And then there were eight - The AFR Voice World Cup Review

It may have got a whole lot tighter in the second round – six matches hit a 0-0 stalemate at half-time – but the drama in every dying minute of both regulation and extra time, or every game, was truly breathtaking.

Exhibit A was the Unites States against Belgium – a match which put USMNT fans through the full gambit of emotions. They came up just short but put in a courageous performance that will live long in the memory of all football fans, no matter their affiliations, or indeed their location.

To break down the game and the colossal swell of support that lifted it to seminal heights, AFR contributor Nathen McVittie joins the pod. Fresh from a trip to Brazil for AFR, he also shares his experiences from the eye of the tournament’s storm, with tales of entire neighbourhoods coming alive for the greatest show on earth. With Nathen’s Atlantic-straddling background, there’s a discussion on quite how powerfully the USMNT’s heroic World Cup campaign can impact upon the American sporting public’s psyche, as well as another dose of late night viewing with the London chapter of the American Outlaws.

With the Tim Howard eulogising finally coming to an end, the guys cast a broad eye over the tournament – assessing the major headlines to come out of the last-16 fixtures, and make their predictions for some mouth-watering quarter-finals.

Amidst heat maps that looked fit for an avant-garde art exhibition, they tackle a flurry of ensuing questions - Will James Rodriguez put Neymar in his shadow? Will Messi continue to drag Argentina one step closer to glory? Will Miroslav Klose bag that record? And most importantly of all - will Costa Rica’s fairy-tale journey continue against a hot-and-bothered Holland?

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The World Cup Week 2 Review - AFR Voice

It still feels like it’s only just started, and yet half of it has gone already - but my word what a World Cup it has been so far. After fully submerging themselves in Brazil 2014 for another week, the pod take a moment to come up for some air and look at what has happened so far, and what could happen as the groups comes to their conclusions.

In the wake of Luis Suarez getting up to his old tricks and Italy joining the ever-growing list of European casualties at this tournament, it’s the South and Central American teams who seem to be making it their own. We also take a look at Brazil’s stuttering start, potentially the end of an era for Spain, and of course the subject of everyone’s favourite Vine, Mexico boss Miguel Herrera.

With England packing their suitcases after a delightful week-long stay in Rio, the gents from the pod were in need of new allegiances - and where better to find in a traditional British boozer. Boosted by their thrilling opening-game victory, the newly formed London chapter of the American Outlaws were in fine voice for the crunch Group G clash with Portugal, and the pod caught up with a few of their members to hear tales of the joy of beating Ghana, and sharing beers with Jürgen Klinsmann in Bosnian hotel bars.

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The Passing of a Generation

By Zack Goldman

Call it what you’d like: The end of an era, the collapse of a dynasty, or just, plainly, expected.

Whatever you term Spain’s past week, it was not what they had in mind when arriving in Brazil to defend the World Cup that they won with such heart and tenacity in South Africa four years ago.

It had all started so well.

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More Than Just a Flag
The World Cup is often portrayed as an event that brings a diversity of countries together, but it’s not just the teams, so much as the diverse people who make up each of those countries.
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Regardless of color, creed, or orientation, we’re all fans, and we’re all family. [Posted by Nathen]

More Than Just a Flag

The World Cup is often portrayed as an event that brings a diversity of countries together, but it’s not just the teams, so much as the diverse people who make up each of those countries.

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We made it. AFR has arrived at the World Cup!

A Football Report has just landed in Rio in time to catch a match at the legendary Maracanã.

We have just under a week to see as much as we can— faces, fans and of course, football, courtesy of Budweiser. As always, we’ll be using #whereisfootball to document it. Tag along with us. [Posted by NathenPhoto by Mark Forrer]

Google x The World Cup

Whether it’s welcoming Pirlo to the Amazon, a bit of father’s day football, or celebrating a rematch of the World Cup final, Google have created unique homepage animations for every match.

The Cost of the Cup, by PEZ
Addressing the current emotions surrounding the World Cup in Brazil, the sketchbook of French artist PEZ captures the heart of the issues at hand.
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Depicting the opinions of many Brazilians who consider the cost of the World Cup to be excessive, PEZ uses line, shape and an instantly recognizable figure to represent a typical favela buckling under the weight of geopolitical concerns and currency. [Posted by Nathen]

The Cost of the Cup, by PEZ

Addressing the current emotions surrounding the World Cup in Brazil, the sketchbook of French artist PEZ captures the heart of the issues at hand.

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Predicting the World Cup with the Soccer Power Index (SPI)

With the World Cup only a day away, all eyes are on Brazil. From tournament previews to the bookmakers’ odds, everyone is trying to figure out who will impress and who will fall flat on the grandest stage.

Fortunately for us, we’ve managed to procure the one thing that can definitively offer us the answers: The Soccer Power Index.

The Soccer Power Index was developed by ESPN and is a tool almost too powerful for the eyes and minds of men. It is the world’s first sporting precog. Its knowledge is earth-shattering, its power unmatched, its validity unquestionable.

The only question is: Can you handle it?

The Soccer Power Index is three feet tall and weighs 27 pounds (just over 12 kilos). It was being transported to Brazil from its birthplace in Bristol, Connecticut when we were able to make our move just outside of Bridgeport. We jostled it free from ESPN’s truck, scooped it up, and never looked back. After hours of decryption (nice try, Paul Carr), a number of trips to a local hardware store, and a regrettable number of human sacrifices, the SPI finally opened up to us, its captors, and told us everything. Our findings are below:

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It’s time. - AFR Voice’s World Cup Preview

It’s almost here. The wall chart is up, the office sweepstakes have been drawn, and all social engagements for the next month have been put on hold. After four years of waiting, Brazil 2014 is about to kick off.

To celebrate the imminent arrival of the greatest tournament of them all, this week’s show sees us delve deep into its underbelly. Join us as we rummage through all eight groups, looking at those players who have the potential to drive their nations into the last 16, and those who will be watching the knockout stages on the TV back home.

To make this World Cup Preview Special, well, special, we’re joined by two guests to give us the inside line on two of the tournament’s big hitters – Brazil and Italy. We chat to journalist and broadcaster Musa Okwonga about the weight of expectation on the hosts, and just why the beautiful game is so important in Brazil (to hear more from Musa check out his excellent BBC radio documentary, The Burden Of Beauty). Then we switch out attention to England’s opening Group D opponent as we talk to Italian football expert and friend of the show Giancarlo Rinaldi about all things Azzurri – how far can they go, will they be seriously hampered by the loss of Riccardo Montolivo, and just how do you stop Andrea Pirlo?

Now, let the games begin…

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