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The Weekly Rekrap: Merry World Cup everyone

Only 8 years until 2026

Previews - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images

Well the USA, Canada, and Mexico did it. They won the rights to host the World Cup in 2026. It might very well take a bit of the sting out of the United States Men’s National Team (if there was ever a team that needed a short, snappy nickname that wasn’t just its initials, it is the USMNT - it should be Carlos Cordeiro’s next act as USSF President, youth development, all that stuff, it can wait, I’m tired of typing all this out all the time - that was quite the parenthetical thought) not making the World Cup in 2018 to think about the possibilities of the Stars and Stripes hosting a World Cup championship match on July 4, 2026...

Well, we can dream. For now there’s Russia and all of the mediocre soccer that the sport played on the international level has to offer.

Anyway, onto the Rekrap...

Les Bleus and les banlieues

The French National Team is built around a diverse set of players largely from the working class neighborhoods of suburban Paris known as the banlieues. The New York Times has a look at the neighborhood Kylian Mbappe and other young stars of the French team come from. The area has become one of the most heavily scouted in the world with major clubs across Europe coming to try to uncover the next Mbappe or Paul Pogba. Still, despite the success of the players, racial and ethnic stereotypes about their neighborhoods and the people that live in them persist.

Look who’s back...

The World Cup may have started but over on Howler dot com things are getting up and running again after a change of ownership. Check out their World Cup preview... it’s a little different.

Show me the money...

Just because Carlos Vela, Giovani and Jonathan dos Santos are being overpaid to play in MLS doesn’t mean that Chicharito will just play here for nothing. He apparently wants $11 million to take his talents to Sporting Kansas City or wherever.

It pays the bills Gustav...

Speaking of MLS players at the World Cup...

The planet is not ready for Roman Torres, get ready world.

Herculez Gomez, from soccer player to pundit

Herculez Gomez has gone almost seamlessly from player to broadcaster. The former USMNT player and LigaMX leading scorer had an amazing career given that he had to basically get himself discovered by teams. Gomez talks about how MLS is changing and how the league, perhaps unintentionally, is following the same model that LigaMX does in being a destination for young Latin players before going to bigger leagues in Europe. Herc has some interesting takes on the state of US Soccer, the World Cup and the Mexican National Team in the interview he gave discussing it all with Soccer America.

If we’ve learned one thing...

It’s that superstar athletes should not listen to their agents about revealing their choice for which team they will play for next. It really didn’t turn out well for LeBron James when he announced he would take his talents to South Beach and it went similarly poorly for Antoine Griezmann. The French striker decided to tell the world on live television if he would be going to Barcelona or staying with Atletico Madrid. I’m sure they sold a lot of phone plans or whatever thanks to the stunt...

If picking the winner of games isn’t enough for you...

There’s a handy BINGO game you can play while watching the World Cup

It might not be hot beef...

But it’s a bit of room temperature jamon iberico at least. As Spain decided that it would preempt anything that Diego Costa did on the field as being the biggest national embarrassment that the country would have to endure in Russia by firing its coach a few days before the tournament began. Apparently, they were upset that Julen Lopetegui had decided to take a job with Real Madrid he was offered when the one he had lined up for over the summer ended. NARRATIVE! Anyway, there’s beef about it now with Florentino Perez telling ESPN, “There was an absurd reaction of misunderstanding and pride, aimed hurting the prestige of Real Madrid and damaging the image of our club in one of greatest periods of our history.” Got that, Spain decided to seriously risk their chances at having a good showing in the World Cup to show up Real Madrid. Maybe Luis Rubiales is a Liverpool fan.

Goals of the week...

It’s hard to beat a goal scored by someone who makes half of a defense fall down on the way to doing it:

If you are playing Canada and let a ball bounce around in front of goal that much, Christine Sinclair will put it in the net...

You should read...

It was so sad to hear that Anthony Bourdain died last week, it came out of no where and hit me pretty hard. He never had a good thing to say about soccer except in Kitchen Confidential when he talked about doing drugs and playing on his high school team, but I think if he’d have looked deeper he would have appreciated how the sport is like so much else that he seemed to be fascinated by in life: beautiful and ugly, liberating and oppressive, joyous and painful, in short - complicated. As a writer, the grey areas, complexities, and relative uncertainties about life are what really interest me and make me want to do this in the first place - so I always appreciated that aspect of what Bourdain had to say. I also appreciated that he was interested in people and wanted to know about them even if it made him uncomfortable.

Anyway, read the interview Anthony did with Thrillist, it’s well worth it - gabba, gabba, hey Tony.

You should listen to...

Well, you probably are already, but if not - The Total Soccer show is probably the best podcast for anyone looking for analysis of the World Cup. Most World Cup previews and analysis are bad. The people doing them have probably not watched much of every team in the World Cup and resort to cliches. Taylor and Daryl do not do cliches, they do research and an entertaining and informative show.