mexico as Group A's runner-up. Instead, France got its act...

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Africa on the brink as final games of group stage commence

Posted By on Tue, Jun 22, 2010 at 1:13 AM

RICHMOND, VA—Believe it or not, after 11 days of non-stop soccer, one-half of the World Cup is complete. Starting Tuesday, the tournament kicks up a notch with the final day of group play, as nations will begin to exit stage right en masse. Leading that parade almost certainly will be host nation South Africa. South Africa needs two unlikely events to transpire. First, they need Uruguay to beat Mexico, preferably by two goals. Next, they need to beat France, by at least two and possibly three goals. Ordinarily one would say this was completely impossible. But with the complete...

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Friday, June 18, 2010

Over-Rated!

Posted By on Fri, Jun 18, 2010 at 5:01 PM

RICHMOND, VA—Insipid, lacking belief, out of ideas, toothless, timid. All those words at the moment appear to be the answer to this riddle: what happens when you cross a bunch of English soccer players with Italian "tactical guile"? Merry old England made a mockery of Henry V, St. George and for that matter Bobby Charlton and Stuart Pearce with a frankly sad display against Algeria, hardly mustering a meaningful strike at goal over the 90 minutes....

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This was a great read until we got to the World Cup part (who knows or cares, this is America) …

by ProudlyUnaffiliated on A short history of the Dutch in South Africa, 1652-2010 (Sports)

what i gonna to do is to be my hero and be awesome, just like them, cannot change history and …

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wwe is too violate, if some can fix it that will be okay.

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I find myself not caring about any of this. Amazing how such a "strong, proud, powerful people" could lose the …

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Gaffe-r is right...he f8cks up all the time. "A lot of success over the last 3 years"....less smoke blows out …

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This was a great read until we got to the World Cup part (who knows or cares, this is America) …

by ProudlyUnaffiliated on A short history of the Dutch in South Africa, 1652-2010 (Sports)

what i gonna to do is to be my hero and be awesome, just like them, cannot change history and …

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