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Fair Play

The party’s over, and we’re already forgetting what she looked like. Futfanatico says reality has already been digested by the Spanish metanarrative, while David Gendelman at Fair Play says we’re all already losers. At True/Slant, Zach Dundas argued before the match that the two squads embodied the two sides of soccer: control versus incident, era versus accident. Fake Sigi says it wasn’t the worst World Cup ever, just “crap soccer masquerad[ing] as the pinnacle of the sport.” And The Globe and Mail’s John Doyle enjoyed watching the upending of North American notions of sport as a series of Hallmark moments.

(Image credit: mallix/Flickr through a Creative Commons license.)


Reads of the Day: Mythbusters

How many more historical narratives can this World Cup overturn? The Dutch and the Germans have switched shirts, says David Winner at Fair Play — “Germans are teaching the Dutch to win, the Dutch [like Van Gaal and van Marwijk] are teaching the Germans to play spatially-sophisticated attacking football.” Maybe the narratives of all four semifinalists were never true to being with, argues Tom Dunmore at Pitch Invasion. But beware the voodoo death, warns Minus the Shooting — the physiology of belief, “belief instantiated in the autonomic nervous system,” that underpins why opponents collapse when a German midfielder simply appears organized.

The Best World Cup Referees: The Aura of Pig-Pen

Some World Cup referees are bad, as we know — while some work on their game presence and prepare as meticulously as Mourinho. “You should know in advance what could happen,” says Pierluigi Collina, once considered the best in the game. “You should be informed about the tactics by the teams and the characteristics of the single player, which part they normally play, which part of the field they normally cover, which kind of foot they normally prefer.” (David Gendelman/Fair Play)

Uruguay: No Wet Dreams

Let us now praise Uruguay, although they — stolid, historical losers, unloved — resist it mightily. Santiago Roncagliolo of Fair Play says Uruguayans are the Swiss of Latin America, comfortable with ties, fearful of more disappointment. The Goal Post’s Luke Dempsey shudders at the thought of Diego Forlan, World Cup MVP. And that blog’s Michael Young says he — sick of the symbolism the world heaped upon Ghana — secretly rooted for Uruguay. “Uruguay is not a team that makes people dream,” he writes, “but perhaps that’s why it has slipped through each stage unnoticed.”

Maradona: Viva la Revolución!

The 2008 Emir Kusturica film Maradona by Kusturica isn’t available in the United States — which is apt, given that it reveals Maradona as a revolutionary in short shorts, seeing conspiracies and corrupt power throughout the West and resolved to battle them through soccer…at considerable cost to himself. Even the Hand of God goal was, for Diego, “as if I’d stolen an Englishman’s wallet.” (David Gendelman/Fair Play)