World Cup: Where The News Comes From

SOWETO, SOUTH AFRICA - APRIL 09: (NO SALES) In this handout image provided by the 2010 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee South Africa, Danny Jordaan holds the official ticket during the FIFA Media briefing (4th and last sales phase) and launch of the official 2010 World Cup ticket and information on all sales points held at the Bullnose, Maponua Mall on April 9, 2010 in Soweto, South Africa. (Photo by 2010 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee South Africa via Getty Images)

Perhaps you will be shocked to learn that I am not doing a huge amount of original reporting about the pending Festival of Soccer Splendor, but alas it is so.

In the interests of transparency, this is where I go for my news:

  • The Guardian. This is my go-to resource for English soccer coverage, including the Football Weekly podcast that had its origins in their 2006 World Cup coverage. One recent background article that's worth a read is the reminiscences of the coaches who discovered seven of the top players going into the World Cup. Their World Cup preview is here. Their supremely sarcastic writer, Barry Glendenning, opines on the Jabulani ball here.
  • The Telegraph. Given the explicit political alignments of English newspapers, there's not always a lot of overlap between the readers, but the Telegraph's sport section is pretty comprehensive, and when Henry Winter isn't being a bit precious, he's got interesting things to say. Check out their tidy summary of just how much everyone hates the new Jabulani ball, which also neatly demonstrates that they aren't really into that dreadful sarcasm from the Guardian.
  • Sports Illustrated. I frankly wasn't expecting much from Sports Illy but they seem to have got their hands on several former and current Guardian writers and freelancers, including Georgina Turner, Rob Smith, Rafa Honigstein, and Sid Lowe. All of whom are pretty much worth reading, not least because they are prone to replicating the Guardian's propensity to embed pertinent YouTube clips in their articles. Georgina Turner's preview of the likely top five players by position is an example of this.
  • ESPN / Soccernet. I've been as rude as anyone about their college football coverage and the presence of Tommy Smyth (a tragic figure inasmuch as soccer might actually be taking root in the US and he's being edged out after years of commenting and promoting, but I digress...) but it has to be said that they are doing it up on their website. About the only former Guardian contributor who doesn't appear to have shown up on Sports Illustrated is Leander Schaerlaeckens, but he's hardly the only one cranking out the articles... and I am very impressed with their feature "I scored a goal in the FIFA World Cup Final." A clunky title, sure, but the interviewees are allowed to speak for themselves and aren't always the person who's the go-to person for their era: Martin Peters from the 1966 England squad rather than just Geoff Hurst, or Emanuel Petit from the 1998 France team rather than Zinedine Zidane. I will confess a slight sadness that this is also true for the 1974 Dutch team: you usually hear from Johan Cruyff when it comes to total football, but only Johan Neeskens scored - after a minute - before the Dutch decided to try and humiliate the Germans and the Germans, as is their wont, decided they'd rather try and win. [Grinds teeth, for reasons that will become clear on Monday...]

(This post written while listening to the mellow tones of Plastic Beach by Gorillaz.)

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