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  1. Can soccer help the USA to grow up?

    In the cultural landscape of post 9-11 America, a kind of super-charged patriotism has been almost de rigeur, and soccer necessarily has an ambiguous role in that. Could the success of the US Men’s National Team (USMNT) on the international stage of the 2014 World Cup, and their improbable escape from the Group of Death, help encourage Americans to think of their nation as united (for instance between immigrants and native born) and as a nation amongst nations (rather than the one exceptional one)?

    Consider the recent intervention by conservative commentator Ann Coulter. She recently broke her self-imposed silence on soccer to write an article which suggests she may be becoming comfortable in a role as a kind of comedienne and figure of fun for liberal America.


    Updated 27th June 2014 at 11:19 AM by Statisticus

    World Cup , USMNT , National Teams
  2. USA v Germany preview stats

    The USA would very much welcome a draw in this game - which would see both sides progress to the Round of 16 at the expense of Ghana and Portugal.

    However, there has never been a draw between these two sides in their 9 matches (Germany won 6, USA 3) and it remains to be seen if Germany will play ball.


    • The two sides have met twice before at the World Cup. Germany won 2-0 in 1998, (with Jurgen Klinsmann scoring), and 1-0 in the 2002 quarter-finals.
    • Possible goalfest? The last 4 matches between these 2 sides have produced 19 goals.
    • Clint Dempsey needs one more goal to equal Landon Donovan's USA record of 5 World Cup goals.
    • The USA have now conceded 7 goals in the first 5 minutes of World Cup matches – a new record.
    • The USA have only

    Updated 26th June 2014 at 11:58 AM by 11v11

    World Cup , USMNT , National Teams
  3. Is Suarez a werewolf or something?

    What is wrong with Luis Suarez?

    No-one can deny his talent, but that just makes it all the more inexplicable.

    In front of half the world - including impressionable young fans - he has treated us to another display of his animalistic brutishness.For most of us, biting anyone would probably lead to a criminal conviction. If it happened at work we would be dismissed with few questions asked. Our lives would change forever - we might even go to prison.And rightly so. In our society biting each other is not acceptable.Yet Suarez has - at least three times apparently - bitten a fellow professional while at work. Ajax v PSV, 2010Liverpool v Chelsea, 20 April 2013Italy v Uruguay, June 24 2014
    Surely the FIFA Disciplinary Committee must act. This isn’t just ...
  4. Italy v Uruguay preview stats

    A draw is enough for Italy to qualify as they have a superior goal difference to Uruguay.
    The Uruguayans need to win to reach the knock-out stages. Either winning team could top the group if England beat Costa Rica, depending on goal difference.

    Italy v Uruguay stats
    • Italy have lost just 3 of 19 World Cup games against South American teams – including the 1970 final against Brazil.
    • This will be Uruguay's 50th World Cup game (W19, D12, L18)
    • Uruguay have met Italy twice in the World Cup drawing 0-0 in 1970 and losing 0-2 in 1990.
    • Uruguay have missed out on the World Cup knockout stages only three times in 11 previous attempts. The last time was back in 2002.
    • Uruguay's win over England ended a run of 15 World Cup games in which they had failed to beat a European
  5. Costa Rica v England preview stats

    England have, of course, been eliminated at the first group stage of a World Cup for the first time since 1958.
    Costa Rica are already through to the next round. If Costa Rica draw they will definitely top group D. If they lose they could still top the group, depending on goal difference.


    • This will be the first ever match between Costa Rica and England.
    • Costa Rica have scored in all 7 previous World Cup matches v teams from Europe.
    • England have not lost all 3 group games at a major tournament since the 1988 European Championships.
    • Should England lose this would be the first time they have ever ended with zero points in a World Cup group.
    • Roy Hodgson has lost his last 4 games at the World Cup, (including 2 with Switzerland).
    • This is the first
  6. USA v Portugal preview stats

    So far everything has been going well for the USMNT – they could reach the next round but will be looking for a draw, at least, against a possibly demoralised Portugal.
    Portugal have the great Ronaldo, but the historical record looks quite promising for the USA:

    • The USA have won their last 2 games against Portugal, including in the group stage of the 2002 World Cup (3-2).
    • Current US coach Jürgen Klinsmann defeated Portugal as Germany coach at the 2006 World Cup.
    • Portugal's 4-0 defeat against Germany their heaviest World Cup defeat.
    • Current Portugal head-coach Paulo Bento came on as a substitute in the 2002 USA win.
    • The USA has only kept 2 clean sheets in their last 24 World Cup games
    • There were 2 own goals in the USA win against Portugal at the 2002
  7. Italy v Costa Rica – Forza Italia

    Italians and England fans will be cheering for an Italian win which is a statistical likelihood.
    England just need a decent win against Costa Rica and for Italy to win this game and against Uruguay to go through to the next round. We find this a perfectly reasonable scenario and worth a punt at the bookies.


    • Italy and Costa Rica's have never before met in the World Cup
    • Costa Rica have scored in each of their 6 World Cup games against teams from Europe.
    • Italy have scored in their last 15 World Cup game, the best current run of any side.
    • Other than Mexico and the USA, no CONCACAF team has ever won consecutive games at the World Cup.

    Head to Head games

    11/06/94 Costa Rica v Italy 0-1 (International) ...
  8. Chilean fans rampage through Maracana media centre (video)

    Chilean fans burst into the Maracana, before their team’s famous victory against World Cup holders Spain on Wednesday protesting against extortionate ticket prices and chanting “FIFA is a mafia.” Over 100 fans surged through the media centre, providing instant copy and photos for the press regarding the manifest failure of stadium security. FIFA and the Brazilian organisers issued a press release saying, they "condemn these acts of violence." "Ahead of the Spain versus Chile match at the Maracana a group of individuals without tickets violently forced entry into the stadium, breaking fences and overrunning security," the statement continued. "They were contained by the security and did not make it to the seats.” "A group of individuals without tickets violently forced entry ...

    Updated 19th June 2014 at 12:02 PM by 11v11

    World Cup , National Teams
  9. Spain out of World Cup as spirit of the miners carries Chile through

    Spain, the World Cup holders, went out of the World Cup on Wednesday in as the spirit of the Chilean miners proved more powerful than the £500,000 bonus promised to Spanish players for winning the World Cup.

    The video below, featuring the Chilean miners, may have played a role in motivating the Chilean footballers to beat the champions 2-0, and is also persuading many to adopt Chile as their second team:

    Chile v Spain match report
  10. Uruguay v England preview stats

    Uruguay v England

    England played well against Italy but lost the game. Against Uruguay they need to get a decent result or they will be following Spain out of the competition.

    The stats omens are mixed:

    • England have scored in every one of their last 8 World Cup encounters with South American sides.
    • Daniel Sturridge has scored 3 goals in his last 4 appearances for England.
    • Wayne Rooney has not yet scored a World Cup goal. If he plays, this will be his 10th game.
    • They last met in a friendly in March 2006 at Anfield. England won 2-1 with goals by Peter Crouch and Joe Cole.
    • Only 4 teams have progressed to the last 16 after losing their opening game since the current World Cup format was introduced in 1998.

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