Bill Hillmann: I Got Gored By A Fucking Bull

On Wednesday, Bill Hillmann was gored while running with the bulls in Pamplona. A journalist, novelist, and former boxer, Bill and I have known each other since our time at Columbia College Chicago, where even then he was recognized for his frontline reportage, some of which has since appeared around these parts.… » 7/10/14 10:14am 7/10/14 10:14am

Alfredo Di Stéfano Could Wallop With The Best Of 'Em

It's unfortunate that it can take a great player's death for us to go back and really appreciate what a talent like Alfredo Di Stéfano brought to the sport. That's especially so in America, where the popular notion of soccer involves Brits inventing the game, Pelé and Brazil mastering it, us continuing not to care,… » 7/08/14 12:20pm 7/08/14 12:20pm

David Villa Breaking Down Is The Perfect, Saddest End To Spain's Dynasty

I'll admit it: I kind of love Spain. There was a time—weeks ago!—when they were considered the best team in the world, who had multiple, super long periods where they never lost to anyone for any reason and played a brand of soccer that wasn't just the best but was the culmination of all the best thinking about the… » 6/23/14 2:51pm 6/23/14 2:51pm

"Spain Was The Titanic": The World Reacts To A World Cup Collapse

It's full-on postmortem time in Spain and around the soccer world, as people grapple with La Roja's ignominious exit from this year's World Cup. One of the finest international runs the sport has ever seen went out not with a whimper, but with an embarrassing, well-documented shriek. » 6/19/14 3:59pm 6/19/14 3:59pm

What Tim Cahill's Wondergoal Sounded Like In Australia

Australia's national broadcaster SBS gave us a treat yesterday: an inset of announcer Craig Foster going nuts on Tim Cahill's outstanding equalizer against Netherlands yesterday. Australia had a lot to cheer for at the moment, but so did Chile and the other countries who scored goals on Wednesday. Here's all of them,… » 6/19/14 12:23pm 6/19/14 12:23pm

Here Are The Two Chile Goals That Ended Spain's Dynasty

Most "end of an era" talk is usually lazy analysis seeking to narrativize the moment when a former Super Team inevitably devolves into just a Really Good Team. But when the reigning World and two-time European Champions get absolutely ran off the pitch while looking old and terrified, you have to take stock of the… » 6/18/14 6:57pm 6/18/14 6:57pm

Can Spain Redeem Themselves After The Netherlands Thrashing?

Tiki-taka is dead. The Dutch killed it. Of course, every time Spain or Barcelona lose a major match tiki-taka is proclaimed dead, only to rise again. The truth is tiki-taka remains effective—Bayern won their league and Barcelona came within a Diego Godín header of doing the same—so long as you have the right… » 6/18/14 11:30am 6/18/14 11:30am

How Spain Can Ride Tiki-Taka To International Immortality

Off top, we need to acknowledge Spain's unprecedented dominance of international and club soccer over the past decade. Historically, however, Spain has been sort of a laughingstock. To understand the impact of Spain's international failure, you must first understand Spain's great domestic rivalry: Real Madrid vs.… » 6/03/14 11:38am 6/03/14 11:38am

"We Are All Monkeys": Soccer's Banana-Fueled Racism Protest

Yesterday, Barcelona's Brazilian defender Dani Alves was the target of a banana thrown from the stands at Villareal. Rather than ignore it or protest to the officials, the two most common reactions from players to this depressingly common occurrence, Alves did something cheeky and brilliant. He peeled the banana and… » 4/28/14 11:53am 4/28/14 11:53am