Gay Talese, following the Women’s World Cup final on 10 Jul 99, takes interest in the Chinese player who misses a penalty kick, Liu Ying. With podcast »
Beijing | Brazil’s got a striker so good he can score blindfolded. Felipe Marcos‘s goal in the last minute broke a tie with China and gave Brazil Paralympic gold, 2–1, in five-a-side soccer, blind classification.
James Montague has dissected the “footballing Venn diagram of … political and social hatreds” that constituted the recent East Asian Championships in Chongqing, China (“Football? What Football? The Asian Game Is about Politics,” Guardian Unlimited, Mar 3). Within Asia, Montague concludes, football still comes with political intrigue, readily available in every permutation of a four-team round-robin featuring the hosts plus Japan, South Korea and North Korea. (Mar 5)
As a sidebar to the Feb 29 entry (“A multihued archipelago, tuned to soccer’s harmonics”), part-time Hawai‘i resident Haruki Murakami reflects in a recent Spiegel Online interview on his sporting interests and their relationship to his writing (“When I Run I Am in a Peaceful Place,” Feb 20). (Mar 1)
Honolulu, Feb 29 | Gamba Osaka’s 6–1 victory over Houston Dynamo in the Pan-Pacific Soccer Championships final added another jot to the history of the Japanese on the Hawaiian Islands—a history that spans three centuries and that has helped create a multicultural population well-suited to building soccer from the grassroots.
Baghdad, Aug 9 | A triumphant march through the Asian Cup tournament in July contributed to the resurgence of the Arabic phrase Assood al-Rafidain (Lions of Mesopotamia) to refer to the Iraqi national football team.
“It’s a way of labeling them with this unifying and historic cultural icon,” says Newsweek Baghdad correspondent Larry Kaplow, who appeared on our Aug 7 podcast. Rising above divisions by ethnicity and sect, the Iraqi team, which trains and plays matches in Jordan, defeated Saudi Arabia 1–0 on Jul 29 to lift the Asian Cup for the first time.
Doha, Qatar, Jan 3 | In the family tree of football variants, cuju begat chinlone begat sepak raga begat sepak takraw.
While this genealogy may be speculative—less formalized and less freighted than that in the first chapter of Matthew—the importance is that the stylized kickball game of imperial China has found expression in the modern era.
Within Diosdado Macapagal International Airport six miles northwest of Angeles City in the Philippines, Ghanaian footballer Ayi Nii Aryee spends his days in legal limbo, lacking proper paperwork to travel to his destination or back to his point of origin.
He has been living at the airport, the one-time U.S. air base formerly known as Clark Field, since July, sleeping first on terminal chairs and then on a cot provided by the airport’s fire brigade.
Articles on the cult status of Celtic’s Shunsuke Nakamura, prospects for Australia’s A-League, Icelandic influence in the form of a takeover at West Ham United, FIFA’s ban on Iran, and pessimism over South Africa 2010.
Mandalay, Burma, Apr 20 | Dry dispatches announcing chinlone tournaments appear occasionally in the New Light of Myanmar, the mouthpiece of Burma’s military regime.
The terse pronouncements show that despite the political and economic torpor and the governing junta’s Orwellian logic—the capital recently was relocated from Rangoon based partly on the forecasts of astrologers—a taste for the beauties of “cane ball” remains.