WBEZ | World Cup http://www.wbez.org/tags/world-cup Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Chinese government to pay to stop pollution http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2014-02-17/chinese-government-pay-stop-pollution-109717 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/(AP PhotoEugene Hoshiko).jpg" alt="" /><p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences reports that Beijing is &ldquo;&quot;barely suitable&quot; for living because of pollution. Judith Shapiro, author of &#39;China&#39;s Environmental Challenges&#39;, discusses the Chinese government&#39;s battle with toxic air.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-14/embed" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-14.js"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-14" target="_blank">View the story "Worldview: Chinese to pay to stop pollution" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Mon, 17 Feb 2014 10:10:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2014-02-17/chinese-government-pay-stop-pollution-109717 Freddy Adu, Landon Donovan named to U.S. nat'l soccer team http://www.wbez.org/story/freddy-adu-landon-donovan-named-us-natl-soccer-team-86928 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-May/2011-05-23/Freddy Adu_Getty_Otto Greule Jr.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Freddy Adu has been selected to the U.S. roster for next month's Gold Cup as well as a June 4 exhibition against World Cup champion Spain, the first time in two years he's been selected.&nbsp;</p><p>USA Soccer, the Chicago-based organization that serves as the national governing body for the sport, <a href="http://www.ussoccer.com/News/Mens-National-Team/2011/05/Gold-Cup-and-Spain-Roster-Release.aspx">made the announcement on Monday</a>.</p><p>The 21-year-old midfielder has struggled to fulfill the potential he showed when he joined D.C. United at age 14, being left off the World Cup team last summer. But he's gotten regular playing time at Rizespor in Turkey.</p><p>U.S. coach Bob Bradley's 23-man roster is heavy on veterans, including Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Tim Howard, Jozy Altidore and captain Carlos Bocanegra.</p><p>He also chose up-and-comers Juan Agudelo, Eric Lichaj and Tim Ream for the all-important Gold Cup, soccer's championship of North and Central America and the Caribbean.</p><p>The Americans open group play against Canada on June 7 in Detroit.<br> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 23 May 2011 20:55:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/freddy-adu-landon-donovan-named-us-natl-soccer-team-86928 The scandals and background of the 2011 Cricket World Cup http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-03-23/scandals-and-background-2011-cricket-world-cup-84136 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-March/2011-03-23/110489412.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>All sports have controversies, but cricket sets a high bar for scandals. Right now, billions of people globally are tuned into the Cricket World Cup, underway in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and India. The final eight teams are currently in the knockout round.</p><p>WBEZ&rsquo;s news desk editor <a href="http://www.wbez.org/staff/ammad-omar">Ammad Omar</a> clues us in on cricket&rsquo;s incredible story lines.</p></p> Wed, 23 Mar 2011 16:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-03-23/scandals-and-background-2011-cricket-world-cup-84136 FIFA to announce host for 2022 World Cup http://www.wbez.org/story/2022-world-cup/fifa-announce-host-2022-world-cup <p><p>The U.S. is one of five countries vying to host the 2022 World Cup.</p><p>Soccer's international governor body, FIFA is expected to make the announcement today.</p><p>Chicago hosted a few matches the last time the U.S. hosted the World Cup in 1994. But this time Chicago isn't on the list of proposed host cities for 2022, even though the U.S. governing body for soccer is headquartered in Chicago.<br /><br />Frank Klopas is technical director for the Chicago Fire soccer team. He says if the U.S. wins the 2022 bid, the city could still have a chance of hosting some matches.<br /><br />&quot;Having the World Cup in the U.S. without Chicago being one of the host cities, I would be shocked. This is not only a big soccer town, but it's also a town that I think no matter what team or what group comes to play here, I gurantee you that you will find people from that country living in Chicago,&quot; he said.<br /><br />Recent British media reports alleged corruption within FIFA's executive committee. Klopas says he doesn't think that will have much of an affect on the 2022 bid.<br /><br />U.S. Soccer officials are in Zurich for the announcement and were unavailable for comment.<br /><br />&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 02 Dec 2010 11:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/2022-world-cup/fifa-announce-host-2022-world-cup Raw Video: Stephen Malkmus on Sound Opinions (part 4) http://www.wbez.org/story/sports/raw-video-stephen-malkmus-sound-opinions-part-4 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/archives/music/2010/07/Pavement21.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The final sections of Stephen Malkmus' July interview with Sound Opinions focus on Pavement's break-up and musical legacy. Malkmus also explains how a certain Chicagoan was instrumental in getting the band to re-unite. <!--break--> <iframe height="281" frameborder="0" width="500" src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/15229260?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;portrait=0&amp;color=cc0422"></iframe> He also discusses some of his early influences including Swell Maps and The Fall in the second clip. <iframe height="281" frameborder="0" width="500" src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/15233150?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;portrait=0&amp;color=cc0422"></iframe> Watch parts <a href="/agill/2010/09/raw-video-stephen-malkmus-on-sound-opinions/27812">one</a>, <a href="/agill/2010/09/raw-video-stephen-malkmus-on-sound-opinions-part-2/27926">two</a> and <a href="/agill/2010/09/raw-video-stephen-malkmus-on-sound-opinions-part-3/27953">three</a>.</p></p> Fri, 24 Sep 2010 05:23:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/sports/raw-video-stephen-malkmus-sound-opinions-part-4 Family, Colleagues Remember Dick Buckley http://www.wbez.org/story/algeria/family-colleagues-remember-dick-buckley <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/archives/music/2010/07/buckleywithbasie.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Here's the appreciation for Dick Buckley that aired on WBEZ this morning: <!--break--></p><blockquote> Hearing this fanfare was part of a weekly ritual for jazz lovers for years. It's how Dick Buckley routinely started his Sunday show. <br /></blockquote><blockquote><em>BUCKLEY: Hi everybody&quot;&brvbar;</em> <br /></blockquote><blockquote>Buckley was a jazz host with WBEZ for more than three decades. His broadcast was a key part of many people's lazy Sunday afternoons -- full disclosure -- including mine. <br /></blockquote><blockquote>TESSER: This is what he loved to do, play some good old good ones, as he used to call them, tap his feet to them, songs he had heard, versions he had heard a 100 times, and enjoy them again. <br /></blockquote><blockquote>Neil Tesser is a jazz critic and former WBEZ jazz host who worked with Buckley. He says he knows a lot of people who didn't know anything about jazz. But they listened to the show because they got caught up in Buckley's enthusiasm. <br /></blockquote><blockquote>TESSER: What you heard on the air was who Dick was. That was his great charm, there was no filter, there was no, I'm now on professional radio duty. You heard Dick Buckley talk to you, and if it sounded like he was in your living room, it's because he talked to you like he was in his living room. It was a direct connection with listeners. <em>BUCKLEY: Let's get started with the...</em> Buckley often weighed in to correct liner notes. Tesser says he enjoyed Buckley's willingness to freely offer his opinions. <em>BUCKLEY: That all-star big band, they could have offered 16 fellows off the street. It's an all-star&quot;&brvbar;.</em> SEGAL: Well, he certainly kept the traditional music alive. Joe Segal's the owner of Chicago's Jazz Showcase. SEGAL: He played a lot of music that other DJs were not playing. Most of them started playing in the 40s, but he kept the swing bands going of the 30s, the 20s and even back to early Louis Armstrong and Bix Beiderbecke, and all that, he would play all that music and talk about it and impart a little bit of knowledge. Buckley's love for the art form always came through. BUCKLEY: Boy, if I could play ballads like that, I wouldn't care f I ever made any money, I'd just sit around and amaze myself. Beautiful, beautiful, Bill Watrous, trombone. His love of jazz started at a young age. But Buckley's son, Jeff, says that didn't find favor with his grandfather. JEFF BUCKLEY: He thought jazz was like the devil's music. My dad wanted to be a jazz trombone player, but his father said no son of mine is going to be a musician. So my father had to look elsewhere. That elsewhere turned out to be radio. Buckley was in the military when somebody noticed his powerful deep voice. He worked at the radio station at his air base and later went on to work for a series of radio stations. JEFF BUCKLEY: There was always jazz playing in the background. I remember on Sundays, my mom and the kids would go to church, and we'd come back, and he'd have jazz on pretty loud throughout the whole house. Jeff Buckley says his father loved hearing from his fans. BUCKLEY: He figured the people who were his fans were the people with the best taste in the world. Jeff Buckley says there were three things his father loved most: His late wife, jazz and baseball. BUCKLEY: Everybody knows him as a jazz historian and a jazz expert, but the most important thing about my dad was my mother. Dick Buckley is survived by two sons, a daughter and three grandchildren. The service is planned for Tuesday morning at Drechsler, Brown &amp; Williams Funeral Home in Oak Park.</blockquote> <p><a href="/jkaufmann/2010/07/remembering-dick-buckley-share-your-stories/30864">Share your memories of Dick Buckley here</a>.</p></p> Fri, 23 Jul 2010 07:59:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/algeria/family-colleagues-remember-dick-buckley Iniesta, Madiba and Gouda -- A World Cup Final/Tournament Review http://www.wbez.org/blog/iniesta-madiba-and-gouda-world-cup-finaltournament-review <p><a href="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//spain.jpg"><img class="size-full wp-image-29533 " title="South Africa Soccer WCup Final Netherlands Spain" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//spain.jpg" alt="" width="493" height="346" /></a> <code><div> </div></code> Well, the 2010 World Cup has come to an end. Congrats to Spain. They are worthy winners of the trophy. Sunday's final had its moments, but was hardly the Fiesta of Football the two participants were theoretically capable of providing. Of course, rarely does a major final deliver any sort of end-to-end excitement, as both teams usually err on the side of caution. Plus, watching Spain and Holland during the last month, it was not hard to predict this would be a somewhat cagey affair. Both teams were more efficient than they ever were spectacular.<!--break--> Sunday's game featured a lot of roughhousing, much of it, though not all, by the Dutch, a lot of complaining and too much card waving by referee Howard Webb and the players, the latter group brandishing imaginary cards. Spain, as expected, held the edge in possession. Though Holland's Arjen Robben squandered two great chances -- Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas having a lot to do with both (incidentally, check out <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7KF8pcPeKRs">this link</a> of Casillas kissing this sideline reporter after the game . . . yes, she happens to be his girlfriend ). Spain's Andres Iniesta scored the 116th-minute winner, set up by teammate Fabregas, who was brilliant off the bench. In the extra time, Holland finally put out its best attacking lineup (the one I had long been calling for with van Persie, Sneijder, van der Vaart, Robben and Elia). In truth, the group didn't create as much as I had hoped, though Robben did not have a ton left in the tank at that point. No, it was not a classic match by any means. But it's funny when I think about why I wanted the game to be a great one -- much more for others than for myself. Sure, it would have been great to witness a truly historic spectacle that would be talked about for generations to come. Plus, from a sheer entertainment standpoint, a great game is obviously better than a drab affair. But mostly I wanted a classic contest so that American fans still on the fence about the sport would tune in and witness soccer in all its glory. I was going to enjoy the afternoon no matter what. I had family and friends over to watch and good food to snack on (incidentally, the events unfolding on the television were mirrored by those on my coffee table as the Spanish Manchego cheese and quince paste clearly outperformed the Dutch Gouda, at least if you judge by which wedge was smaller by the end of the 120 minutes). Sure, I was rooting for Holland. But I also like Spain, and was not disappointed to see them win, especially because they played better. Yes, at my house, the day was a celebration of the Beautiful Game. That the day's game was hardly beautiful was only slightly disappointing to me. Hey, English Premier League teams are back in training and the European club soccer season is just a month away. However, the unfortunate result of the afternoon is that some American sports fans will have watched the game and probably come to the conclusion that soccer is not for them. That's too bad. I just hope they remember how much they enjoyed the US/Slovenia and US/Algeria games. One should remember that despite having had some memorable Super Bowls in recent seasons, the game has historically been pretty poor. But few use those contests to make judgments about the entire sport If I had to draw a conclusion about the entire 2010 World Cup, I would probably say it was good, sometimes very good, but not great. At least from a soccer standpoint. There were some great moments for the U.S. squad, some teams that surprised (Germany, Ghana, Uruguay, Japan, Chile), high-profile flops (England, Italy, France, Ivory Coast) and new stars emerging. I don't think this World Cup had a signature game like the Germany/Italy semifinal in 2006. There were some moments that were memorable for the wrong reasons, like Luis Suarez's handball, Asamoah Gyan's agonizing penalty miss and a couple of high-profile refereeing mistakes. Off the field, there were vuvuzelas and cool official songs by Shakira and K'naan. There were fantastic stadiums, some of them in previously unheard of places like Polokwane, Rustenburg and Nelspruit. There was the passion of the South African fans, even though their beloved Bafana Bafana did not hang around long. And finally, on Sunday, the appearance by Nelson Mandela this whole event would have been incomplete without. Yes, I loved every minute of it. Before I go back to paying attention to what's happening in the real world (no longer simply skimming news stories about oil spills and spy scandals on my way to Jozy Altidore's Twitter page), here is my 2010 World Cup Best XI and list of "11 New Stars," players who entered the competition in relative obscurity but emerged with burnished reputations and higher price tags in the transfer market. <strong>Best XI</strong> Goalkeeper: Iker Casillas (Spain) Defender: Philipp Lahm (Germany) Defender: Gerard Piquƒ© (Spain) Defender: Maicon (Brazil) Midfielder: Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany) Midfielder: Xavi (Spain) Midfielder: Wesley Sneijder (Holland) Midfielder: Thomas Mƒ¼ller (Germany) Midfielder: Mezut ƒ"“zil (Germany) Forward: David Villa (Spain) Forward: Diego Forlƒ¡n (Uruguay) <strong>11 New Stars of the Cup</strong> (In no particular order) 1. Alexis Sanchez (Chile) 2. Keisuke Honda (Japan) 3. Pablo Barrera (Mexico) 4. Andre Ayew (Ghana) 5. Kwadwo Asamoah (Ghana) 6. Kevin-Prince Boateng (Ghana) 7. Michael Bradley (USA) 8. Park Chu-Young (S. Korea) 9. Antolin Alcaraz (Paraguay) 10. Fabio Coentrƒ£o (Portugal) 11. Eduardo (Portugal)</p> Mon, 12 Jul 2010 12:30:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/iniesta-madiba-and-gouda-world-cup-finaltournament-review World Cup 2010: Crestfallen http://www.wbez.org/PYusim/2010/07/world-cup-2010-crestfallen/29426 <p><a rel="attachment wp-att-29463" href="/pyusim/2010/07/world-cup-2010-crestfallen/29426 /55_20100711181421_600_400"><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-29463" title="55_20100711181421_600_400" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//55_20100711181421_600_400.jpg" alt="" width="521" height="400" /></a><code> </code> Back in the 80s, Ruud Gullit was one of my idols. Gullit was a colorful character then, with his trademark dreadlocks and a nascent rap career. I was thrilled to see him on ESPN now, after 20 years. At first, though, he was struggling to find his rhythm as an analyst.<!--break--> That changed when Holland came from behind to defeat Brazil in the quarterfinals. From that moment on, an ear-to-ear grin never left Gullit's face, and he was back to his voluble self, spitting witticisms with gusto. You could tell that Holland making the final made him feel like he was walking on air. But then the final came and went, and there was a different Gullit, fidgeting like a schoolboy in front of the camera, fiddling with his orange tie. Crestfallen. He muddled through his post-game analysis, mumbling a few inane points in a suddenly thickened accent, twice mentioning a corner kick not given, before a commercial break put him out of his misery. Crestfallen. Dutch soccer players let their emotions, and their gigantic egos, hang out. That is unusual in a little Nordic country more comfortable with modesty and reserve. Like everything else in the Netherlands, their antics are tolerated, although not always admired. Well, I, for one, do admire them. No one gets the game, its theatricality, its brilliance and brutality, quite like the Dutch. They are many things, but they are never clinical, never meticulous, never systematic. They know showmanship. Spain is a great team, but after four 1:0 games in a row, I will not miss them for a long while. But I cannot wait to see the Dutch take to the pitch again. This generation of Dutch players is still in its prime. In Euro 2012, almost everyone on this team will be under 30, and some may be yet to peak. Watch for them to bring more of what the Dutch game has to offer in the coming years.</p> Mon, 12 Jul 2010 09:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/PYusim/2010/07/world-cup-2010-crestfallen/29426 Top 5 games of the World Cup http://www.wbez.org/EHague/2010/07/top-5-games-of-the-world-cup/29367 <p>Now, I have to admit that I did not watch every game in the tournament. If Paraguay and Japan's 0-0 draw, or Slovakia's 1-1 draw with New Zealand, or Switzerland's 0-0 draw with Honduras were better, please let me know. 5. <strong>Slovenia 2 USA 2 (Group C)</strong> -- I think I could have chosen all the USA games in this top 5 as each had drama and moments of controversy, but this one stood out for me for one simple reason, I didn't watch the second half! <!--break-->After the England v. USA game, which I suspected would end up as a draw, I told my friends that the US typically lose to Eastern European teams that they should beat. Within 15 minutes the US are 1-0 down, and then moments after a chance to equalize, Zlatan Ljubijankic (I'll admit it that I cut and pasted his name rather than have it committed to memory) coolly gave Slovenia a 2-0 half-time lead. Then I had to go out. An hour later I asked a non-soccer following friend what the score was, and while being told that it was 2-2, I heard in the background raucous cheering and then more shouting. "There might be another goal, or might not" was the cryptic conclusion to my phone call. A great fightback by the USA, a disallowed goal which dominated the US sports pages for four days (until the Algeria game), and a game that proved to me that the USA is a soccer-loving nation -- I could watch the whole second half that I had missed on-line -- something that would have been impossible just 4 years ago. 4. <strong>South Korea 2 Nigeria 2 (Group B)</strong> -- the final stages of the group games typically produce one or two classics that go down to the final minute. This was one. Throughout the 90 minutes, I kept on trying to calculate which of these two teams was going through. As the score changed, and the Argentina v. Greece score did too, at various times during the afternoon both Nigeria and South Korea were going out, then advantage swung to Nigeria and back to South Korea. The game also had the worst miss of the tournament -- Yakubu, open goal, 6 yards out -- and then 2 minutes later he steps up to score the penalty to level the match at 2-2, meaning Nigeria just needed to score one more to qualify. The tension built but South Korean hung on to progress. An honorable mention also goes to USA 1 Algeria 0, but then again, the Algerians were never really trying to win. 3. <strong>Uruguay 1 Ghana 1 (a.e.t.)</strong> Uruguay won 4-2 on penalties (quarter final) I've chosen this game for about 2 minutes of it, from the 119th to the first kick of the penalty shootout. The goalmouth scramble, the header going in, Suarez's handball, the melee amongst the players that followed as viewers like me were still trying to work out what had happened, the red card and then Gyan smashing Ghana's penalty against the bar. Africa's hopes were dashed in those few seconds, but Gyan still had the poise and the guts to step up and score Ghana's first penalty of the shoot-out. He must have been devastated. If only he could have taken the penalties in the opposite order. The goals in this game, by Muntari and Forlan were pretty good too, and I'll add another moment, Sebastian Abreu's chipped final penalty. A crazy move, but sometimes it works (to make the Czech's European Champions in 1976) and at others it doesn't (ask an English Leicester City fan about the Premiership play-offs last May). Abreu is known as el loco, so I guess we should have seen it coming! 2. <strong>The Netherlands 3 Uruguay 2 (semi-final)</strong> As I said in my first blog, World Cups intersect with your life and become part of your biography. This game ended up as my World Cup story for 2010. We were in Small Bar with the WBEZ Worldview team and sitting in the booth next to me, not 2 seats away, was USA player Jay Demerit. He'd been playing in South Africa a week earlier. Heck, he could (should?) have been playing in this semi-final. But instead here he was, watching the game on TV with his friends in the bar just like we were, and, incidentally, cheering just as loudly as us when Robben's headed goal sealed the game for the Dutch. All the goals were good in this game too. I chatted with Demerit after the match about the upcoming Premiership season in England, where we may see him again, and he signed autographs for me and others in the bar. The weirdest thing is that while Jay Demerit is sitting right there, Jerome introduces me, Dan Shalin and the Worldview World Cup group to the bar, who give us a round of applause (if you were there, thanks). Maybe Demerit should have been asking for our autographs?! 1. <strong>England 1 Germany 4 (round of 16)</strong> -- I was spoiled for choice about which of Germany's 4-goal performances to choose from, but rather than the total dismantling of Argentina, it had to be this one because the World Cup is all about history, precedents, stories, and goals. This game had it all. I blogged about the history of England v. Germany games, the tabloid headlines in the UK, and the animosity between these two nations. No-one thought the Germans would win quite so easily, but with the English "defense" going AWOL, Klose, Podolski and Muller (2) scored as Germany cruised through. It was not, however, as simple as all that. The moment at 2-1 when Lampard's shot hit the bar, crossed the line, and was not given as a goal was delayed justice for the 1966 World Cup final. Many people complained that getting decisions wrong ruins football; this game proved that things even out over 40 or 50 years. Although some photographs suggested that the ball did not crossed the line<strong>. </strong> In addition, this game also led to the most amusing email about the tournament that I received: "ENGLAND are heading home from the World Cup today after state-of-the-art video technology showed the ball crossing their goal line many, many times. As questions were raised over why the Uruguayan officials had spotted all four German goals, the specially positioned cameras around the Bloemfontein Stadium confirmed that England's 2010 squad will forever be remembered as the 'team that never was'. The use of television has been a source of controversy in the sport, but experts insist it offers a fool-proof method for determining whether a team is good at football or whether it is simply a collection of absurdly over-compensated, second-rate commercial brands with ghastly, vulgar wives. Back home England fans vented their fury at the technology, as Paul the Psychic Octopus predicted Fabio Capello would soon be receiving a check for ‚£12million and moving to a country where people can understand what he's saying. Meanwhile, central defender John Terry finally arrived back in England's 18-yard box last night only to find that everyone else had gone home."</p> Sun, 11 Jul 2010 08:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/EHague/2010/07/top-5-games-of-the-world-cup/29367 World Cup 2010 Final: Players to watch http://www.wbez.org/PYusim/2010/07/world-cup-2010-final-players-to-watch/29338 <p>The World Cup final is here and you still do not know which one is Shinola? Worry not, my casual fan friend, I am here to enlighten, elucidate, and explicate. Two teams will take to the pitch this Sunday at 1:30 in the PM. It will be Spain against the Netherlands. These teams have the best players in the world, but this crazy sport that lets 25 men loose on a pitch for 45 minutes at a time with no commercials can be pretty confusing. So, to enhance your entertainment value, let me give the players you need to focus on for this game:<!--break--> <b>Wesley Sneijder</b> (Netherlands #10) - In a nation of giants (an average Dutchman is just short of 6'1''), the tiny 5'7'' Sneijder is king on the soccer field. He scored the game-winner with his head against Brazil, but that is not all. His wicked shot bedeviled the Japanese goalkeeper so, he let it rebound into the net. His spinning free kick bedeviled two Brazilians so, they could not decide whose ball it was, and it slipped into the net. In a key moment against Uruguay, he fell in, fell out, shape-shifted, flipped flanks, and then pushed a ball from the edge of the penalty area that no one touched as it threaded its way through a crowd and into the Uruguayan net. Sneijder is today's Maradona. He is today's Zidane. He is the one player who can win a game for his team. <b>Arjen Robben</b> (Netherlands #6) - Sure, he started losing his hair before he could walk. He is so skinny no one would think him an athlete. No matter. Arjen Robben is so skillful on the ball, so explosively fast, no number of defenders is enough. Just watch him school <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8wi60n1LtU">these 3 Slovaks</a>. He returned from an injury at the end of group play. Out of his 3 full games, he scored in two and got his marker sent off in the third. Look for his meteor runs on the right wing. <b>Mark van Bommel</b> (Netherlands #11) - If he were to punch you in the face, you would have to fight off the strong urge to thank him. As a holding midfielder in front of the mediocre Dutch defense, van Bommel is charged with stopping the opposition in its tracks. He kicks, knocks, punches, and tackles, and he does it all with that Mona Lisa smile of his. And he gets away with it. In the final, von Bommel will be getting all he has bargained for. If he is in over his head, he will be carded, and that would spell trouble for the Dutch. <b>Andres Iniesta</b> (Spain #6) - Remember <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucas_%28film%29">Lucas</a>? If this were Sweet Valley High, little Andres would be doing a lot of thinking stuffed in his locker. But this is the World Cup, and the pint-sized playmaker and his deathly pallor have been playing grim reaper on defenses far and wide. When Spain finds itself pathologically unable to score, which is all the time, it is often Iniesta's passing that comes to the rescue. He is so cerebral, there is no telling how many moves ahead he can see. Look for him to split the Dutch defense with razor-sharp passes. <b>David Villa</b> (Spain #7) - When Iniesta makes one of his trademark passes, it is often Villa he is looking for and finds. Villa is Iniesta's opposite - he is intuitive where Iniesta is cerebral. When a ball rebounds funny, Villa is there. As the opposition's defense tries to keep track of Spain's players, it is often Villa they lose first, and that is when he pounces. David Villa has scored 5 out Spain's 7 goals this tournament, and God help the Dutch if their goalkeeper ever gives a rebound. <b>Iker Casillas</b> (Spain #1, goalkeeper) - In the 59th minute of the quarterfinal match against Paraguay, with the score still tied 0:0, the referee awarded Paraguay a penalty. In the trench warfare kind of game that one was, going down a goal was near certain death for Spain. Nonetheless, Casillas betrayed no sign of nerves. The way he made that save looked like he was taking candy away from a baby. In his third World Cup, Spain's preternaturally composed goalkeeper is only a few saves shy of the ultimate glory. I have no doubt that against the Dutch he will have to make some spectacular ones, or else.</p> Sat, 10 Jul 2010 09:43:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/PYusim/2010/07/world-cup-2010-final-players-to-watch/29338