Tag: United States of America

World Cup Tales: Colombia 1986 – The World Cup That Never Was

The upcoming World Cup will the first to take place in the entire continent of Africa but there are several countries that have already held the tournament more that once, such as Italy, France and Germany. The first team to earn the honour of hosting the World Cup finals twice, however, was Mexico and the story of how this came to pass is as much a story of the politics of FIFA as it is of the qualities of Mexico when it comes to hosting the finals of the tournament. The truth of the matter is that the hosts of the 1986 World Cup finals should have been Colombia. Then, as now, the decision made over who to award the World Cup was made many years before the actual tournament took place. In the case of the 1986 tournament, the decision was taking during a tumultuous year for FIFA – 1974, the year that Joao Havelange replaced Stanley Rous as the president of FIFA. Havelange campaigned on the principle of an expanded role within the game for the Asian and African confederations and Rous, who had in 1963 campaigned for Apartheid South Africa to be allowed to play in the World Cup, was an easy picking for him. Havelange would go on to reward those that had supported him by expanding the tournament, it was too late for him...

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World Cup Tales: The Miracle Of Belo Horizonte, 1950

When the draw for the 2010 World Cup finals was made in December of last year, the British press went into a depressingly familiar mode in their dismissal of their opposition, the irony of which was all the more striking for those – and it has to be said that they may not have been amongst football’s aesthetes – that picked out England vs the United States of America as one of the “must see” matches of the first round of the tournament. It was sixty years ago this summer that the USA team caused one of the biggest surprises in the history of the competition in beating England 1-0 in the group stages of the World Cup in Belo Horizonte, but with film footage of the match seemingly limited to just a couple of minutes’ worth and even the authenticity of the most striking image of the match almost entirely discredited, how much can we believe about what happened at the match? The received wisdom is roughly as follows: England, who had not deemed the World Cup worthy of their presence beforehand, turned up to play a United States team of amateurs, expecting to put twenty or thirty goals past them. Instead, the Haitian-born Joe Gaetjens scored the only goal of the game whilst England (who had rested Stanley Matthews) did everything but score, hitting the woodwork on...

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World Cup Preview: Group C

The 2010 FIFA World Cup kicks off in six weeks today, close enough that you can start to hear the vuvuzelas. Continuing his preview of this summer (winter)’s events, Dotmund has now reached Group C, where he will do his best to cover the large three lions tattoo on his face and behave in the sort of balanced way we like here at Twohundredpercent. Let’s see what he discovered, with his little notebook at his side.

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Good Hosts and Bad Hosts

Until someone figures out how to astroturf the moon and stop the corner flags floating away, all major sporting events have to take place somewhere. And when you have somewhere, you can rest assured that someone already lives there. The host nation and the home advantage are here to stay.

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The World Cup Of National Anthems (Part Two)

For many people, major sports tournaments are the only occasion that national anthems are heard. These peculiar tunes have become a genre of their own, transcending the mere hymns that many of them were in first place, and they range from the gloriously uplifting to mournful dirges. The selection of words has, in many countries, brought about national debate that has been all-encompassing. In the case of Spain, it was decided that it would probably be for the best just to not bother having any for the sake of national unity.

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