Tag Archives: World Cup

Bill Littlefield: An Interview with the host of Only a Game

Bill Littlefield is the host of WBUR's Only A Game, a weekly sports radio show. (Courtesy WBUR.org)

 By Kevin Koczwara

Bill LiIttlefield has been talking sports on his weekly radio show Only a Game on WBUR and NPR since 1993. Since Only a Game’s inception, Littlefield and his team of producers/reporters have brought a special perspective to sports and sports news and commentary.

Only a Game doesn’t take the easy way out. It doesn’t report on the easy or hot-button stories every week. Instead, Littlefield and company work at finding different angles to over reported and over hyped stories, to finding gems hidden beneath the footprints other journalists leave while forgetting the value of digging deeper and seeing stories in another light. Only a Gamei’s a radio program dedicated to exploring and discovering.

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Phil Schoen Interview [Part 1]

One of America's most authorative voices on soccer, Phil Schoen was the original play-by-play voice of Major League Soccer. (Courtesy NASR)

 By Kevin Koczwara

Part of why I love the game of soccer, besides waking at sunrise to watch European matches, is the announcers. You can hear it in their voices, they love this game. They breathe and live this game. Even though they’re in the booth, at times it feels as though they are on the field, connecting with the game, breathing in the smell of the damp grass and living on every touch of the ball, every break. They aren’t fans of teams or clubs when they’re in the booth. They’re fans of the game. And the best announcers are believers in the game.

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Where Bradley went wrong and how Klinsmann can fix it

 By Kevin Koczwara

Jurgen Klinsmann isn’t getting the best of press in his home country of Germany right now thanks to Philipp Lahm’s autobiography “The Subtle Difference.” The Germany captain called his former national team and Bayern Munich manager tactically inept and calls out Klinsmann’s approach to training, which according to Lahm, consisted of only fitness training and no tactical scheming whatsoever. Klinsmann shrugged off the diggers from Lahm and continued on his merry way, which looks likes like a good idea because Lahm apparently doesn’t have anything positive to say about just about any of his past coaches.

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World soccer in need of a wake up call

By Kevin Koczwara

The world’s biggest sport is in danger of falling apart, collapsing on itself and losing its global grip because those trusted with the keys to the most luxuries and lucrative sport in the world have failed their fans, players, managers and the owners.

FIFA, the governing body of world soccer, is losing legitimacy one day at a time. News continues to seep out about bribery, voting buying, and in-house who-knows-whats. FIFA president Sepp Blatter won his fourth consecutive term as President of FIFA, but his time in charge keeps creeping closer to becoming a time FIFA would like to forget as more and more news comes out of Zurich.

Blatter’s time in time hasn’t been easy but he certainly hasn’t helped himself either. Blatter has pushed aside any and all opposition with barely any recognition. He’s shuttled men (because no women are apparently allowed to be inside the old men’s club of FIFA) out of their posts because they question him, because someday they may want his lucrative job, maybe. He has preferred to ban and not explain. And best of all, he has decided to present the world with mythical stories of a perfect world inside the FIFA compound when questioned about possible turmoil.

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Japan Fighting For a Hurting Nation

The Japan Women's National soccer team have a lot to play. thier season was cut short after the devastating tsunami in March. This is an aerial view of Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force personnel and disaster relief crews searching Sukuiso, Japan for victims of a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Dylan McCord/Released)

By Ryan Fleming

Many have said, including myself, that the tide of this World Cup is fully behind the United States Women’s National Team – seemingly guiding them through Brazil, France — the final swell is Japan. It’s time to say it, Japan might be the team of destiny in this World Cup.

A lot has to be said and already has been said about the USWNT. Coming from behind against an extremely talented Brazil team, with only 10-women, scoring the latest goal ever in the Women’s World Cup (122nd minute) then claiming victory in what seemed to be all too easy penalty kicks.

Defeating France, going up early on Lauren Cheney’s deflection, then playing determined, skillfull soccer after Les Bleues tied the score. Brazil hero, Abby Wambach and super-sub Alex Morgan scoring the US’s following goals late in the second half.

Japan though, has to be praised as well.

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Few Days Later, France and USA

By Ryan Fleming

Now that we’ve all had a chance to breath, to pick up those chairs we’ve knocked over, to put away our respirators, and to go to the local grocer to buy more tissues after the United States Women’s National Team pulled off, in simple terms, one heck of a win over Brazil. The Yanks now face a French team that showed guts, not more than the English team they beat in penalty kicks, but are arguably the most skilled team and possess the most skilled free kick specialist and some of the most deadly wingers in the tournament.

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A Moment of Brilliance: U.S. Women make the world stand still

By Kevin Koczwara

Abby Wambach never gave up. Neither did her teammates, the rest of the United States Women’s National Team. It seemed like fate was teasing and tormenting the USWNT and handing its skilled opponent, Brazil, all the breaks. But that didn’t stop Wambach or her teammates. Even when things looked dire, when Rachel Buehler was sent off with a straight red card and the Brazilians got two cracks at the ensuing penalty kick, the Yanks never gave in to fate.

The American spirit that the U.S. prides itself on, never left the side, and coach Pia Sundhage — a Swede — got a three course meal of American spirit, and it overwhelmed her. It ultimately helped the U.S. prevail despite being down 2-1 in in extra time with the whistle pursed between the refs lips, ready to blow.

“Getting the red card and going down in extra time is tough. It’s a tough hill to climb,” said Wambach afterwards. “But this team is willing to put their hearts on the line. This team is willing to do whatever it takes to win, and I think it showed tonight.”

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Worth the wait: The amazing USWNT

The hero, Abby Wambach. Wambach saved the U.S. from elimination from the 2011 Women's World Cupwith an amazing goal in extra time. (Courtesy, kate rw Flickr)

By Ryan Fleming

Sitting in my living room in the same chair where I watched the United States Men’s National Team defeat Algeria in what I thought, at the time, was the best sporting event I’ve seen in my 24 years, my opinion has now changed.

Admittedly, I was late in watching the game, coming back from a weekend away. On my drive home I followed the game through the numerous sports outlets I follow on Twitter (God save Twitter). I got home with about 15 minutes left in the game and couldn’t remove my eyes from the TV.

Something about the passion of USWNT forward Abby Wambach yelling, encouraging her teammates forward. The knowledge already of the red card that really wasn’t — sending off Yank Rachel Buehler in the 65th minute on her invisible foul that saw her and five-time World Player of The Year, Marta, collapse inside the box. The save that wasn’t – all to be taken away for an encroachment penalty, that is certainly correct by the book, but often gets overlooked.

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Flashbacks to '99: What the USWNT and Women's World Cup means

By Melissa Turtinen

In our swimsuits, we crowded around a small television at a teammate’s house as we watched the United State’s Women’s National Team make history. The TV was strategically placed so the sun wouldn’t cause a glare and so we could see every play. We’d jump in the pool to stay cool and listen for updates from our teammates as we ran from the pool’s edge to the picnic table where TV sat.

It was July 10, 1999 and the final game of the Women’s World Cup was going into extra time against China. The score was 0-0. The entire 12 and Under Classic 1 soccer team I played on gathered around the TV. No goals – the game was headed for penalties. On the fifth kick, Brandi Chastain scored the game-winning goal for the US and proceeded to rip off her shirt – we instantly idolized her as we prepared for our own version of the World Cup just a few days later.

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Some of the Best From 2010 [Video Post]

By Kevin Koczwara

Three Goals to Remember

World Cup Final, Iniesta secures Spain victory with stoppage time goal
http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/v/l-ZGbvNHzf4?fs=1&hl=en_US

The World Cup’s Forgotten Star: Diego Forlan
Just one of his amazing goals from the World Cup in South Africa.
http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/v/CXA8jaeppnc?fs=1&hl=en_US

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