From Publishers Weekly
The FIFA World Cup is the planet's biggest event. Not sporting event-event, period, writes Trecker in this in-your-face firsthand account of the 2006 World Cup in Germany. Trecker, Fox Sports soccer columnist, is passionate about the game (Munich exploded in the sixth minute when Phillip Lahm, employing his signature move, cut from the left side into the area to sink a powerful right-footed shot into the top of Jose Porras's net) and the players (What makes Zidane truly special is not that he can control the pace of a match-there are other holding midfielders in the game-but that his motions and instincts are artful, serene, and beautiful). Unfortunately, Trecker, while covering the sport, the games and the '06 World Cup comprehensively, falls prey to clichéd sports writing. He spends much time describing brothels (in South Korea and Germany), topless women and drunken debauchery-of both fans and the media alike. While not without its pleasures, this is mostly for the already initiated rather than the general reader. (Oct.)
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In the run-up to the 2006 World Cup, U.S. publishers offered many books explaining the World Cup, soccer, and why players aren't allowed to use their hands. Certainly, many Americans still need the help, but books timed to coincide with the event lacked a crucial element: results. The U.S. team went home early, but journalist Trecker went the distance. His firsthand account of soccer madness is lively and intelligent, as full of funny anecdotes as it is opinionated commentary. He doesn't stint the historical context, either, detailing not only the history of the tournament but changing cultural and political attitudes toward it. And if he occasionally provides a little too much backgroundthe U.S. history of the game is a book in itself (see Jim Haner's Soccerhead, 2006)he goes some other writers one better by placing the tournament in another crucial context: financial (because money is what makes the world of sport go round). This comes too late for 2006 World Cup newbies, of course, but it proves to be the book they were waiting for. Graff, Keir