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Analysis and Comment (107)

The 2014 HWC Chilean men’s team loft the trophy after defeating Bosnia and Herzegovina in the final. Homeless World Cup

Chile won the Homeless World Cup, but the benefits are global

Chile won both the men’s and women’s Homeless World Cups (HWC) last Sunday, with the men defeating Bosnia and Herzegovina by more than five goals and the women defeating Mexico by a solitary goal in a…
A convicted rapist is no role model for this young fan. Darren Staples/Reuters

Time to stop playing nice about misogyny in sports

The persistence of violence against women across the globe is well documented, but what part do sports play in gendered aggression? It seems shocking to claim that sports and violence against women are…
The Namibian team was tested for Ebola, despite the country being free of the disease. Fiona Crawford

The Homeless World Cup isn’t immune to Ebola fear-mongering

Convenience stores in Santiago, Chile, still stock Coca-Cola bottles adorned with 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil branding. It’s a small reminder of the ubiquity and overhang of the world’s largest football…
Sacking Brenton Sanderson as coach may rebound on the Adelaide Crows if the club doesn’t have a strong replacement ready to step in. AAP/Ben Macmahon

Sack the coach? Wait, there’s more to fixing a club than that

The football season is almost over, but the coach-sacking season has just begun. In the AFL, the Adelaide Crows sacked coach Brenton Sanderson despite only recently having extended his contract. Media…
Robinvale footballers have been recruited into an active campaign to heal community divisions, which includes playing an annual Harmony Match. Facebook/Robinvale Football Netball Club

A world away from the MCG, every round is multicultural round

Standing in the social rooms of Robinvale Football Netball Club on presentation night is perhaps like standing in any sports club in regional Australia when their vote count is on. There are the usual…
Radamel Falcao joins Manchester United on loan in one of deadline day’s big deals. Sebastien Nogier/EPA

Time to lift the shroud of secrecy surrounding football transfers

Transfer deadline day is over for another year. As always, it brought drama galore, with deals thrown together at the last minute, like the “shock” announcement three hours before the deadline that Danny…
Heard the one about the Belgian, the Frenchman, the Argentine, Brazilian, and the Bosnian? EPA

Hard Evidence: how much is the Premier League worth?

Over the next nine months, countless people will marvel at Manchester City or berate Jose Mourinho without ever really grasping how powerful and all-pervasive the Premier League has become. While 21st-century…
Webb at the 2010 World Cup final. Just don’t mention Nigel de Jong… EPA

Howard Webb’s new job is to train a generation of super-refs

Howard Webb, one of modern football’s most successful referees, has announced his retirement. Webb achieved much in his career, most notably in 2010 taking charge of the finals of both the World Cup and…
A star player can’t afford to short circuit under pressure. campuspartymexico

4-4-2 becomes 0101: inside the competitive world of robot football

The whistle has just been blown on one of the most thrilling events on the international sporting calendar. It took place in Brazil and pitted teams from all over the world against each other, each hoping…
The Sun says we should love this man. EPA

Does The Sun shine too brightly on Newcastle United?

One of the legacies of the Hillsborough stadium disaster in 1989 is the widespread and high-profile boycott in Liverpool of The Sun. That Britain’s biggest selling national newspaper experiences a circulatory…
FIFA president Sepp Blatter (left), pictured with Russian president Vladimir Putin, was booed at the World Cup final because he continues to be the face of what is wrong with FIFA. EPA/Alexey Nikolsky

FIFA is back to its core business – but Platini should replace Blatter

Delays in stadium construction. Poor working conditions for World Cup workers. Massive budget blowouts. Nationwide protests. Ignoring the needs of millions of struggling Brazilian families. All of these…
Germany: world champions for the fourth time. EPA/Antonio Lacerda

Germany triumphs in a World Cup of many winners and losers

No one can say the Germans did not deserve to win the 2014 World Cup: they remained unbeaten throughout, destroyed the hosts along the way, and then saw off those other historic guardians of South American…
There can only be one winner. EPA/Kamil Krzaczynski/Mohamed Messara

Germany v Argentina … who will raise the 2014 World Cup?

After four weeks, we’re finally at the pointy end of the 2014 World Cup. Germany and Argentina meet in the final in the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro this weekend. Germany is riding high after thrashing…
Spain’s golden generation, featuring players such as Torres, Iniesta and Casillas, crashed out of the World Cup in Brazil, perhaps marking an end to their dominance of world football. EPA/Abedin Taherkenareh

Capitalism or golden generations? Explaining success in World Cups

As the World Cup reaches its climax, with Brazil, Germany, Argentina and the Netherlands to fight it out for a spot in the final, can we explain why some countries have been successful at the highest level…
The Castelao stadium in Fortaleza was the first of Brazil’s World Cup stadiums to receive green certification. Pedroichimaru/Wikimedia Commons

The real story behind Brazil’s ‘greenest World Cup’

This year’s World Cup was supposed to be the “greenest ever”, with FIFA taking measures to account for the event’s greenhouse gas emissions, including an estimated 2.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide…
Feigning injury in football today has reached truly epidemic proportions. EPA/Yuri Kochetkov

Faking it: why football players feign injury

We all know that professional football players feign injury. Is it getting worse? Probably. Do we know why? Not really, but history suggests some plausible answers. The first thing to say is that feigning…
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…
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…
If you would like to see a large number of desperately poor people enjoy the joy of a World Cup victory, you should cheer for Nigeria. EPA/Rungroj Yongrit

Stuck for a World Cup team? Shoot for the happiness dividend

Let’s be realistic. Australia is the lowest ranked of the 32 teams in the World Cup, and despite a very creditable performance in its first match against Chile, its chances of making it out of the group…
FIFA’s chief medical officer is adamant there’s no doping in football … but experience says otherwise. Gabriel Corbacho Bermejo/Flickr

Doping in football – does it make the game any less beautiful?

It is often said that football is the beautiful game, resistant to the kinds of doping seen in cycling, baseball or less beautiful games of the same name. Much like Australia’s confidence before its “blackest…
Chile’s Alexis Sanchez fell victim to a goal disallowed by an offside call in the 2010 World Cup. So what are the nuts and bolts of the rule? EPA/Sergey Dolzhenko

Explainer: the offside rule

The offside rule is perhaps one of the most controversial rules ever applied to football. We only need to look to Mexico vs Cameroon on day two of the 2014 World Cup. Thank god for the 61st minute goal…
Economic modelling predicts that Germany is the most likely country to qualify for the semi-finals at the 2014 World Cup. EPA/Andreas Gebert

An economic crisis may make you stronger – in football

Forget Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo or Mario Balotelli. What will make your country more (or less) likely to succeed in the World Cup is its rate of economic growth. At this point, I expect European…
Russian model Irina Shayk is sure to turn heads off the pitch … but will boyfriend and Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo be able to keep his mind on the game? EPA/Walter Bieri

To score, or not to score? Sex, WAGs and the World Cup

While watching their national teams play in the World Cup, spectators may have their attention drawn away from the “beautiful game” on the pitch to the beautiful people off the pitch – the footballers…
Spain’s revitalisation of ‘beautiful football’ in recent years has been extremely successful. How have football tactics evolved over the years? EPA/Zurab Kurtsikidze

Tactics at the World Cup: a battle between aesthetics and results

The football World Cup may be yet to kick off, but there have already been innumerable discussions on the various playing styles that each country will adopt. Will they play a 4-4-2, a 4-2-3-1, or a straight…
FIFA suggests that 270 million people are involved in playing or officiating football around the world, with billions also tuning into the World Cup every four years. EPA/Sebastiao Moreira

It may be the World Cup, but how global is the ‘world game’?

In 1863, the newly formed English Football Association (FA) drew up and published the first Laws of the Game of football. The aim was to provide a set of universal rules to govern the various forms of…
Spain took home the 2010 World Cup trophy – can they do it again this year? EPA/Peter Klaunzer

World Cup 2014 predictions: who will take the title?

It doesn’t matter if you’re a hard-core football nut, a once-every-four-years fan or even a psychic animal – most of us speculate on the winner of the World Cup. The 2014 competition is held in Brazil…
Worthy winners? Anthony Stanley

Hard Evidence: what is the World Cup worth?

Ever wondered what the World Cup is worth? When Italian sculptor Silvio Gazzaniga designed the current trophy in 1971, it was worth US$50,000. Now the trophy is estimated to be worth US$10m. The World…
A representative of an outdated establishment with 19th century views … and Princes Charles. Justin Tallias/PA

Scudamore email affair reveals Britain’s elitist club culture

Controversy continues to envelop Richard Scudamore, the long-standing Chief Executive of the English Premier League, nearly two weeks after sexist emails he exchanged with business associates were leaked…
Will the FA give England fans something to cheer? Lewis Whyld/PA

The FA is hamstrung as English clubs have too much power

In an unusual attempt to pre-empt England’s inevitable World Cup failure, the FA has published a report to investigate problems affecting the national team. The report represents the findings of the England…
Liverpool and Manchester City pause to remember the dead of Hillsborough. Peter Byrne/PA

Hillsborough’s lesson – don’t fear the crowd

It is the 25th anniversary of the worst sporting tragedy in the UK: the Hillsborough football disaster, where 96 Liverpool fans died at an FA cup semi-final game against Nottingham Forest. As a mark of…
Reigning premiers Hawthorn was the first AFL club to trial the WASP tracking technology – so how does it work? AAP/David Crosling

In the long run: keeping track of athletes with wearable tech

With the AFL season in full swing many of us are glued to our screens marvelling at the speed and tactics of the athletes. Midfielders, such as ex-Cat-now-Sun Gary Ablett Jnr, can run between 12 and 20km…
Johnny Warren argued that no other sport reflects life the way football does. Dan Himbrechts/AAP Image

The case for Sheilas, Wogs and Poofters by Johnny Warren

If you had to argue for the merits of one Australian book, one piece of writing, what would it be? Welcome to our occasional series in which our authors make the case for a work of their choosing. See…
Nice stadiums, but who built all this? Doha Sam

Qatar has every reason to enforce new workers charter

Qatar has just introduced a “charter” to protect its migrant workers; will anyone notice the difference? Migrant workers represent around 88% of Qatar’s 1.9m residents, and the numbers are set to increase…
Falling prices? £85m Gareth Bale could move clubs for nothing. Adam Davy/PA

Footballers bid to shake up outdated transfer system

Footballers, it turns out, want the same rights as everyone else. If you or I want to move jobs, our new employer doesn’t have to pay anything. Should football players be any different? To gain this freedom…
Football’s popularity in Asia has fuelled illegal betting. Eugene Hoshiko/AP

FA is fixing football, but not how you might think

In the run up to the London Olympics, Jacques Rogge, then president of the International Olympic Committee, made a surprising statement. Doping, he said, was no longer the number one threat to the integrity…
Football, with its passion, drama and larger-than-life characters, has all the elements for a good literary genre. Boris Roessler/EPA

From stadium to page: why football deserves more fiction

A great football novel is like a perfectly executed bicycle-kick goal, like players such as Argentine legends Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi; they come along once in a generation. Against the accumulated…
Man and superman. Wikimedia Commons

Becksistentialism: because man is a goal-seeking animal

A student came up to me after class the other day and said, “So what is this ‘Becksistentialism’ all about then?” I want to begin to answer that question by defining the negative: Sir Alex Ferguson is…
Yaya Toure: subjected to racist chanting. van Sekretarev/AP/Press Association

Football racists score own goal against the beautiful game

It has been suggested by Sepp Blatter that Jeffrey Webb, FIFA’s vice president and the head of FIFA’s anti-discrimination task force, might succeed the Swiss administrator as President of FIFA. This support…
Shoot fast before the window closes. Bronski beat

Little known Joe Yoffe could close football transfer window

You probably haven’t heard of English footballer Joe Yoffe. Why would you? Until recently, he played for UMF Selfoss in the second tier of the Icelandic league. But Yoffe could be about to change the way…
QPR’s Joey Barton wore rainbow laces in a recent match. John Walton/PA

Solving homophobia in football? Don’t bet on it

Last week, world football was shocked by a match-fixing scandal that swallowed a minor league Australian club and cast it into a world of international betting intrigue. As allegations were levelled at…
Spurs fans: language reclaimers? Peter Byrne/PA

Tackle antisemitism, not the ‘Yid Army’ chants

Is it always wrong to use racial epithets, regardless of the context? It’s an old debate, recently revived and applied to football fans. The Football Association (FA), anti-racism campaigners and Jewish…
Gareth Bale, shirt salesman.

Real Madrid’s Bale money is a commercial investment

One of the most tedious but enduring stories of a summer packed with sporting incident has finally reached its climax: Gareth Bale has been bought by Real Madrid. This morning he had a medical at the club…
Rooney: rumoured to have once been bald. Martin Rickett/PA

The science behind football transfer rumours

Summer’s football transfer rumour season is in full swing; an annual activity as predictable as strawberries and cream at Wimbledon or suntans and sports cars at the Monaco F1 Grand Prix. World Cup years…
Chinese youngsters are keen to associate themselves with global football brands. ivanwalsh

Global brands follow football’s silk road to China

The football clubs of Western Europe are off to Asia this summer in the hope of engaging fans and building relationships with some of their target customers. For example, China plays host to the Barclays…
The USA’s Christine Rampone celebrates with Hope Solo after defeating Japan in the Olympic football final. Anthony Devlin/PA

Sexism, sport and how Blatter took his eye off the ball again

Sepp Blatter, the 77-year-old president of FIFA, the international governing body of football, has put his foot in it – again. Having made suggestions in 2004 that women in sport should wear tight shorts…
Collision sports such as AFL have adopted concussion management policies because it’s an unavoidable feature of the games. AAP Image/David Crosling

Sport concussion guidelines rife with conflicts of interest

Athletes and officials in charge of collision sports (such as rugby league, AFL and American football) have an uneasy relationship with concussion; it’s an unavoidable feature of their games and there’s…
There is currently no evidence to show helmets help prevent concussion or more serious head injury. AAP

Helmets won’t cure football’s concussion headache

We’ve heard a lot about concussion this AFL season, with claims that too many knocks to the head can cause mental illness, calls for more research into the possible link between football concussions and…
Soccer fans in NSW in 2005 after a disturbance between supporters of rival teams. AAP

A-League fans: don’t label them football hooligans

The late Johnny Warren deftly described some Australians' attitude to football as being a game for “sheilas, wogs, and poofters”. Whilst public interest has increased markedly following successive World…

Columnists (28)

Who’s got the biggest league in Europe?

The domestic football season has already started in both France and England, with Germany, Italy and Spain’s leagues following hot on their heels. As each league kicks off, the competition over which is…

Cut referees some slack, most have done a good job

In a tournament of 64 games, there were bound to be issues of contention, especially in a competition that carries so many national hopes with it. But the general standard of refereeing has been good throughout…

And the player of the World Cup is…

Parlour game time. Who has been the best player at the 2014 World Cup finals? The usual suspects are all here: the now-stricken Neymar, the great Messi, even the non-stop German false number nine, Muller…

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…

Research Briefs (1)