June 10, 2010

What we're reading: World Cup edition

Each Friday Every so often, we share our Web discoveries, mostly pulled from our RSS feeds and Twitter accounts. If there's something we should know about, please write to thesadbear [at] gmail [dot] com. This week, we'll be focusing on stories about the World Cup, but anything good you see, on any topic, send it over.

Inside the Dutch soccer factory
Want a North Korea Jersey? Good luck.
Mr. Noonan is among the vendors who don't expect much from sales of souvenirs for one of the tournament's biggest underdogs, considering the unpopularity of the government and the lack of access to customers within that country's closed borders.

So far souvenirs like "I DPRK Football" infant bodysuits, which Mr. Noonan's company sells online for $12.99, have accounted for .025% of the company's World Cup-related sales.

As for questions about the morality of making a buck off Kim Jong Il's favorite soccer team, the merchandisers say they don't worry about that.

"We're a football company," Mr. Smith says. "We're not a political adjudicator. We trade in polyester."

Immigration law and the World Cup bid
How soccer almost became a major American sport
Hatin' on France: Irish Pizza Hut. Everyone else.
World cup ball through the years
Judging World Cup uniforms
Biblically-looking footballers
Fake countries World Cup
Who you rooting for?
Scoring a goal > sex?
Make some noise
Groups of death

World Cup commercial[ism]:

Write the Future

Star Wars

New kicks of all colo[u?]rs

Star profiles:

Lionel Messi
Landon Donovan
One thing Americans agree about soccer—the fans and cynics both—is that goals are rare things. The critics will say this critically, of course; how could anyone love a game in which neither team might score at all? Who can sit through 90-plus minutes of that sort of drudgery? We are a nation of the tangible. We are a country of Avatar (in 3-D!), slam-dunk contests, NFL's Greatest Hits music videos and Lady Gaga. Subtlety isn't our thing.


Oh, there have been competent U.S. players through the years, even good ones. Goalkeepers, for example: Kasey Keller and Brad Friedel and Tony Meola—as a nation, we are good with our hands. For a time the inescapable American player was Alexi Lalas, a big, strong defender who was not overly skilled but was a master of positioning, self-promotion and beard-growing. Occasionally, but not often, there were creative players, like Tab Ramos (who was born in Uruguay) and Claudio Reyna (whose father played professionally in Argentina before moving to the States). On the right day, under the right circumstances, they could do special things.

And then Landon Donovan just ... well ... happened.

Clint Dempsey
Didier Drogba

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Blogger Naomi said...

Nice list, guys! What's everyone's take on the vuvuzela? I haven't heard it yet, but it sounds like the FIFA president made the right decision to allow it.

June 11, 2010 at 1:08 PM 

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