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World Cup 2010

You could go to World Cup 2010 and write about xenophobia, corruption, poverty and theft…and still think the tournament was a triumph for South Africa, lose your mind when Landon Donovan scored. ”The beauty and torture of soccer fandom, I came to appreciate during South Africa 2010, is the way the game simultaneously titillates very different parts of the mind. [W]hile Freud was not right about many things, he was right that the human mind is fundamentally conflicted…while it may not have across in my posts, I loved every single day of my trip to South Africa. Loved it.” (Andrew Guest/Pitch Invasion)

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

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Well Struck: Jack Warner’s Noose, Thomas Hobbes’ Favorite Side & the Real Group of Death

If the sports section had stories as good as these, I’d start reading it again…or at least the couple of bits around Wilbon and Boswell. Click through for mighty reads.

Reads of the Day: There is No Methadone for This

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.

Oh So Predictably Boring

The whispers have grown into groans, even from aficionados — this World Cup is boring. And even that boringness was oh-so-predictable — reflecting the altitude, increasing tactical defensiveness, and players’ refusal to risk their European club careers for what amounts to a series of exhibitions. “The World Cup may well be on its way to becoming something like baseball’s All-Star Game — a wonderful and memorable occasion but not a place where legends are made anymore.” (Steven and Harrison Stark/The Cup Running Over)

South Africa: The Decision to Take a Step

It’s obvious that the World Cup won’t benefit South Africa economically and has diverted public investment into stadia rather than the commonweal. But was economics the only potential benefit? “South Africa is world class, says the writer Njabulo Ndebele, because it talked its way out of civil war into democracy and has kept talking since. There’s a constant national conversation in which everyone forever disagrees with everyone else, but in which everyone of every colour is respectfully heard.” And the World Cup symbolizes that agency. (Simon Kuper/FT.com)

Beyond the Vuvuzela

Beyond the Vuvuzela: Two new academic books on Africa soccer make at least this clear: that World Cup 2010 is much more than either (a) FIFA’s Disneyfied dream of a smiling, frictionless continent, or (b) South Africa as mere set design for a multinational capitalist circle jerk. (Andrew Guest/Pitch Invasion)