The World Cup is the planet’s biggest event. On millions of street corners in cities and villages around the globe, people watch, listen and follow every detail. Yet no one on this side of the pond has ever set out to explain comprehensively why it matters and what is likely to happen this time around.
In this sharp, fun, and sassy guide, Stark & Stark lay it all out for both the casual and impassioned fan. In World Cup 2010: The Indispensible Guide to Soccer and Geopolitics you will discover feature essays on the cultural importance of soccer, the World Cup, this tournament in particular, and on African soccer, as well as an extra essay on North America’s participation in the tournament and how David Beckham has influenced the American team. Each of the 32 teams will then get an introductory essay and table, analyzing the team’s players, coach, history, flag, foods, and uniform. Each chapter will also cover how the teams qualified, World Cup history, starters, information on the upcoming venues and notable athletes, the spectacle, the tradition, and the teams.
Learn why Spain never wins, Brazil often does, and what the US and Mexico really need to do to win the Cup. Discover, too, what the first World Cup in Africa will mean from Mandela to mythical spirits. Each team profile features a squad breakdown, players to watch, predictions, and an analysis of team tactics, tradition, coaching techniques, and even the national anthems that will be played before each match. Through it all, the book highlights the cultural politics that still make every England game resemble the Charge of the Light Brigade, as one reporter put it, and every Italian team a cross between Machiavelli and Michelangelo.
No soccer book has ever been as informative, opinionated, or as hilarious. Just take one small category — coaches. After reading this guide, you’ll know:
Which coach makes his squad selections by astrology and had a former porn queen dedicate a song to him
Which coach once complained that goal netting should be white, not black, to appear more cheerful
And that’s just a tiny portion of the stories that pack this book
Steven D. Stark, a former world sports columnist for the Montreal Gazette and the author of three previous books and one e-book, has been a commentator for CNN, National Public Radio, and the Voice of America, where his role was to try to interpret American culture to the rest of the world. Harrison Stark, currently a student at Brown University, has been a ball boy for Fulham FC, where his claim to fame was that he was once hit by a bottle thrown by an opposing fan.