The FIFA World Cup is just around the corner and it’s the perfect time to brush up your history and facts about the World Cup. We have compiled a list of the best books on the FIFA World Cup you must read whether you are a seasoned fan or you are preparing to watch your first World Cup.
The Mammoth Book of The World Cup: The Definitive Guide, 1930-2018
An all-encompassing, chronological guide to football’s World Cup, one of the world’s few truly international events, in good time for the June 2014 kick-off in Rio de Janeiro. From its beginnings in 1930 to the modern all-singing, all-dancing self-styled ‘greatest show on Earth’, every tournament is covered with features on major stars and great games, as well as stories about some less celebrated names and quirky stats and intriguing essays. Holt’s focus is very much on what takes place on the field, rather than how football is a mirror for economic corruption, or how a nation’s style of play represents a profound statement about its people, or how a passion for football can lift underpaid, socially marginalised people out of poverty. From the best World Cups, in 1958 and 1970, to the worst, in 1962 and 2010, he looks behind the facts and the technical observations to the stories: the mysterious sins of omission; critical injuries to key players; and coaching U-turns. He explains how England’s World Cup achievements under Sven-Goeran Eriksson, far from being a national disgrace, were actually quite impressive, and looks at why Alf Ramsey didn’t take Bobby Charlton off in 1970, but this is no parochial, jingoistic account. The book also asks why Brazil did not contribute in 1966, despite having won the previous two tournaments and going on to win the next one? Why the greatest players of their day did not always shine at the World Cup – George Best and Alfredo Di Stefano, for example, never even made it to the Finals. Why did Johann Cruyff not go to the 1978 World Cup? And why did one of Germany’s greatest players never play in the World Cup? There are lots of tables, some filled with obvious, but necessary information, but others with more quirky observations. Alongside accounts of epic games, there are also brief biographies of all the great heroes of the World Cup.
Goal!: I Scored a Goal in a World Cup Final
From Uruguayan Alcides Ghiggia in 1950 through to Mario Gotze in 2016, this is a fascinating portrait of the men who have lived the dream of every soccer fan worldwide. Michael’s intimate portraits are accompanied by an interview with the player that not only relives the moment, but gives fascinating insight into the occasion, from the music they played on the bus to the stadium, to meal they ate afterwards.
The book includes the story of what happened in each World Cup, what happened to the players afterwards and what they do today. Beautifully illustrated, with fascinating text and the backing of FIFA, Goal! is a unique soccer book that captures the essence of the ultimate sporting achievement.
Soccernomics (2018 World Cup Edition): Why England Loses; Why Germany, Spain, and France Win; and Why One Day Japan, Iraq, and the United States Will Become Kings of the World’s Most Popular Sport
The Story of the World Cup: 2018: The Essential Companion to Russia 2018 – Brian Glanville
Brian Glanville’s dramatic history of the world’s most famous soccer tournament has become the most authoritative guide to the World Cup. His classic, bestselling account is a vivid celebration of the great players and legendary matches in the competition from Uruguay in 1930 to Brazil in 2014 – as well as a bold attack on those who have mismanaged the “beautiful game”. Fully revised and updated in anticipation of Russia’s hosting of the event in 2018, this is the definitive book on the World Cup for soccer fans and novices alike.
The Ugly Game: The Corruption of FIFA and the Qatari Plot to Buy the World Cup
When the tiny desert state of Qatar won the rights to host the 2022 World Cup, the news was greeted with shock and disbelief. How had a country with almost no soccer infrastructure or tradition, a high terror risk, and searing summer temperatures, beaten more established countries with stronger bids? The story behind the Qatari success soon developed into a global news sensation.
In 2014 The Sunday Times Insight team in the UK spilled the secrets of a bombshell cache of hundreds of millions of secret documents, which were leaked by a whistleblower. In forensic detail, they reported how Mohamed Bin Hammam, Qatar’s top soccer official, used his position to help secure the votes that Qatar needed to win the bid. The investigative team spent three months painstakingly piecing together Bin Hammam’s activities and reporting on cash handouts, lavish junkets, and evidence of payments to soccer officials around the world.
Now in this remarkable book by The Sunday Times journalists at the center of the investigation, Heidi Blake and Jonathan Calvert, comes a comprehensive account of what happened and who was involved. A bestseller in the UK, The Ugly Game is undoubtedly the biggest sporting story of recent times.
Some Russian literature before you visit Russia!
Boris Godunov and Other Dramatic Works- Alexander Pushkin
Alexander Pushkin’s dramatic work displays a scintillating variety of forms, from the historical to the metaphysical and folkloric. After Boris Godunov, they evolved into Pushkin’s own unique, condensed transformations of Western European themes and traditions. The fearful amorality of A Scene from Faustis followed by the four Little Tragedies, which confront greed, envy, lust, and blasphemy, while Rusalka is a tragedy of a different kind–a lyric fairytale of despair and transformation.
Here, James E. Falen’s verse translations are accompanied by a first-rate introduction from Caryl Emerson, an equally distinguished Russianist, which emphasizes the cosmopolitan nature of Pushkin’s drama, the position of Russian culture on the European stage, together with excellent analyses of the individual works in the volume. Falen’s translations of Pushkin are widely admired and his OWC translation of Eugene Onegin is considered the best available. This collection is sure to interest both casual readers and students of Russian literature.