Football in Argentina is an old national passion, an obsession, a locus of pride and disenchantment, of joy and sadness, an important arena for gaining victory and global recognition.
- Eduardo P. Archetti, Military Nationalism, Football Essentialism, and Moral Ambivalence
16th July 2014
Despite its geographic disadvantages, the small country has managed to be a cultural, economic, and political hub for decades. This exceptionalism extends to the Dutch view of the national soccer team, which, although it has never won the World Cup, has consistently been at the innovative forefront of the sport.
- Nick Abbot, The uphill battle of preserving the Dutch soccer legacy
16th July 2014
This mélange of Germanic power and multiethnic prowess derives from the soccer academy system, which was overhauled a decade ago to not just create finishing schools for talented teens, but as a means of integrating foreign styles and attitudes into German culture … (and) the drafting of revised immigration laws in 2000 signaled a cultural shift that spread to soccer once foreign flair began to flood the academies.
- James Tyler, The New Germans
9th July 2014
They had decided to quit their current teams in order to create a new national team for the place of their birth: the French colony of Algeria. Before each game the flag of the Algerian revolution asserted that despite France’s refusal to accept its independence, the nation of Algeria truly did exist. So it was that Algeria’s first football team was born in a gesture of revolt.
- Laurent Dubois, For Algeria, football remains a fault line with France
If, as Paul Auster once wrote, “Countries now wage their battles on the soccer field with surrogate armies in short pants,” then Brazil 2014 represents a new battle for Greece. One that at a time of crisis carries an importance that transcends beyond the limits of the soccer field; one that can transform fear and pessimism back into hope and enthusiasm, two of the elements that pushed the underdogs of Euro 2004 into becoming champions.
- Achilles Kallergis, Greek fans hope to relive 2004
30th June 2014
24th June 2014
As ‘Croatians’, athletes were obliged to fight a lofty battle for Croatia, it was their way of fighting for Croatian independence and participating in building national identity. Sport adopted the function of a key symbol for creating a distinctive Croatian nationhood with athletes continuously arguing that competing on behalf of the nation was more than ‘just’ sport.
20th June 2014
18th June 2014
I was scared for him so I told him, “Calm down, Dad, don’t overreact.” He answered: “If you had lived the last 50 years I have been waiting for this moment, you’d be here crying with me!” He cried for a long time. I sat beside him and I felt happy for him. We have never again said that we played as we never would, but we lost as we always do. Ecuador is going to its third World Cup.
- Marcelo Moncayo, Ecuador: You would cry, too, if you’d waited for 50 years