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WORLD CUP 2018

Every 4 years, 32 countries face off in soccer’s biggest show. It starts Thursday in Russia. 

What to know, how to cheer, & why Iran may be playing shoeless.

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WHAT TO KNOW:

  • With 64 matches to play, World Cup lasts a month until July 15th.
  • First time ever held in Russia.
  • U.S. men’s team didn’t make the cut – a first since 1986.
  • Underdogs Egypt, Peru & Senegal made cut for the 1st time in years.
  • Soccer superstars Argentina’s Lionel Messi & Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo have never won a World Cup.
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HOW TO CHEER:
“Spoons of Victory”

Yes, that’s right. Spoons are the World Cup’s official instrument.

Russian Lozhka (losh-KA) = 2 wooden spoons fans click together to make noise.

Quieter than 2010’s vuvuzela (long plastic horn) that’s now banned.

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WHAT TO SAY:
Go Ahead, Call it Soccer.

Soccer is called football except in U.S., Canada, Australia & few others.

World calls it football simply because ball is kicked with the foot.

So why do we call it soccer? First version played in the U.S. was called “association football” – “soc” was derived from “association.”

 

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Before the matches even begin, Iran's team is struggling to find its footing. Why Nike says it will no longer provide the team's "boots" (that's soccer lingo for cleats). Read more here:

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  • Russia hopes to stir World Cup crowds with musical spoons:
    https://www.reuters.com/ article/us-soccer-worldcup- musical-spoons/russia-hopes- to-stir-world-cup-crowds-with- musical-spoons-idUSKBN1J720E
  • Why Do We Call it Soccer? (From 2010):
    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2010/06/why_do_we_call_it_soccer.html
    It’s an abbreviation of association football. Both soccer and American football come from the same set of precursor sports, which became popular in upper-class English schools in the early 19th century and spread across the Atlantic. All these games involved advancing a ball through an opponent’s territory and scoring at the far end, but the rules varied from place to place. Ultimately, the version adopted as standard in the United Kingdom came to be known as association football, while another set of rules won out in the United States. Thus the Americans took to calling their gridiron variety football, and referred to the British sport by the slang term soccer, derived from the soc in association.
  • Nike withdraws Iran World Cup squad’s supply of boots due to sanctions:
    http://www.espn.com/soccer/fifa-world-cup/story/3522512/nike-withdraws-iran-world-cup-squads-supply-of-boots-due-to-sanctions
    The backdrop to the development is the Trump administration’s recent decision to withdraw from the international nuclear deal made three years ago, and to intensify the restrictions against Iran.In a statement, Nike said, “U.S. sanctions mean that, as a U.S. company, Nike cannot supply shoes to players in the Iranian national team at this time,” though the company also admitted that: “Sanctions applicable to Nike have been in place for many years and are enforceable by law.”That second part has left Iranian federation members confused — and frustrated — with the timing of the decision since Nike had been supplying the team previously, including at the 2014 World Cup when similar sanctions were in place.In an attempt to clarify the situation, the Iranian soccer federation sent a letter to FIFA asking for an explanation, as well as assistance in resolving the issue.Iran’s coach, Carlos Queiroz, was exasperated by the move, telling reporters: “Players get used to their sports equipment, and it’s not right to change them a week before such important matches.”
  • World Cup 2018 Group-by-Group analysis: 
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/11/sports/world-cup-groups.html