Tons of good stuff from the soccer nerds at National Geographic:
"Introduction" by Sean Wilsey
"IVORY COAST—The Way to Win Juju on the Field," by Paul Laity
"ENGLAND—Faded Glory: Taming the Hooligans," by Nick Hornby (see the "extended" version as well)
"BRAZIL—Ballet with Ball: A Love Story," by John Lanchester
"COSTA RICA—Soccer Inc: Marketing Fanaticism," by Matthew Yeomans
"SPAIN—Morality Play: Soccer as Theater," by Robert Coover
"ANGOLA—A Greater Goal: Healing a War-Torn Land," by Henning Mankell
"ARGENTINA—Ode to Maradona: Falklands' Revenge," by Thomas Jones
"CROATIA—Group Therapy: A Nation is Born," by Courtney Angela Brkic
Here's an excerpt On 2002:
The best match of the tournament was the quarterfinal between England and Brazil, which contained equal quantities of intensity, beauty and luck. Michael Owen scored with characteristic elegance on a blistering run after a Brazilian gaffe in the 22nd minute, and England led until first half injury time, when Rivaldo equalized on a Ronaldinho assist. A minute into the restart Ronaldinho delivered an incredible, foot-of-God-like goal from a free kick from midfield. Despite three substitutions, and another forty-seven minutes, England couldn't get through Roberto Carlos and the Brazilian defense.
After the game David Beckham visited the winners' locker room, and (according to Sports Illustrated) this exchange ensued:
BECKHAM: Hi, sorry. I just wanted to know if Ronaldo wanted to swap shirts with me.
ROBERTO CARLOS (listening): I already traded shirts with him.
RONALDO (returning with a jersey): Beckham just gave me his.
The game was so good, Beckham traded shirts twice.
There's more >>