A Monument to Losing: The Importance of World Cup Heartbreak

By Zack Goldman

No feeling is more coveted in football than World Cup triumph.

But, is there any one more fascinating—or important—as World Cup heartbreak? 

In any tournament, it’s only natural that the language and tone that we use to discuss the event is elevated and inflated.  This is especially true during the World Cup.  No matter how banal any loss may appear—it’s not just a loss.  It’s billed as a death.

It’s that moment when hearts, full of hope, founder—going down with the wreckage of a cup dream sailing smoothly only breaths earlier.  The moment when thoughts of “oh?” turn to “oh no” and then, emptily, just to “oh.”

That’s not to say achievements in the World Cup are only measured by winning the whole thing—or even winning games at all—but it is to say that there is something deeply sonorous and bleak that comes with being knocked out.

Yet, if one of football—and, indeed, sport’s—truest beauties is that it provides a vehicle for sharing the power of an emotion with others, then the importance of losing is the essence of that virtue more than victory.

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One final farewell to Beckham

From the sponsorships to the movie star lifestyle, David Beckham always seemed on the cusp of his career as a professional athlete being less important than his life on talk shows or in photoshoots. But looking back on his career that spans over two decades, the man had it (mostly) figured out. There were certainly highs and lows, but ultimately no one conquered football, and the world of sports at large, quite like David. As he walked off the pitch one last time, it’s clear how much he loved the game. [GIFs by Dale con Comba]

David Beckham, conquerer of nations, retires

By Anthony Lopopolo

For once, David Beckham had nowhere to go. There was nothing left to conquer. Winning in four different countries, this 38-year-old, though still capable, got the chance to depart the game as a winner, on his own terms.

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Beckham’s boots for his final game

David Beckham plays in the final match of his career today. As he heads into retirement, he carries the pride of Great Britain on his feet with adidas Predator LZs. Typical Becks.

An early exit after 27 years: Sir Alex steps down in his own style

By Anthony Lopopolo

The numbers pop out of his resume like eyes out of a cartoon character: he won 27 major trophies with United over the same number of years; he outlasted 116 managers on seven major European clubs; and he’s won 75% of his home games at Old Trafford. Nothing satisfied his hunger for success, and his diet never consisted of anything but winning. He’s always the first man at Carrington, the team’s training facility in Greater Manchester, there before staff and players as early as 5 a.m. He’s said over and over that he has trouble envisioning life without football. Retirement was something he wasn’t exactly ready for. "Nobody’s getting rid of me," Sir Alex Ferguson told The Guardian in March.

Nobody – not the media, not the club, not his body – but himself did.

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Not you, David.

Ahead of St. Etienne’s match against PSG, it was announced that David Beckham - Paris St. Germain’s ambassador H&M model representative of the AARP newest addition - would be starting the match in the Rhone-Alps region of France.

With Beckhamania hitting France like a Zizou headbutt (too easy), St. Etienne’s fans had time to prepare a little banner showing their love for Beckham just before kickoff. The initial surprise of seeing “Beckham I Love You” from the club’s supporters was met with a resounding “ohhhh” a few minutes later as “Victoria” popped up to complete the tifo. [Images via. Posted by Eric]

Through Ryu’s Lens: Beckham rises in Paris, Marseille falls

It was the grand derby, Le Classique between Paris St Germain and Marseille. PSG hoped to extend their lead in Ligue 1, and were somewhat fortunate to come away with a cool 2-0 victory. Beckham finally made his debut in France, coming on for the final 15 minutes and playing a chip that would lead to Zlatan Ibrahimovic grabbing the second for the French giants. Ryu was in town to see the derby, as well as Beckhamania jumping right into Zlatan’s arms.

Interact with Ryu on twitter @Toksuede and explore his Flickr. Posted by Eric.

Africa Cup Of Nations Debrief - AFR Voice Ep.12

What a couple of weeks it’s been in the world of football. We start with an interview with ESPN FC’s Mark Lomas to talk all things African Cup of Nations, before discussing the possible implications of the Europol match fixing scandal, what it means for football, and if there is a solution to the problem.

Elsewhere (in case you hadn’t noticed) David Beckham has signed for PSG, the Premier League has seen one of its finest own goals, and England have pretty much made themselves favourites to win next year’s World Cup. So strap in and let the latest edition of AFR Voice take you through all of the issues that you need to know (as well as plenty of stuff that you don’t), including bridal showers at the Bernabéu, a delightful selection of carpets in Turkey, and a new kind of card being brandished by referees in the Greek lower leagues.

We’ll also be taking time to get under the skin of this weekend’s Premier League action and decide if Manchester United already have the title sown up, before heading overseas to discuss toiler humour in Germany, running baths in France, and just how the USMNT are going to fight their way out of the most sinister-sounding of World Cup qualifying rounds – the Hex.

As always, you can get in touch with the team by tweeting @AFRvoice or emailing afrvoice@gmail.com.

Bienvenue à Paris, Beckham

Words had been swirling everywhere from Australia to England to Qatar, but David Beckham has finally landed in France for a five-month stint with Paris Saint-Germain, the rising superpower in the capital.

The man has also decided to donate his PSG wages to a local charity for children in Paris while he’s in town. With the speculation ending, many are questioning whether or not the 37-year-old can still compete with the best in the world. After all, the decision to join PSG gives Beckham one last chance at the Champions League. So after conquering England, Spain, Italy, and America, a remarkable career continues…

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