I am so sorry about the delay! It was another scheduling error. Please forgive me.
Ramble of the Day
Trading World Cup stories sounds like a fun way to spend the day before the tournament starts. Here is a series of prompts to get us all started:
Favourite World Cup Player— IDWakefield (@IDWakefield) June 11, 2018
Favourite World Cup Team
Favourite World Cup Goal
Favourite World Cup Tournament
Favourite World Cup Moment
I’ve only intently watched the last two World Cups, so my sample size is a bit limited. Of course, there is still enough material to answer the prompts.
Favo(u)rite World Cup Player: The first football jersey I owned was a Thomas Müller knockoff Germany kit I got in London a month after the 2010 World Cup ended. I admired his skill from the moment I watched him play as he accomplished the incredible — and bizarre — feat of scoring five times from only five shots on target. His unique skill set had me hooked, and still does.
Favo(u)rite World Cup Team: The Netherlands team that made the run to the 2010 final was really wonderful. It was such a special blend of talent, too. Who can’t resist the likes of Arjen robben and Wesley Sneijder in their late twenties?
Favo(u)rite World Cup Goal: I still find myself thinking about Robin van Persie’s diving header against Spain in 2014. The goal is worth watching over and over again because of the skill, but there’s a certain beauty to it. Seeing him going through the motions while essentially isolated from everyone else has a certain beauty to it, and there was a certain importance to the occasion that sticks out in my mind as the reigning champions’ opening match was going horribly wrong.
Favo(u)rite World Cup Tournament: I will go with 2014. I find that most of the events I recall fondly are related to Brazil. The tournament kicked off with an own goal, while the host nation also provided a lot fodder by acting like Neymar died when he picked up a tournament-ending injury in the quarterfinals.
Favo(u)rite World Cup Moment: Germany’s 7-1 decimation of Brazil in the 2014 semifinals is something so easily referenced. I still remember how easy it seemed to be for Germany, particularly in that first half, and that Oscar’s 90 minute strike was the definition of consolation goal. It is a match that is hard to get out of your memory, possibly even more so for Brazilians. (Sorry for bringing it up, by the way.)
tl;dr: Looking back at World Cups past.
Links of the Day
Julen Lopetegui has been sacked as Spain coach just two days before their World Cup opener.
With the 2026 World Cup hosting rights set to be decided in a few hours, here is a list of all of the nations who have publicly backed either bid and those who have yet to do so.
Diego Reyes has withdrawn from Mexico’s World Cup squad with a right hamstring injury. Erick Gutierrez will replace him.
World Cup referees have been told not to flag tight offside calls, allowing VARs to make the final call.
Mini transfer roundup: Huddersfield have signed Ramadan Sobhi from Stoke; Josh Murphy has joined Cardiff from Norwich
David Squires has a cartoon about the World Cup.
Today’s longer read: Amos Barshad interviews Paul Pogba on fame, fortune, and the doubters that have come with it for Bleacher Report