Russia Goes for Gold in Hooliganism

The Future World Cup Host’s Latest International Sporting Event Antics Only Deepen the Kremlin’s Sense of Isolation

In authoritarian political systems, sports take on outsized importance. After all, national greatness is part of the bargain. A measure of democratic freedom is traded for strength and victory, whether on the battlefield or in the stadium. That logic holds for Vladimir Putin’s Russia, too—which is why you could say Putin has had very bad month.

In France, at the Euro Cup, the violence of Russian hooligans almost got the national team banned before a humiliating loss to Wales took care of that, sending the Russians home doubly embarrassed. Days …

It’s Not Women’s Soccer—It’s Just Soccer

The World Cup Shouldn’t Be the Only Time My Son Roots for Female Sports Stars

He sat on the edge of his seat, tense, cheering and simultaneously yelling at the refs, shifting from side to side with each movement of the ball. No, my 9-year-old …

New York, One World Cup Match at a Time

Watching All 64 Games in Bars, on Buses, and Even at My Cubicle Made Me Love the City in a Way I Never Will Again

Maybe I did expect to be in a New York City bar below 14th Street at 7 in the morning at some point. Doesn’t every newly minted college graduate hoping …

Brazilian Protestors, Take Note: This Could End Badly

A 1968 Massacre in Mexico—the Last Country to Host a Summer Olympics and World Cup Back-to-Back—Holds Tragic Lessons

Protestors clashed with riot police as the World Cup kicked off in Sao Paulo, the latest manifestation of widespread discontent with the expensive (and behind-schedule) preparations for the massive sporting …

Can the World Cup End U.S. Cultural Hegemony?

Soccer Remains One of the Few Non-American Narratives That Bind the World Together

When I was 17 I spent the summer in France on an exchange program, living with a family in an idyllic town in Normandy, parlando the language of Napoleon and …

Brazil Modernized Soccer. Soccer Modernized Brazil.

Brazilians Made an English Game Beautiful, and in the Process, Helped the Nation Embrace Its Racial Diversity

Brazil—as two recent book titles point out, and almost any kid kicking a ball anywhere in the world can tell you—is the country of soccer. While the modern sport’s actual …