The World Cup is the planet’s biggest event. On millions of street corners in cities and villages around the globe, people watch, listen and follow every detail. Yet no one on this side of the pond has ever set out to explain comprehensively why it matters and what’s likely to happen this time around.

In this sharp, fun, and sassy guide, Stark & Stark lay it all out for both the casual and impassioned fan – the spectacle, the tradition, and the teams. Learn why Spain never wins, Brazil often does, and what the US and Mexico really need to do to win the Cup. Discover, too, what the first World Cup in Africa will mean – from Mandela to mythical spirits. Each team profile features a squad breakdown, players to watch, predictions, and an analysis of team tactics, tradition, coaching techniques, and even the national anthems that will be played before each match. Through it all, the book highlights the cultural politics that still make every England game resemble the Charge of the Light Brigade, as one reporter put it, and every Italian team a cross between Machiavelli and Michelangelo.

No soccer book has ever been as informative, opinionated, or as hilarious. Just take one small category — coaches. After reading this guide, you’ll know:

— Which coach makes his squad selections by astrology and had a former porn queen dedicate a song to him;

— Which coach once claimed he was slighted by the Pope;

—  Which coach was named after one of the Seven Dwarfs;

— Which coach once complained that goal netting should be white, not black, to appear more cheerful;

— Which coach plans strategy by visiting zoos.

And that’s just a tiny portion: From discovering how the Nazis influenced European soccer to why so few white South Africans have traditionally played soccer, you’ll never look the same way again at the world’s most popular game.

You’ll laugh out loud, you’ll argue, but when it’s all over, you’ll know more about the World Cup and soccer than an ESPN analyst. This is not only the best introduction to the 2010 World Cup; it’s a book about soccer you’ll want to read and reread for years to come.

Steven D. Stark, a former world sports columnist for the Montreal Gazette and the author of three previous books and one e-book, has been a commentator for CNN, National Public Radio, and the Voice of America, where his role was to try to interpret American culture to the rest of the world. Harrison Stark, currently a student at Brown University, has been a ball boy for Fulham FC, where his claim to fame was that he was once hit by a bottle thrown by an opposing fan.

Follow the build-up to the 2010 World Cup and the action as it happens on the book’s website:   

To arrange broadcast interviews with the authors; request a review copy, images or an excerpt from World Cup 2010: The Indispensable Guide to Soccer and Geopolitics ISBN 9780981928944, published by Blue River Press 2010, and distributed by Cardinal Publishers Group, please contact Ginger Bock.

Contact: Ginger Bock

Cardinal Publishers Group

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