World Cup stunning moments: Gordon Banks is stricken

England’s goalkeeper was laid low by food poisoning before their quarter-final – during a World Cup that saw little go right It was Friday 12 June. The previous day England, without playing at all well, had beaten Czechoslovakia 1-0 to secure second place in Group C and qualification for the quarter-finals. All four ties were to be played on the Sunday, giving the team a couple of days off. Alf Ramsey decided that there was enough slack in his schedule to allow a little downtime. Not far from the Hilton, where England’s team was based, was the Guadalajara Country Club, a swanky golf course with tennis courts, swimming pools and swanky bar attached that apparently charged £1,500 a year – the equivalent of £19,000 today – for membership. Many English football figures, including Joe Mercer, Don Revie and a few players’ wives, had based themselves there for the tournament and Continue reading "World Cup stunning moments: Gordon Banks is stricken"

Telemundo launches World Cup ad targeting English-language viewers

< !DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> Telemundo Deportes has launched a new advertising campaign that targets English-language viewers who want to watch the World Cup on US television this summer. As the exclusive rights-holder to the Spanish-language broadcasts of the World Cup this summer, Telemundo has already premiered several different advertising campaigns this year including one featuring Andres Cantor during the Super Bowl. But Telemundo’s new campaign this week is more direct in trying to win over bilinguals and English-language sports fans who haven’t made a decision yet whether they’ll be watching FOX Sports or Telemundo for all 64 games of the World Cup. The new ad, entitled Telemundo es futbol, is in Spanish but features several words that any gringo can understand such as “Pasion,” “Amor,” “Drama,” “Increible” and even English words such as “Sexy,” “Global” and “Honor.” Will FOX Sports respond and broadcast their own World Cup TV commercial using Spanish words? We’ll
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Fabian Delph cleared to fly home during World Cup for birth of third child

• Gareth Southgate will allow Manchester City player to join wife
• Phil Jones is in a similar position and can also return home Fabian Delph has been given permission by Gareth Southgate to fly home from the World Cup to be at the birth of his third child, and the England manager will allow Phil Jones to do the same and be his own pregnant wife should he wish. Related: World Cup Fiver | The curious incident of the opossum and denied time Continue reading...

How the BBC created their amazing World Cup trailer [VIDEO]

< !DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> For BBC’s incredible World Cup trailer, the creative team behind the video have shared what went into making the one-of-a-kind promotional film for World Cup 2018. The concept for the BBC World Cup trailer emanated from a tapestry, which is an ideal metaphor for all of the different nations and cultures combining together to be on display at Russia 2018. Tapestries also have a deeper meaning, which is explained in the video below. I find it fascinating that the BBC actually programmed a machine to create the tapestry that’s featured in the BBC World Cup trailer. The video also goes into greater detail about the Russian folk song that powers the video.  

World Cup stunning moments: the 1966 World Cup

Random tales from the 1966 tournament that have absolutely nothing to do with Azerbaijani linesmen, Kenneth Wolstenholme or Pickles the Dog
  1. The branding for the 1966 Football World Championship for the Jules Rimet Trophy was all over the shop. But at least Fifa were trying. The 1966 finals was the first to be blessed with a mascot, a small lion wearing a union jack shirt walking along with its eyes narrowed to the point of being totally shut. A myopic nationalist, who’d have thought it. Willie was the creation of the freelance artist Reg Hoye, who had first considered “a little man in a bowler hat” and “a man in a cloth cap” but wished to steer clear of class issues. “I don’t think the result’s pompous,” he insisted, “it’s just to show that we’re not as clapped out as some people think we are.” Hoye was paid Continue reading "World Cup stunning moments: the 1966 World Cup"

World Cup theft: ‘gangster and brother stole trophy in 1966’

London gangster Sidney Cugullere and brother Reg snatched trophy from display case in Westminster church hall before ransom bid, claims Reg’s son A London gangster and his brother were behind the notorious theft of the World Cup trophy just months before the 1966 tournament in England, it has been claimed.
Sidney Cugullere, with the help of his brother Reg, stole the Jules Rimet trophy while it was on public exhibition at the Methodist Central Hall in Westminster, Reg’s son Gary said. Continue reading...

Finally, there’s a coffee book about the World Cup

< !DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> There seemingly is a coffee book for everything, the kind of book you display that people can flip through to admire great pictures and learn a bit more about a subject. With the World Cup around the corner, soccer fans finally have a book they can display as a conversation starter about their own favorite tournament. The Official History of the FIFA World Cup is sanctioned by the FIFA World Football Museum, so the photos and details are what you would expect from a museum book. Rather than a narrative structure, the book outlines the beginning of organized soccer and then moves into discussions of each World Cup through 2014. Each World Cup chapter begins with a brief history of why the host city was chosen then moves into facts and figures about the tournament. Then comes the meat of the chapter – the most famous or noteworthy matches have Continue reading "Finally, there’s a coffee book about the World Cup"

‘I’m not intimidated by anyone,’ says England’s Ruben Loftus-Cheek

Chelsea midfielder is confident he will be able to handle the ‘immense pressure’ of World Cup competition next monthRuben Loftus-Cheek described his World Cup call-up as surreal, and there have been plenty of times in the recent past when he would have considered the chance coming his way this summer the stuff of fantasy. He could point to the plateauing of his senior career on the fringes at Chelsea or, having joined the club’s considerable loan army, the trauma of Crystal Palace’s appalling start to last season. Then there was the three-month hiatus in mid-winter as an ankle injury checked the momentum generated by regular game time. Related: Coherent, convincing and modern: Gareth Southgate offers touch of hope | Barney Ronay Continue reading...

Telemundo unveils theme music for World Cup TV coverage [VIDEO]

< !DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> Telemundo has unveiled its theme music for the coverage of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, which is composed and produced by the award-winning Yoav Goren. The theme song, “Sueño de Campeones” (see video below), was recorded from the iconic Abbey Road Studios in London. Meaning “Champions Dream” in English, the song is part of an extensive music package by the composer. It’ll be part of Telemundo’s coverage of the World Cup featuring 32 teams and a total of 64 matches, played across 12 venues in Russia. The music package was inspired by the passion and beauty of the game while capturing the character and grandeur of the World Cup. “Sueño de Campeones” is inherently heroic and epic like the stories of the teams and players that make it to a World Cup, and particularly, the journey and resilience of the Latin American countries representing Telemundo’s core audience. The instrumentation starts Continue reading "Telemundo unveils theme music for World Cup TV coverage [VIDEO]"

World Cup stunning moments: Germany humiliate Brazil 7-1 | Simon Burnton

Germany conjured football of a savagery unwitnessed against significant opposition in the tournament’s history When it comes to the World Cup, hosting is supposed to help. Just ask Uruguay (1930), Italy (1934), England (1966), West Germany (1974), Argentina (1978) and France (1998), or Sweden (1958), Chile (1962) and South Korea (2002), who unexpectedly finished second, third and fourth, respectively. Rival teams should be cowed by the passion and the number of home fans, the hosts buoyed.
Not this time. “You looked at the faces of the Brazilian players when they walked on the pitch during the World Cup and it looked like they were about to compete in the Hunger Games,” said Zico, great Brazilian midfielder of the 1970s and 80s. “They weren’t enjoying the moment and that made things harder for them. The moment they met a team of the same pedigree they were caught out.” Continue reading...

England players concerned by possible racial abuse of family and friends

• World Cup squad members admit to worries about Russia
• Racism directed at Liverpool’s Rhian Brewster raises fearsConcerns have been expressed within England’s multi-ethnic World Cup squad over bringing family and friends to the tournament, given fears that they could become targets for racial abuse in Russia. Related: Fifa investigates alleged racist abuse of France players by Russia fans Continue reading...

How Belgium should line up at World Cup 2018

< !DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> Belgium is the latest country to witness a golden generation of players. Their current contingency of stars have the right amount of maturity, experience and skill to finally shine at a major international competition. Prior to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the Red Devils went through a barren spell in the international scene. Their last notable appearance was at the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea. Then managed by national legend Marc Wilmots, the side were unlucky in 2014 to go out to Argentina four years earlier. Gonzalo Higuain scored the only goal of the match to send the European dark horses out of the competition at the quarter-final stage. However, before the exit, the players showed great promise. Producing a stellar performance against the United States in the round of 16, an incredible showing of super-heroic proportions from Tim Howard kept the score down to just Continue reading "How Belgium should line up at World Cup 2018"

Will VAR improve the World Cup?

VAR has been used in various league and cup competitions around the world. Is it a step forward for the World Cup? • Who are you supporting – and how will your team fare? Every World Cup breaks new ground. The first tournament was held in 1930; qualification was introduced for 1934; the first Asian team (the Dutch East Indies or, as they are called now, Indonesia) featured in 1938; British teams took part in 1950; the 1954 World Cup was the first on TV; all four Home Nations competed for the first (and, so far, only) time in 1958. Marcos Coll scored the World Cup’s first Olympic goal in 1962; World Cup Willie, the first mascot, turned up in 1966; yellow cards made an appearance in 1970; the new trophy was presented in 1974; Tunisia became the first African team to win a match at the finals in 1978; Continue reading "Will VAR improve the World Cup?"

Harry Kane’s most important job as England captain is to score goals

Having been given the largely irrelevant honour of leading England at the World Cup, the Tottenham forward must not lose focus on what got him the jobGareth Southgate may lack tournament experience as manager of a national team though it is already clear he prefers to remove doubt and uncertainty in favour of getting things done. Name the squad early, announce the captain shortly afterwards, and everyone knows where they stand. That makes it sound as if the identity of England’s captain in Russia is something people have been itching to know for weeks, when in reality the honour just bestowed on Harry Kane is simply a formality that needed to be addressed so it could be moved out of the way. Obviously it is an honour to captain one’s country at a World Cup, though the real privilege, the immortality shot, is to be captain of the Continue reading "Harry Kane’s most important job as England captain is to score goals"

World Cup stunning moments: Gazza cries as England lose at Italia 90

Paul Gascoigne’s bottom lip wobbled as he was ruled out of a World Cup final England would never reach, and Gazzamania was born “I got the ball in the centre circle and bundled my way forward. Then, as Matthaus tried to nick it off me, I nudged the ball out of his reach, but overran it. I had to stretch as Thomas Berthold came across. I was giving it 110%. It was the World Cup semi-final and I didn’t want to give them anything for free. To this day I honestly don’t think I touched him, but down he went, rolling around as if in agony. I crouched down to make sure he was OK, and at that stage I wasn’t thinking I was in trouble. There was nothing in the challenge. Then everything turned to slow motion.”
For all the uplifting moments in England’s march from the foyer Continue reading "World Cup stunning moments: Gazza cries as England lose at Italia 90"

Rival captains make case to Fifa for Paolo Guerrero’s World Cup inclusion

  • Peru striker banned after testing positive for cocaine
  • Mile Jedinak, Hugo Lloris and Simon Kjær write to Fifa
The captains of the three teams drawn to play Peru at the World Cup in Russia next month have appealed to Fifa to lift a ban on Paolo Guerrero, who was suspended after testing positive for cocaine. Related: Punishment for cocaine use while taking part in sport does not fit the crime | Sean Ingle Continue reading...

Chelsea forward Álvaro Morata left out of Spain’s World Cup squad

• Morata sends team good luck message on Twitter
• Belgium include Christian Benteke in 28-man squadÁlvaro Morata has paid the price for an indifferent season at Chelsea after being left out of Spain’s 23-man World Cup squad. The striker has become a peripheral figure at Chelsea since the January arrival of Olivier Giroud and will not be involved in Russia after the Spain coach Julen Lopetegui went with Diego Costa, Iago Aspas and Rodrigo as his strikers. Continue reading...

FOX exec says calling World Cup games off monitors isn’t a big deal

< !DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> FOX Sports’ list of excuses defending why they’ve chosen to have 66% of their commentators calling games from a studio in Los Angeles during this summer’s World Cup continues to grow. In an interview with The Athletic, FOX Sports Executive Producer David Neal claims that calling soccer games off a TV monitor instead of being at the stadium is “standard in the sport.” “Over half of the matches in America on a global basis in any given year are called off-tube (from monitors not at the stadium),” said Neal. “There are rights-holders from Europe who are not sending any talent to Russia. To me, it is a non-story. In soccer, it is standard procedure to do matches off-tube.” Just because FOX Sports doesn’t have their commentators at most games in Europe doesn’t make it the de facto standard. The fact is that soccer fans in the United
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World Cup stunning moments: Italy lose to South Korea, 2002 | Paolo Bandini

The Azzurri’s controversial second-round defeat in Daejeon was just the start of a barely believable series of events Francesco Janich felt the first tomato fly past his head. Drunk on cognac and disoriented by the darkness as he stumbled down onto the tarmac at Genoa’s Christopher Columbus airport at around 3.40am on 22 July, 1966, the defender could not immediately identify the fruit but he did know one thing: “It definitely wasn’t fresh”. Three days earlier, Janich had been part of the Italy side that lost 1-0 to North Korea at Ayresome Park – crashing out of the World Cup in the process. Embarrassed and fearful of a backlash from supporters, administrators did their best to conceal plans for the journey home. As well as pushing the team’s return flight back to the most antisocial hour possible, they refused to disclose which city they would land into. Continue reading...

BBC and ITV World Cup TV schedule

< !DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> The BBC and ITV World Cup TV schedule has been confirmed, which will feature 33 games on the BBC and 32 on ITV. Both UK broadcasters will beam the World Cup Final on their respective channels. The BBC will feature hosts Gary Lineker and Gabby Logan, and studio analysts Alan Shearer, Frank Lampard, Rio Ferdinand, Jurgen Klinsmann, Didier Drogba and Pablo Zabaleta. Plus there’ll be Phil Neville, Jermaine Jenas, Danny Murphy, Martin Keown and Alex Scott. The commentators will be Guy Mowbray, Steve Wilson, Jonathan Pearce, Steve Bower, Simon Brotherton and Vicki Sparks. Co-commentators will be Kevin Kilbane and Mark Lawrenson. For ITV, Mark Pougatch and Jacqui Oatley will be the hosts. They’ll be joined by studio pundits Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs, Roy Keane, Ian Wright, Lee Dixon, Eniola Aluko, Patrice Evra, Henrik Larsson, Martin O’Neill, Slaven Bilic and Mark Clattenburg. The commentators will be Jon Champion, Clive Tyldesley, Sam
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