Eight World Cups My Journey through the Beauty and Dark Side of Soccer

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2014-05-13
  • Publisher: Times Books
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On the eve of the 2014 World Cup, New York Times sports columnist George Vecsey offers a personal perspective on the beautiful game

Blending witty travelogue with action on the field—and shady dealings in back rooms—George Vecsey offers an eye-opening, globe-trotting account of the last eight World Cups. He immerses himself in the great national leagues, historic clubs, and devoted fans and provides his up-close impressions of charismatic stars like Sócrates, Maradona, Baggio, and Zidane, while also chronicling the rise of the U.S. men's and women's teams.

Vecsey shows how each host nation has made the World Cup its own, from the all-night street parties in Spain in 1982 to the roar of vuvuzelas in South Africa in 2010, as the game in the stadium is backed up by the game in the street. But the joy is sometimes undermined by those who style themselves the game's protectors.

With his characteristic sharp reporting and eye for detail, Vecsey brings this global event to vivid life and has written a perfect companion for the upcoming 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Author Biography

George Vecsey has written more than a dozen books, including the bestseller Stan Musial: An American Life and Loretta Lynn: Coal Miner’s Daughter (with Loretta Lynn), which was made into an Academy Award–winning film. He joined The New York Times in 1968 and wrote the “Sports of the Times” column from 1982 to 2011 and is now a contributing columnist. He has also been a national and religion reporter for the Times. He lives in Port Washington, New York, with his wife, Marianne, an artist.

Table of Contents

1. The Goal That Changes Everything            1

2. The Making of a Fan            9

3. The Best Group Ever            21

4. Not Ready for Prime Time            42

5. The Kid Comes Back            47

6. The Sweetest Fans            63

7. Marking Maradona            69

8. Mr. Blatter Comes to America            93

9. The Big Event            99

10. America’s First Soccer Champion            120

11. Allons, Enfants            125

12. Americans Win World Cup—Again            149

13. The Year of the Outsiders            156

14. The Home I Was Always Seeking            186

15. Scandal and Head-Butt            190

16. Nelson Mandela Meets FIFA            209

17. Spain Makes a Breakthrough            213

18. Blatter Scores an Own Goal            229

19. The Age of Klinsmann            241

Epilogue: Back to the Roots            252

Appendix: Eight World Cups            255

Bibliography            257

Acknowledgments            273

Index            277

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