WORLD CUP SUMMER READING
As the World Cup enters its final stages, I've collected my favorite reflections on the competition so far. From meditations on Neymar's antics to beautiful personal essays from players, here are some must-reads that will help you cope with the party winding down (please, for the love of God, don't remind me).
- The Annoying Genius Who Makes the World Cup Worth Watching (The Atlantic)
Are you among the many who jeered as Neymar took his final bow? You may think twice after reading this spectacularly well-written defense of the Brazilian roller. "There’s one transcendent player left at this World Cup, a player whom the eye irresistibly trails as he moves across the pitch—and, if you’ve ever seen him, you probably hate him."
- Letter to My Younger Self | by Edinson Cavani (Players' Tribune)
Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani writes a stunning reflection on the opportunities and sacrifices that have accompanied his rise from poverty. "What you have right now, at nine years old, is something that I miss very much at 31 years old. You don’t have a hot shower. You don’t have a dollar in your pocket. Man, you don’t even have cool hair yet. But you have something else. Something that does not have a price. You have your freedom."
- England knows how to adjust its World Cup expectations. But winning wasn’t part of the plan. (Washington Post)
Sports economist Stefan Szymanski recounts the statistical improbability of England's rise with a lovely dose of British humor. "So naturally, for the longest time, we expected to be the best at our game (you know, the way the United States really is the best at basketball). And for generations, we entered the World Cup convinced we would win, no matter how much evidence to the contrary was accumulating from the very start — in 1950, we lost a game to the United States, in the very first World Cup we entered in 1950. Can you imagine?"
U.S. Loses at World Cup and It’s Not Even Playing (Bloomberg)
Citigroup strategists surmise that the World Cup is distracting the world's bond traders, resulting in off-the-pitch losses. Thanks, FIFA. "It’s bad enough for Americans that the U.S. men’s team failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. But to add insult to injury, the tournament may have cost Uncle Sam during this week’s Treasury auctions."
Russia Finally Falls, Leaving a Trail of Admirers and Doubters (New York Times)
It is hard to dislike the Russian national team - a gaggle of unlikely heroes who disposed of the likes of Spain, and nearly knocked out Croatia last night. But in light of a legacy of sporting scandals, this unlikely result beg the question: was it all a dream? "But in that climate, seeing a Russian team not only surpassing its fans’ wildest expectations, but doing so by running farther than every other team here — and by some considerable distance — it is hardly unreasonable to withhold a little affection for this Russian team, to wonder if what we have seen is real."
What are some of your favorite pieces of World Cup reporting? Shoot me a link!