The land of the free (kick)

“I BELIEVE THAT WE WILL WIN” A chant often heard at collegiate sporting events in the United States has now become the rally cry for an overachieving football team, with the hopes of eager fans continuing to grow in number with the unprecedented success of this overlooked, starless, enigmatic American team. Soccer, previously a sport overshadowed by America’s four major sports, has been derided for its low goal count, pace of play and as a child’s game. How is it that decades of trying to push the sport to a country that would not budge, be eclipsed in a matter of weeks?

 Being a proud American, I will have an undying love for (American) Football, Basketball, Baseball and Hockey. But the rise of these “American Outlaws” has captivated my imagination like nothing ever before, the script for this team is like that of a Hollywood blockbuster. Once scoffing at the game, I now watch the clock and countdown the hours until we raise the trophy (well maybe just advance to the next round, but the passion is there). I firmly believe this new found love that is sweeping the United States will not die after this World Cup. Win or lose, this band of scrappy Americans led by German Jurgen Klinsmann and Clint Dempsey (Forever known now as Captain America and written into folklore) has done its job. When we look back fifty years from now, this magical and unpredictable 2014 World Cup has given “Football” a permanent resting place in the States.  

And while books may seem a little alien to the physical and visual world of football, to kill time between those dreaded no game days why not spend some time brushing up on your football knowledge? From in depth stats, to learning more about the darker side of the world cup or simply learning more about the beautiful host nation of Brazil, here are our top picks to fill in the time between matches. 

The Big Book of the World Cup 

Vision Sports Publishing, 9781909534209, h/b, £16.99

Filled with facts and figures to delight even the most dedicated of fans, this book is the perfect companion to the greatest sporting show on earth. There are pictures, an in-depth guide to each of the 32 competing nations, profiles of the star players who will be there plus a tour of Brazil looking at the colourful setting and the wonderful stadiums which will provide the backdrop for the 2014 tournament. Includes a brilliant interactive fixtures guide and scorechart to be filled in as the tournament progresses, as well as a TV guide.

The World Cup: The Complete History

By Terry Crouch & James Corbett

De Coubertin, 9781909245167, p/b, £17.99

Fully revised and updated in time for the 2014 finals in Brazil, the book is renowned for its remarkable comprehensiveness. Featuring a separate chapter for every competition; every single result of every match; every single player in every team; all qualifying details; and a detailed round-up of the entire progress of each tournament, it is an indispensable addition to every fan’s bookshelf.

A Short History of Brazil
By Gordon Kerr

Pocket Essentials, 9781843441960, p/b, £8.99

This essential guide to the host nation examines the history of Brazil from its indigenous roots, its discovery by Europeans in the 16th century to the chaotic city life today with its disparities between poor favela life and the super rich.


Leave a Reply