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Tag Archives: Simon Kuper

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“And when good soccer happens, I give thanks for the miracle and I don’t give a damn which team or country performs it.” – Eduardo Galeano, Soccer in Sun and Shadow

With less than two weeks to go before the start of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, club competitions are wrapping up, and international managers are hoping no injuries hit their key men. As it was in 2010 with Spain’s pronouncement of dominance, this year’s edition promises to be captivating, with many story lines in play. Will Brazil be fit and ready to host in time? (Spoiler alert: Probably not). Is this the major tournament when Spain, the world #1, finally relinquishes its throne? Is Germany set to finally claim it for the perceived golden generation? Can either Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo, the twin peaks of this footballing epoch, lead their respective countries to the promised land? Can the United States do anything worthwhile?

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Fall of the Rebel Angels Peter Paul Rubens

The weekend vacation thanks to July 4th provided a welcome respite to a young but already challenging season. We now know that this team is at least half-decent despite being complete strangers thrown together in an effort to create something. A win and a draw: that’s not a horrible way to start the summer, and we sat tied at the top of the league table going into the third game. Two weeks to think about the next fixture is an irritating period of time, and I spent a lot of it consuming the book Soccernomics, by Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski. Much of it comes from the Moneyball mentality of applying statistical analysis to athletic competition. I searched for some hidden answers, some key to achieving soccer glory, at least at an amateur level. Alas, no such answer was to be found, but I did manage to slowly build excitement for the next game.

And then, surpriseRead More