The Team Who Stole The World Cup

“The most chaotic, disorganised and ramshackle tournament in history” is how one publication described the World Cup in Brazil. Not the 2014 edition, with its concerns over stadiums, protests and transport – but the one in 1950, which was something else altogether. Blighted by teams withdrawing for dubious reasons, not technically having a final and…

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An Italian Lesson

Autumn 1994. I arrived in Padua, a small town in the north eastern corner of Italy and about a 20-minute train journey from Venice. I was a 21 year-old student of Italian and had never heard of the place – it had been drawn out of a hat by 2 members of staff in the…

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Two Tribes: Football Rivalries

“Loving you is not a choice”, sang Fosca in the Stephen Sondheim musical, Passion, “it’s who I am”. Well, if love makes the world go round, then hatred turns football on its axis. Nothing guarantees a sell-out like a bitter rivalry reloaded; no fixture able to ignite the increasingly apathetic faithful like one dripping with…

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