Heartache from a Hopeful Era: France vs Brazil 1998

There will never be another summer – and World Cup – like 1998. At the risk of being the Generation X equivalent of a baby boomer reminiscing about Woodstock, I am prepared to argue that 1998 represented a uniquely hopeful moment in soccer and cultural history. The Best Soundtrack Let’s kick off with the World…

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Louis van Gaal’s Netherlands: a Dutch summer in Brazil 2014

Three of the top four in the 2014 World Cup were no surprise. Lionel Messi was so close, yet so far to his crowning glory, as Argentina fell in the final. A shell-shocked Brazil fell too, battered by a Germany side that won the tournament with typical efficiency and team spirit, becoming the first Europeans…

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Harry Maguire: England’s Man Of Steel

Traditionally, an English centre-half has always been known to be ruthless and no-nonsense, one who’s not expected to see a lot of possession. In recent years, that trend has changed, and now with the evolution of the game in England, more and more central defenders are looking to become adept on the ball. Most people…

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My people shall know my name: How Fabio Grosso won Italian hearts

Until the final minutes of extra time at the Westfalenstadion, the deadlock was yet to be broken between semi-finalists Germany and Italy. The hosts were favourites for the tournament, while expectations in the country of their perennial foes weren’t exactly high for the visitors after the Calciopoli scandal erupted in May 2006, damaging crucial preparations…

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South Korea 2002 and birthday cake for breakfast

It was my first World Cup. I’ll remember the Fevernova (the golden ball that a friend and I nearly ruined in his backyard), South Korean players celebrating, David Seaman’s tears, and having the final score ruined for me and my dad. I had no idea of the importance: in both the emerging Asian markets which…

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Croatia 1998: Vatreni’s mission to unite a young nation

Following years of underachievement, Croatia emerged as potential contenders for the World Cup title in 2018 for only the second time in their history. After all, 20 years ago, Vatreni came incredibly close to the unimaginable. Less than three years after the final battles of the Croatian War of Independence, a small, young, and proud nation…

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