World Cup – Articles, Analysis, Comment

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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…
Mario Goetze’s 112th-minute goal won Germany the World Cup final, but that match wasn’t the most tweeted of the tournament. EPA/Marcus Brandt

The World Cup that was: a look back through social media

On Sunday, Germany held the World Cup aloft after scoring a goal in extra time. Somewhat surprisingly, the final wasn’t the most tweeted event of the 2014 tournament: that title went to Germany’s demolition…
The World Cup may be safe in German hands, but the legacy the tournament will leave in Brazil might be contested for some time. EPA/Srdjan Suki

Cultural and political legacies of the World Cup: where to now?

The losing World Cup teams and fans are licking their wounds, while newly crowned world champions Germany will celebrate for at least the next four years. However, the world has already started to ask…
Brazil’s cattle herd is the world’s second-biggest - and welfare standards are on the up. Zeloneto/Wikimedia Commons

Tighter rules mean Brazil is now kicking goals on animal welfare

While Brazil’s footballers have failed spectacularly to live up to expectations, there are other areas where the country is quietly exceeding them. Perhaps surprisingly, Brazil’s rapidly improving animal…
We’re most at risk from cyber scams when distracted by events such as the World Cup. Flickr/Nelson Oliveira

World Cup fans are the latest to be targeted by cyber criminals

As rival football teams have been battling it out in this year’s World Cup, cyber criminals have had their eye on a different goal – to cash in on this global distraction at any opportunity. Among the…
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…
Football’s growth, while based on the game’s intrinsic nature, is also indebted to the World Cup. EPA/Abedin Taherkenareh

In a globalised world, the football World Cup is a force for good

FIFA, world football’s governing body, is not a perfect multinational corporation. It would be quite naïve to envisage that the World Cup should have the capacity to bring world peace, fix global inequality…
The food company sponsorship of the World Cup, including from soft drink giant Coca-Cola, is arguably a direct attack on efforts to improve child health in Latin America. EPA/Guillaume Horcajuelo

A World Cup of opportunities for junk food companies

On Saturday night, just hours before the latest quarter-finals of the World Cup, viewers watching SBS World News were exposed to over two and a half minutes of marketing for Coca-Cola. And that’s not even…
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…
Their football team might be out of the World Cup, but US viewership has skyrocketed during the tournament. EPA/Tannen Maury

Bigger than the Superbowl: the World Cup breaks viewing records

It’s official: more people in the US are streaming the World Cup than this year’s Superbowl, so it’s no surprise sports channel ESPN this week reported a 46% increase in viewership in group round games…
Samba’s origins lie in the dances and religious practices of the West African slaves. EPA/ Marcelo Sayao

Behind the beat: the Brazilian samba

All eyes are on Brazil and its vibrant culture, with the FIFA World Cup now into its third week and Rio de Janeiro set to host the 2016 Olympic Games. But while football is arguably Brazil’s most popular…
Television audiences may be fragmenting, but sport happens in the moment and demands instant – and lucrative – congregation. EPA/Fernando Bizerra Jr

World Cup: round ball, square eyes and hungering to excess

Just before a critical World Cup game against Spain in Rio de Janeiro, scores of ticketless Chile fans broke into the expensively rebuilt Maracana Stadium at its least secure point – the media centre…
Germany’s Sami Khedira has the option of citing the travel exemption during Ramadan. EPA/Srdjan Suki

Ramadan and the World Cup coincide … but it’s no big deal

The World Cup and Ramadan – the ninth month of the Muslim year, during which strict fasting is observed from sunrise to sunset – last clashed in 1986. This year they did so again in spectacular fashion…
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…
After a penalty shoot out, the Brazilian team celebrated victory in the Homeless World Cup final in Poland last year. EPA/Marek Zakrzewski

Homeless, but not hopeless: the other football World Cup

The 2014 World Cup in Brazil will come and go by mid-July, and with it leave its lasting impact — good and bad. But 2014 will also see the annual Homeless World Cup return to South America, some three…
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…
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…
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…
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…
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…