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The World Cup has been a dominant force in my life, creating a spine against which I have come to mark time. Some of my earliest television-watching memories revolve around the delirious spectacle of the 1978 World Cup, as stadiums exploded with confetti whenever Argentina took to the field. 1982 was defined by Brazil’s intense midfielder, Falcao, maniacally celebrating a goal with the veins in his arms bulging from the screen as if in 3-D (Youtube it) and Diego Maradona's 1986 destruction of my beloved England by means foul and fair which caused my brother and I to run out into the street and vent our grief by blasting a soccer ball through the window of our home. My parents, thankfully, understood our pain.
In 1990, I spent the summer as a counselor at a sleepaway camp in Maine and first encountered America's cruel indifference to the sport I loved. The day of England’s semi-final match-up against West Germany was one of the most frustrating of my life. I spent an afternoon driving frantically from one sleepy rural bar to another. All were broadcasting the local Portland minor league baseball game. Not one was able to direct their massive satellite dishes towards a signal that could pull in the World Cup semi-final. In the pre-internet age I had to wait for the next day’s Boston Globe to discover the bitter result. England lost. Perhaps it was for the best.
I moved to the States shortly afterwards, and have watched with wonder as the profile of the World Cup has ineluctably risen tournament to tournament. When this country performed hosting duties in 1994, I viewed the majority of the games alone, courtesy of a Spanish network on an old television set in the corner of a deserted Jimmy's Woodlawn Tap in Hyde Park, Chicago, with only the barbacks for company. Between 1998 and 2002, I lived in D.C. and experienced the tournament achieve cult status in that city. The cognoscenti had become clued-up and flocked to local Brazilian bars or Italian restaurants in Adams Morgan to digest the spectacle. By chance, I was back in D.C. for the U.S.A.-Italy game in 2006, and was shocked to see these venues were jam-packed with lines snaking around the block two hours before kickoff.
Those lines at the bar and the widespread sense of celebration surrounding the 2006 tournament catalyzed the idea for this book. An effort to frame the backstories of World Cups past for all those who had become enraptured with the sport but were finding the plotlines as hard to unravel as if they had jumped into Lost in the middle of season three. Between June 11th and July 11th you will see one team, Italy, defend their trophy, while 31 others attack. Amidst the shocks, disappointments, triumphs and searing losses, our book is guaranteed to enhance your love of the game, and ensure you are the most soccer-literate fan around the office water-cooler.(Photo © Jamie Glassman)
Lots of pictures and overall a very interesting book.
There are many great color photos, the book is well organized, there is humor, wonderful historical facts and antidotes, and it's a nice size for a coffee table.
A top-notch sports book that can't be recommended highly enough for the casual or hardcore soccer (er, excuse me, "football") fan.
I read this book before the 2010 World Cup. I decided to pull it out for this World Cup and I'm loving it again. Written in a highly entertaining over the top style. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Cherry
I got an advance copy of this fine book prior to the World Cup and thoroughly enjoyed the information. Read morePublished on August 16, 2011 by Enrique Torres
This is a pretty solid resource for the World Cup; however, now it is really only a historical artifact, but fans will still enjoy the beautiful pictures (unfortunately only in... Read morePublished on May 19, 2011 by J. Stoner
I have a few world cup history classics like Brian Granville's etc - but this one is a real masterpiece and very different and at times a bit irreverent - not only covers all the... Read morePublished on August 25, 2010 by KRISHNA JAGA
This is an excellent coffee table book. The text is not particularly compelling, but the book is well-designed and the layout is intriguing. Read morePublished on August 18, 2010 by booktalk29
I was surpsied at the complete book. It covered the modern era of soccer. There was even discussion about the US. Read morePublished on July 31, 2010 by Royalfamilyfive
it is one of our coffee table books. it always gets picked up and read.Published on July 15, 2010 by hummingbirds
I ordered this book for my 19 year old who is a HUGE soccer fan. I have to admit, he lost interest in it quickly and he loves the sport, loves to read and he loves reading about... Read morePublished on July 8, 2010 by Sl Judge
This book actually made the World Cup better. The World Cup is the best sporting event on the planet, and it was more enjoyable because of this book. Read morePublished on July 6, 2010 by Sam E. Ringenberg