Stories about football

From Pakistan to ‘Survivistan’

You make a football for the world to kick (even though we don’t play football) and I cheer you on! You give a speech at the United Nations (UN) and I cry tears of pride and joy! You win a cricket match and I clap till my hands hurt! You get nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and my chest bloats with pride! You discovered the Higgs Boson and I am enthralled! Proud is too small a word! You take the first Oscar for your country and I scream out the news to the world! You produce the most divine mangoes in the whole wide world and ...

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Four ways Pakistani cricket is like Argentinian football

I was barely six-years-old when Diego Maradona’s individual brilliance almost singlehandedly won the World Cup for Argentina in Mexico. For a boy watching the event with his sports crazy family, the event was electric, with the iconic images of Maradona dancing through the opposition, and eventually lifting the trophy, forever imprinted in my brain. Equally iconic were the images of Maradona crying four years later, after his side was cruelly penalised by the referee in the final against West Germany. Even later, when Maradona shed tears after struggling with substance abuse, I shared his pain, and supported my hero, ignoring the fact that he ...

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What does religion have to do with football?

The World Cup 2014 is about to reach its final stages, with the quarterfinals matches starting from Friday, July 4. The knockout rounds saw major teams facing a tough challenge against underdog teams and five out of eight matches went into extra-time so that a winner could be decided. This highlights the intensity of these matches. The clash between the mighty Germans and the dark horses, Algeria, also went onto extra time. Andrea Schurrle scored in the opening minutes of the extra time, to give Germany an edge over the highly impressive Algerian side. Mesut Ozil doubled Germany’s lead in the 119th minutes and ...

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No, I’m not a football fan – bite me Suarez

I don’t follow football! Yes, I don’t have a favourite team – the closest I have ever gotten to it was when I played FIFA video games with my friends or back when Ronaldo had not gotten a hair transplant and was not such a Prince Charming lookalike; oh wait, that’s not the same guy – that explains a lot. By the way, we must limit the number of Ronaldos in one era, so that it’s easy to remember who is who. They are becoming the Khans of soccer. Exactly the way people from Rawalpindi think its cooler to live in ‘Pind’ rather than Islamabad, ...

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Hypocrisy at the Pakistan Football Federation is killing our chances at FIFA!

Despite lack of infrastructure, no comprehensive grassroots program and a mediocre league, Pakistani football does have one major gain – foreign-based players. Throughout the globe, national teams opt to pick the best players no matter where in the world they are playing. In Asia alone, you can see glaring examples with world cup candidate Iran recruiting players such as Ashkan Dejagah (Fulham) and Daniel Davari (Grasshopper) from Germany to bolster their ranks. Similarly, Lebanon has done the same with a host of European-born Lebanese players opting to play for The Cedars on an international platform. As a result, Lebanon has reached the last round of the 2014 ...

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Is Carlo Ancelotti the greatest manager of all time?

Florentino Perez, Real Madrid fans and everybody connected to the club are breathing easy now. And why shouldn’t they? At long last, their tenth European title has been secured. The obsession for La Decima has been put to bed once and for all, after a dozen long years of hysteria. Real Madrid’s captain Iker Casillas and team celebrate with the trophy after defeating Atletico Madrid in their Champions League final. Photo: Reuters In 2002, Real Madrid marked their centenary year with their ninth European triumph. In the rain in Glasgow, Zinedine Zidane’s unforgettable volley sealed a 2-1 win over Germany’s Bayer Leverkusen. ...

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Anti-FIFA graffiti in Brazil: Could Pakistan ever protest against cricket?

The first time the World Cup caught my interest was when the official theme song was being selected. The competition between Shakira, J-lo and Pitbull was worth following because no one could predict what the amazing musicians could have up their sleeves. Although I was utterly disappointed, when Pitbull and J-lo released their unimpressive and clichéd We Are One (Ole Ola) – which was eventually selected as the theme song of the tournament – Shakira’s powerful and colourful LaLaLa Brazil 2014 was refreshing enough. I still have it on my cell-phone. On repeat, might I add. This time, my attention was caught by the FIFA World Cup ...

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FIFA World Cup 2014: Pakistani footballs kicking it in Brazil

Although I like hockey and cricket a lot more than football, sometimes I wish I didn’t. Football fans have proven time and again how crazy, passionate and involved they are when it comes to their love for the game. I guess one of the major reasons why I, and many other Pakistanis like myself, are not so interested in football is because we do not have a national team that does well during world cups and brings back trophies. Pakistan ranks 159th in the FIFA’s World Ranking, which is a dismally low level, but with the recent success of the Pakistani team at the Street Child ...

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The end of a drought for an Arsenal fan

When I was 11-years-old, many kids my age in my country did not know much about football. Their knowledge of football consisted of a sport where you have to kick a ball, score goals and that the goalkeeper has the privilege of using his hands. At the same age, I bought my first football video game. Like any other sports game, the first task was choosing your team, and while I knew that Brazil was the best team and Ronaldo Lima was the best player in the world, FIFA 99 featured a list of teams I had never heard of before as ...

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The charming Manuel Pellegrini knows how to deliver gold!

The Barclays Premier League has finally concluded with Manchester City FC being crowned as the Champions of England. They faced West Ham in their final match of the season and required a draw or win to bag the trophy. And they bagged it! They did it with a mature and professional performance beating West Ham two goals to nil, thus finishing the season on top of the Premier League table. Over the next few weeks praise will be showered upon all the players and the management but, the one person who really was at the focal point of this successful ...

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