The ball is rolling: Brasil 2014 animation by Kike Prieto
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The World Cup is fast approaching, and with it, the potential for players to display their innovation and ingenuity on the pitch in view of the entire globe. That said, it also gives those outside the game the perfect opportunity to display their creative spark, like with this motion graphic created by Hermosillo-based designer, Kike Prieto. Distilling the spirit of Brazil’s World Cup in a few quick frames, Kikie’s work is gorgeous, and we’re looking forward to his next creative display. [Words by Maxi]

The ball is rolling: Brasil 2014 animation by Kike Prieto

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Unlock The Game

Before kickoff, you can find the best in the world here, perfecting every detail of their game. Every freekick. Every dribble. They’ll be ready to counter any attack, and they’ll know where to where to move to find that extra inch of space.

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Capturing American Fútbol: From Tijuana to Rio

Four friends of the AFR Team, Pete, Petar, Sam & Austin, have decided to take a trip from Los Angeles to Brazil, and they’ll be capturing everything (North, Central and South) American fútbol along the way. For their first stop on the way to Brazil, they spent a week in Tijuana profiling Los Xolos and their role in changing the perception of the world’s most busiest border town. Find their first dispatch here and follow their journey here.

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Bad Kompany - AFR Voice Ep. 36

On this week’s show we’ll be taking a look at what could be a season-defining win for Liverpool, after they came out on top of a 3-2 Anfield thriller against Man City. Can they really win fourteen games in a row and take the league title, should an unfit Vincent Kompany have played, and what will Fergie make of all this as he sits in the Old Trafford Directors’ box?

Then it’s off to the home of this season’s surprise package in Europe – the Vicente Calderón. After booking their place in the Champions League semi-finals at Barcelona’s expense, we’ll be discussing Atlético Madrid’s modestly assembled squad, a manager that is quickly becoming one of the most highly regarded on the continent, and the use of some cutting edge technology on the touchline (although we’re not quite sure what they’re using it for, just yet).

Elsewhere, we jet off to the end of regular season play in A-League, and catch up with good friend of the show Ahmed Yussuf, who unleashes his inner Craig David to fill us in on the runners and riders in the Finals Series playoffs; as well as giving us all a lesson in geography, timezones and logistics by showing a detailed knowledge of how on earth the Asian Champions League actually works.

Then we head over to Brazil, where it’s been a bit of an up and down time for everyone’s favourite left footed powerhouse – Adriano. It looks like even scoring in the Copa Libertadores isn’t quite enough to keep your job these days…

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96 People

In April 1989, 96 people went to watch a football match and never came home. They went there to see their beloved Liverpool — and, today, a quarter of a century later, before one of the club’s biggest games ever, those fans were honored beautifully.

Afterward, led by their captain, Steven Gerrard — the paragon of loyalty in a sporting era that often rewards money-grabbing and title hunger far more than fidelity to a cause — they won the game, 3-2, and set themselves up for their first league title since 1990.

When the game finished, Gerrard had tears in his eyes — and while some of those were no doubt down to a mixture of relief, exhaustion, and the thrill of victory — a lot of them were down to something more.

Gerrard’s cousin, Jon-Paul Gilhooley, died at the stadium in 1989 when he was only 10. While most of the time we can freely admit that sports are just sports — and the narratives we spin are irrationally inflated to feed our obsession with a game — sometimes they are something way more important than that.

Sometimes, sports say a lot about life and help us heal wounds that we once thought never could even begin to heal — and today was one of those times. #JFT96 [Posted by Zack]

Where is Football? Where the goals are.

Denmark-based photographer Kim Høltermand found the perfect morning to capture the game. The grass is brisk and if there are any defenders on the pitch, they’re completely covered by the surrounding fog. Where will you find the game this weekend?

Words Unsaid: Looking at the Europa League Theme

By David Rudin

At some point in the early 1990s, back when wins at the World Cup were still worth two points, goalkeepers were still allowed to handle back passes, and UEFA was still headquartered in a squat concrete complex on Bern’s Jupiterstrasse, the powers that be in European football gathered together and decided that a footballing competition wasn’t really a footballing competition without an anthem. 

For the Champions League’s 1992 debut, UEFA therefore commissioned Tony Britten to pen its anthem. The English composer set the French, German, and English words for “champions” to the tune of Handel’s “Zadok the Priest.” This grandiose mélange was then recorded by London’s Philharmonic Orchestra and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields Chorus. Thus, “Champions League” was born.

Like a national anthem, “Champions League” is more flattering than honest. It sidesteps the competition’s lack of history with a score that predates the invention of association football by 140 years. Lyrics like “The best teams/The Champions” gloss over the inclusion of multiple entrants per nation. The London Philharmonic Orchestra’s cultural cachet helps to mitigate UEFA’s crass commercialism. Tony Britten’s anthem is UEFA’s description of the Champions League: prestigious, rich in history, and exclusive.

The Europa League is a footballing competition and, as a footballing competition, it must have an anthem. 

But how do you describe the Europa League?

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Football heroes in all shapes and sizes. By Carlos Rivaherrera

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Through Ryu’s Lens: José does it again

Parisian fans have swooped past frustration and sit in their city with nothing but existential angiush. Oh, what could have been. This was their year, and it was led by the mighty Zlatan. That is, until he was reminded of his humanity and sidelined with an injury.

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