The Week: Most Recent Sports:World Cup Mania recent posts.en-usWed, 11 May 2011 18:24:00 -0400http://theweek.com Recent Sports:World Cup Mania from THE WEEKWed, 11 May 2011 18:24:00 -0400The World Cup's escalating bribery scandal<img src="" /></P><p>Last December, England was crushed when FIFA, soccer's governing body, rejected its $25 million bid to host the 2018 World Cup, despite an "excellent and remarkable" presentation by David Beckham, Prince William, and Prime Minister David Cameron. After the hosting honors went instead to Russia (and to Qatar for 2022, despite that country's extreme heat and lack of sporting infrastructure), some theorized that a <em>BBC</em> and <em>Sunday Times</em> investigation into FIFA corruption had triggered a backlash against the Brits. Now, Britain's former Football Association chairman, Lord Triesman, has revealed that...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffWed, 11 May 2011 18:24:00 -0400World Cup 2010: By the numbers<img src="" /></P><p><span>The World Cup is over: Spain are champions, South Africa won the respect of nearly everyone with its hosting prowess, and Paul the "psychic" octopus became a global sensation. But that's not the whole story. Here, a look at the tournament through a numerical lens</span>:</p><p><strong>8</strong><br />Goals Spain scored in their seven games in South Africa, a record low for a World Cup champion</p><p><strong>60</strong><br />Percentage of the time defensive-minded Spain held the ball during its matches, also a record</p><p><strong>14</strong><br />Numbers of yellow cards issued during Spain's final brutal match with the Netherlands</p><p><strong>700 million</strong><br />People worldwide who watched the World Cup...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffMon, 12 Jul 2010 16:23:00 -0400World Cup winner: Africa?<img src="" /></P><p>After defeating the Netherlands 1-0 in a closely contested match, Spain has won the World Cup for the first time &mdash; but host country South Africa came out looking pretty good, too. In a nation best known for its poverty, racial divisions, and AIDS epidemic, South Africa proved the skeptics and naysayers wrong and showed that an African nation can host World Cup with resounding success. If South Africa and its neighbors can build off this regional PR coup, will the world's poorest continent ultimately be the biggest winner of the 2010 World Cup? (Watch a compilation of the top moments from...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffMon, 12 Jul 2010 10:25:00 -0400The World Cup's best moments</P><p>&nbsp;</p><div ><div ><iframe rel="" src="" width="420" height="451" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allowtransparency="true"></iframe></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffMon, 12 Jul 2010 07:26:00 -0400Spain vs. Holland: Who will win the World Cup Final?<img src="" /></P><p>After nearly a month of drama, the World Cup pool has been whittled down to just two teams: Spain and the Netherlands. Despite coming into the tournament as a favorite, Spain has never played in a World Cup final before, while Holland last reached the championship round in 1978. The match promises to be a ferocious contest, and fascinating clash of styles &mdash; but which team will walk away with the coveted Jules Rimet trophy on Sunday?</p><p><strong>SPAIN</strong></p><p>The Dutch pioneered "total football" &mdash; the slick, tactical game that added beauty and intelligence to the sport in the 1970s, says Brian Phillips...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffFri, 09 Jul 2010 12:40:00 -0400The World Cup's dirty little secret<img src="" /></P><p>While the world's media has been focusing on bungling referees and blown calls during the 2010 World Cup, writes Stefan Fatsis at the <em>New Republic</em>, it's been business as usual for the bigwigs in charge of the beautiful game. The sport's governing body &mdash; known worldwide by its French acronym FIFA &mdash; is a "house of privilege, arrogance and corruption" that makes the scandal-plagued International Olympic Committee look like the Supreme Court. Under the auspices of president Sepp Blatter, FIFA has endured numerous patronage and corruption scandals in recent years &mdash; yet has somehow...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffWed, 07 Jul 2010 12:06:00 -0400The 6 most shameless World Cup dives<img src="" /></P><p>Anyone who has watched an international soccer match knows that players often drop to the ground in seeming paroxysms of pain &mdash; with or without an actual injury. A light brush of the hand might cause a wiley star to drop and roll around on the turf "as if he had been doused with pepper spray." The reason? To trick the referee and win a penalty or free kick. Though some fans defend "diving," as it is known, as a form of gamesmanship, many commentators have been troubled and disgusted by the antics at this World Cup. Here are the six notable cases:</p><p><strong>1. Abdul Kader Keita (Ivory Coast)</strong><br /><em>Match:...</em></p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffThu, 01 Jul 2010 14:22:00 -0400Do soccer referees need instant replay?<img src="" /></P><p>Is it time for video refereeing in soccer? While purists deplore the idea, English and Mexican fans both saw obviously wrong refereeing calls cost their teams World Cup momentum. In England's case, television replays showed the ball clearly crossing their rival's goal line before being snatched back by the goalkeeper, while a scoring shot against Mexico was later revealed to be offside. FIFA president Sepp Blatter has now apologized to both countries for the errors, and said he will re-examine the case for giving refs access to video technology. Is change inevitable? (Watch England's disallowed...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffWed, 30 Jun 2010 11:16:00 -0400The 'curse' of Nike's World Cup ad<img src="" /></P><p>Critics called it the "best ad ever," but many fans are rueing Nike's World Cup spot as the tournament enters its final stages. Nearly every soccer player prominently featured in the lavish "Write the Future" ad had an extremely poor World Cup campaign, leading to a great deal of only half-facetious speculation about whether the commercial had "cursed" its superstar protagonists. "Not one of its stars has played anything like the beautiful game," says Asher Klein in<em> The New York Times</em>, and many of them crashed out in the group stages &mdash; "does that spell out a curse?" Yes, it does, says Richard...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffTue, 29 Jun 2010 12:40:00 -0400Can this octopus predict World Cup winners?</P><p>Feast your eyes on Paul, an octopus who has successfully predicted the outcome of all three of Germany's World Cup games &mdash; including the German team's shocking loss to Serbia in the first round. Before each match, trainers at Sea Life Aquarium in Oberhausen, Germany offer the eight-armed oracle two (food filled) boxes labeled with rival countries' flags and wait breathlessly for him to make his selection. This is just "shameless aquarium publicity," says Ryan Bailey at Yahoo Sports. However, I must concede, octopuses are "renowned as the most intelligent of the invertebrates, and Paul has...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffFri, 25 Jun 2010 12:53:00 -0400Is soccer finally winning over Americans?<img src="" /></P><p>Landon Donovan's dramatic end-of-game goal in yesterday's USA vs Algeria game may have done more than just put the USA into the next round of the World Cup &mdash; some commentators are speculating that the team's newfound success on the global stage could propel soccer into the top-tier of American spectator sports, alongside baseball, football and basketball. Is that wishful thinking? (Watch an ESPN report about Team USA's heroics)</p><p><strong>This terrific team could be the key to soccer's success: </strong>"The growth of soccer in America simply cannot be denied," says Ken Gude at the Huffington Post. "Tens of...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffThu, 24 Jun 2010 15:10:00 -0400World Cup: 5 more reasons to hate vuvuzelas<img src="" /></P><p>When the USA soccer team takes to the field against Ghana at the World Cup on Saturday, only one thing's certain: The ubiquitous drone of the vuvuzela will drown out American fans' cheers. The sonic assault from the controversial plastic horns has so far been loudest at the games featuring African teams &mdash; and Ghana, as the home continent's last remaining team in contention, may well inspire a new record. Players from France and Argentina have blamed the vuvuzelas for poor performances, but its distracting din is just one reason to hate the infamous instruments. (Watch the "Fellowship...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffThu, 24 Jun 2010 13:50:00 -0400USA's 'euphoric' World Cup victory<img src="" /></P><p>America is headed for the second round of the World Cup, defeating Algeria 1-0 with a dramatic injury time goal from striker Landon Donovan. Team USA also qualified ahead of England on goal difference, marking the first time they have topped their first-round group since 1930. Donovan's decisive goal &mdash; a close-range blast off a rebound from Algerian goalkeeper Rais M Bolhi &mdash; came only three minutes before the final whistle blew, with U.S. fans poised on the edge of despair. (Watch Donovan's game-winning goal.) Here are some first reactions from blogosphere:</p><p><strong>"Hats off":</strong> Donovan's goal...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffWed, 23 Jun 2010 13:24:00 -0400What's your opinion on North Korea in the World Cup?</P><p><noscript>Was it wrong for FIFA, soccer's international governing body, to let North Korea compete in the World Cup?<span >online survey</span></noscript></p><div class="pollLink clearfix"><p>Click to see all of <em>The Week</em>'s most recent polls</p>Vote now</div> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffTue, 22 Jun 2010 17:22:00 -0400Was it wrong to let North Korea play?<img src="" /></P><p>North Korea suffered an epic 7-0 drubbing by Portugal in Monday's World Cup action, guaranteeing the team's early exit from the tournament. But <span ></span>that doesn't change the fact that the outlaw state "should have been excluded" from the start, says Eve Fairbanks in <em>Newsweek</em>. Just as the worldwide 80s-era "sports boycott" of apartheid South Africa did wonders to "heighten outside awareness of the evils of [the] regime," so too would a World Cup ban on North Korea. Instead, FIFA &mdash; and South Africa &mdash; allowed the "inhumane" dictatorship of Kim Jong-il in, possibly helping to gain unwarranted...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffTue, 22 Jun 2010 11:30:00 -0400World Cup: Inside France's 'soap opera' meltdown<img src="" /></P><p>In the high pressure environment of a World Cup tournament, poor on-field results can lead to behind-the-scenes fireworks &mdash; and for this year's French team, the pyrotechnics have been spectacular. After two dismal outings, the 1998 World Cup champs are not only on the verge of being eliminated in the first round, but of becoming a national embarrassment. (Watch the French team refuse to practice.) Here's a guide to France's ongoing soccer "soap opera":</p><p><strong>How did all this start?</strong><br />After a disappointing 0-0 tie in their first game with Uruguay, France was expected to step on the gas in their match...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffMon, 21 Jun 2010 12:10:00 -0400