Written by Will Parchman

It’s one of the most famous goals in history. Maradona’s sensational effort against England in the 1986 World Cup came just moments after the infamous “Hand of God” incident. The latter became infamous, the former merely famous as arguably the greatest goal in World Cup history.

For nearly three decades you’ve seen it from this angle. But this brilliant new vantage peels back the curtain not only on the goal but on Maradona’s prodigious skill set. Look at that initial move to get the run started. Quiet brilliance. To the person who released this video: godspeed. I don’t want to know the dens of iniquity you had to frequent to pry this one from the vaults.

 

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Written by The 91st


With today being New Year’s Eve and 2014 starting tomorrow, it only means one thing for soccer fans: the World Cup is almost here.

And to commemorate that — or at least start raising awareness — ESPN has put forth its first commercial promoting this summer’s main event. Get fired up already.

 

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Written by Will Parchman

belgium

Take a look at those two XI’s and marvel at how Belgium, out of the loam of Europe’s paunchy midsection, has somehow become one of the most technically proficient, ruthlessly defensive and yet wonderfully light attacking teams on the planet almost overnight. And note that not included in the XI are world-class U18 wonderkids in Bakkali (PSV), Januzaj (Manchester United) and Eden Hazard’s little brother Thorgan. In another four years Belgium could have the deepest bench on earth.

Perhaps the most generous comparison to be made here is between Spain’s Iniesta-Xavi-Puyol generation that undergirded Spain’s otherworldly run both in Europe and at the World Cup. It would surprise no one if it was never duplicated. The talent level certainly bares out the link. But the one that seems to hold more water now (even as Belgium has yet to really climb for any substantive summits with this incredibly young nucleus) is Portugal and its Golden Generation. A cautionary tale.

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Written by Will Parchman

Watch that video and tell me what you see.

Sepp Blatter is in Haiti on a much publicized CONCACAF tour, and the Blatter Experience was in full swing. Swaying through rutted dirt streets, shanties leaning over the crowded thoroughfares, Sepp swaggers through with a besuited entourage en route to a ribbon cutting. Stepping over and around the issue but never in it. The FIFA way.

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Written by Will Parchman

nike-wtf-ronaldo-statue

Let’s face it. Hyperbole is great. When you hit a wall at mile six, mentally cue up a gritty freestyle tournament in Barcelona against some of the world’s best players, paint on some 300-style mood lighting and imagine yourself going ham on Messi to some industrial remix of a Nina Simone song. Works literally every time.

The best soccer commercials are absolutely flawless at tapping into the best parts of hyperbole, mining them for meaning and then releasing it to run wild in our imagination. Totti and Henry on a freestyle team together? Allowing you to feel like you’re climbing the ladder for Arsenal? Of course. Natural.

The quality of substantive soccer commercials has skyrocketed in recent years. With the advent of technology and the increase in production value, you’re seeing classics spring up left and right. I don’t recall any soccer commercials from the ’94 World Cup, but the most advanced was probably Lalas cracking open a Pepsi and smiling.

With that in mind, my top five soccer commercials of all time. Now with even more immensity.

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Written by Will Parchman

It’s no secret the Brazilian World Cup experiment has had its detractors (see the protests raging there now). But as costs mount, so too do the questions. Is it worth it?

Scope out this video. It does as good a job as any at enumerating the various ways in which Brazilians are nonplussed about this whole thing.

 

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Written by Rudy Madrigal

Maracana Stadium: Brazil will take on England in a friendly on Sunday

With doubts preceding the first match open to the public in Rio’s Maracana Stadium, everything played out smoothly. A couple days prior to the June 2nd Brazil vs. England match, a court had ruled that the game would be postponed due to security and safety issues. A couple days later, the ruling was overturned and the match would be played as scheduled. The result was a 2-2 tie in a friendly that was, well, just that, friendly.

It’s good to see that the stadiums in Brazil are appearing to be on schedule and set to be ready for this summer’s Confederation Cup and next summer’s World Cup. And I do really like the new seats that have been put in Maracana. The yellow merging into the blue then white give the stadium a real samba feel.

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Mestalla turns 90

Written by Rudy Madrigal

On May 20, Mestalla Stadium, home of Valencia C.F., turned 90 years-old. While the stadium may not be one of the most well known or glamorous, it is nonetheless an important one. First opened in 1923, the original capacity was 17,000, but quickly expanded to 25,000. Today, the stadium holds 55,000, is the fifth-largest in Spain and is considered to have one of the most feared stadium atmospheres in all of Europe. With the steep and towering seats, there really isn’t a bad seat in the house. Being 90 years-old, the stadium has a long and storied history, having been through the Spanish Civil War and the flood of 1957, among other things. It hosted all of Spain’s games during the 1982 World Cup (used to be the national team’s home stadium) and the Copa del Rey final in 2011.

Read about the atmosphere and see more pics after the jump

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Neymar

After constant crowd speculation of the 21-year-old leaving to Europe for Barcelona, Neymar made it known that he will be dazzling Santos fans at least until his contract is up after the 2014 Cup.

Neymar’s father revealed the following:

“He can choose some club in Europe, but we want him to see out his contract and if he happens to leave before that, it won’t be our choice. It will be Santos.”

And honestly, that doesn’t seem likely to happen as Santos and fans seem to be completely satisfied with their young goal scorer.

In the Brazil-Chile friendly, Neymar scored the tying goal in the newly renovated Mineirao stadium in Belo Horizonte. The game was a disappointment to most Brazilians, but Neymar continues to look on the bright side, defending the crowd and his country.

“One day you’re booed, the next you’re praised, football’s like that.”

[Soccer365]

 

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Written by Rudy Madrigal

Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro Brazil

Brazil’s cathedral of soccer stadiums, Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, is set for its first test event ahead of the 2013 Confederations Cup and 2014 World Cup. The stadium will host the final of the world’s biggest single sport tournament next year and the opening ceremony of the Olympics two years later in 2016. Amid fears from FIFA that the country would not be able to finish the stadium in time, it appears that they’re actually a tad bit behind schedule.

The first test event will be a friends of Ronaldo verus friends of Bebeto exhibition match that is closed to the public. At only 10% capacity, those in attendance will be the construction workers and their families, the press and Brazil president Dilma Rousseff. Following a couple more test events, the first event open to the public will be an exhibition match on June 2nd against England, which the fans are more than excited for.

Having personally witnessed a match in Maracana before the renovations (which began more than two years ago) I am personally excited to see an updated, new and improved Maracana Stadium. It’s a stadium that is not only important to Brazil and Rio, but to the world of soccer.

 

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