Articles on World Cup 2014

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Harder, faster, better, stronger. Jose Coelho/EPA

Do winning teams at the World Cup run further and faster?

Tracking technology using video or GPS chips have transformed the ability of coaches in elite team sports to monitor the physical contributions of players in games. This type of data is usually highly…
Dejected South Korean fans after their team lost against Algeria. EPA/Kim Chul-Soo

Suicide rates and World Cup results: beyond the numbers game

Several studies appear to show quite noticeable associations between hosting and performance at World Cups and suicide rates. When France hosted (and won) the football World Cup in 1998, the suicide rate…
Look to Twitter to see what Brazilians really think of the World Cup. EPA/Abedin Taherkenareh

View from Brazil: Twitter as a tool for protest – and procrastination

Twitter activity this week, just like the World Cup, has definitely not slowed since the opening match. Here, we look at the shift in conversation as the tournament begins to take shape – who is excited…
At least no one got their head cut off … Emilio Lavandeira Jr/EPA

Bites, brawls and severed heads: football’s history of violence

Another game, another bite. That’s the allegation against Uruguayan Luis Suárez, anyway, who has been accused of sinking his teeth into an opposition player. For the third time. But a mid-game nibble on…
Australia is heading in the right direction football-wise if our results at the World Cup are anything to go by. EPA/Fernando Bizerra Jr

Despite World Cup losses, Australia has a bright football future

For those well-versed in football and Australian sport, the Australian national team’s early exit from the World Cup should come as no surprise. The three losses – to Chile, the Netherlands and Spain…
The National Stadium in Brasilia is 1,172m above sea level; the highest altitude stadium in the World Cup. EPA/Robert Ghement

Worrying heights? The ups and downs of football at altitude

There is a rich and mixed history of playing football at altitudes above sea level, but at various stages in the past 15 years the Fédération International de Football Association (FIFA) has banned international…
Hiptastic celebrations from the Colombian team. Robert Ghement/EPA

The pageantry, performance and publicity of goal celebrations

The 2014 World Cup has been a tournament of goals galore – and with every goal comes a celebration. We’re now used to displays of individual and team pageantry with goal celebrations and they can sometimes…
Refereeing could do with the benefit of technology, as long as it doesn’t lose the human element. Nic Bothma/EPA

Drawing the line between video evidence and the ‘spirit of sport’

Sporting referees are worthy of our admiration. Every time they officiate they are required to make split second real-time decisions. Sometimes they get it right – and sometimes they don’t. They are what…
Not a pretty sight for some. Menzl Guenter

World Cup shines a light on persistent domestic violence

Football can be a violent game. While this year’s World Cup has not been marked by serious violence on the pitch, games are hard fought and there have been a handful of red cards already. Off the pitch…
Italian striker Mario Balotelli is a pioneer in a society that still struggles to accept its multiethnic composition. EPA/Kai Foersterling

Super Mario: can Balotelli defy racism to be Italy’s World Cup hero?

Mario Balotelli is already an international football star and has the potential to become one of Italy’s greatest ever strikers. But is Italy ready to accept a black player as its next football hero? Balotelli…
From firm favourites to out after two matches – Spanish fans have felt the whole gamut of emotions this World Cup. EPA/Alberto Martin

BIRGing and CORFing: aboard the World Cup emotional rollercoaster

Let’s imagine this all-too-familiar scene: a fan, perched on the edge of his or her seat, eyes wide open in anticipation, a quick inhale at a goal attempt – quickly followed by either a joyous and prideful…

The tricky business of cross-cultural refereeing

The World Cup brings together teams, players, fans and also referees from every corner of the globe. The cultural differences that exist between them can be stark, especially for referees. While players…
What does Spain striker Diego Costa’s back story tell us about footballers and identity in the modern world? EPA/Antonio Lacerda

Diego Costa, Spain and problems of identity in world football

People watching the World Cup match between Spain and the Netherlands earlier in the tournament may have been wondering why Spanish striker Diego Costa was vociferously booed every time he touched the…
Paulo Ito’s recent image joins a long line of socially-conscious street art in Brazil. Paulo Ito

Indignação! Brazilian street art in its historical context

Just a week before the inaugural game of the World Cup in Brazil, a vibrant wall-painting of a boy crying hysterically as he is served up a football instead of dinner, went viral. The image, shown above…
The heat is on. And referees can get it wrong. Tolga Bozoglu/EPA

Forget the players, World Cup referees are feeling the heat

There has been much hand-wringing over the problems that World Cup players are facing due to the environmental extremes they are exposed to in Brazil. There has been little sympathy for the men in black…
We’ll do better next time. Tolga Bozoglu/EPA

Don’t blame England World Cup failures on inexperience

England’s footballers have had their worst ever start to a World Cup – and, bar a miracle, face an early exit. So begins the inevitable search to understand the cause of this calamity. The squad’s inexperience…

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