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3.4 out of 5 stars
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3.4 out of 5 stars
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on 2 November 2000
It really is amazing just how much Brian Granville has managed to fit into this wonderful book. However it really is far from just being an excellent source of statistics for each of the world cups. This book is quite simply jam packed with wonderful, and quite often hilarious tales, ranging from the poor organisation and violence that ravaged the first ever world cup in Uraguay, to accounts of individual players. The tale of the pure footballing genius of Garinsha who was also blighted with complete madness makes fascinating reading. A book that every football fan should have on their bookshelf.
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VINE VOICEon 14 April 2010
A timeless classic updated and re-released every 4 years. I have somewhere in my loft my grandad's copy of the edition published prior to the 1974 World Cup and also the one I bought 4 years ago.

The text for the older tournaments hasn't changed but is well enough written to weather the changes in style over the years. The format followed is basically a chapter per tournament with a chronological narrative and then a table of results at the end of each section. As a young fan these tables held me spellbound for many hours imaging far off exotic locations that you could only dream of in the pre-budget airline era.

The reason I have given this only 4 stars is down to presentation. Great art deco style cover, but the text is more tightly packed than in previous editions, possibly as it has changed from a coffee table book to an on-the-go read, the paper used while adequate is basic, and there are no colour photos, indeed few photos of any kind.

On the whole I'd throughly recommend it for anyone interested in the history of previous tournaments and prepared to put the effort to read about it. Probably not so suitbale if you are after a slickly presented guide to the history of the tournament presented in the form of photos and statistical analysis. Also bear in mind that this book looks back not forward, so look elsewhere if you want to learn about South Africa 2010.
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on 9 May 2010
This is undoubtedly one of the classics on the history of the FIFA World Cup and Glanville is an acknowledged expert whom i've been reading for the past 30years

However the new current edition (seems to come our every 4 years) is a poor buy - one the text is more tightly packed and needs almost a magnifying glass and the rationale for a new edition was probably to include the last Wcup 2006 in Germany.

While all previous cups have been covered in separate chapters of around 20-25 pages with lots of comments esp on the poor standard of referees - the latest chapter on the 2006 cup (reason for a new edition) is a poor rehash of just 14 pages which fails to capture the significant moments and some of the more memorable trials and tribulations and there is no mention of the third place match.

Also i would have liked Glanville to include is the Best FIFA World cup lineups selected at the end of each tournament in the stats section

More a question of the publisher making a quick buck before the 2010 FIFA Wcup with minimal effort andno new photos
Tip - if u have any of the previous editions don't waste your money on this one
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on 20 July 2010
I find it difficult to review this book accurately without spending more time on its bad points than its good points. However I think it's fair to sum up its good points by saying that Brian Glanville is clearly a very experienced journalist with a depth of knowledge about the game, its history and its characters that deserves to be respected. This is a comprehensive history of the game's greatest tournament written by someone who has been close to the action for most of it. It doesn't weigh you down with stats and is more than just a dry recap of the progress of each tournament, focusing on key moments and not being afraid to address the many controversies.

There are, however, numerous minus points I could mention, some of which are just personal observations but others which should surely have been dealt with at the editing stage. There are frequent factual errors which simply contradict something which is said elsewhere on the same page, or which clearly are wrong - players' names being spelt wrongly and correctly in the space of a few sentences, or simple errors which are immediately obvious to somebody who knows (stating the wrong number of teams in a particular tournament, for example) but which could confuse someone who doesn't. The book has been updated several times since it was first published in 1973, but the text of previous versions has not been revised in the light of subsequent events when really it should have been - for example expressing a wish that the first-ever penalty shoot-out in the finals in 1982 would remain the only one, something which could easily have been edited out of later editions when it became clear that it wouldn't be. The chapter for 2006 seems like a first draft, with one section being virtually a complete re-write of what had been said earlier in the book. The format of the chapters changes almost as much as the format of the finals themselves, creating a confusing inconsistency, and the chronology of each chapter can also be confusing as it jumps backwards and forwards within a tournament. Inevitably for a journalist, particularly one who's been around as long as Glanville, there is a lot of editorialising along the lines of the grumpy old traditionalist who despairs every time the game sells its soul for the sake of an extra few bob. Sometimes these opinions are based on a clearly flawed premise - the expanded tournament wasn't to blame for players being tired in later rounds, for example, because they didn't actually play any extra games themselves. Often they are fair points made, but the same point is made far too often in many cases. We know you don't like penalty shoot-outs, but we don't need to hear them being criticised like that every time it happens. Indeed there is a lot of repetition in this book, I know I was fed up with hearing about Claudio Gentile's "tender mercies" by the third time around. Yes, he was a bit rough and it was drily amusing the first time, but once is enough.

Anyway, none of these points were enough to actually spoil the book overall, hopefully they are just a forewarning for anybody whose tolerance level for such things is particularly low as the quality of the book overall far transcends these shortcomings.
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on 18 June 2006
A very comprehensive review of the World Cup from 1930 to 2002. All the matchs are reveiwed and each tournament has a break down of results at the end. A good read and a must for World Cup fans.
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on 10 May 2010
This books is a new edition of the history of the fifa world cup with a very short preface about world cup 2010 in south africa (in which he predicts it's doom and failure it seems)

It is very good summary of the events and some of the major matches and issues over the period. However the book suffers from many errors in terms of facts and dates in the later chapters 2002 and 2006. In such an example where the book repeats the same facts twice in the same paragraph and when in 2006 the grame poll three yellow card insedient is reported to be Australia vs serbia and mortengro (in fact it was Australia vs Croatia) plus he thinks european champships took place in 2002. The fact checking and editoring of the last two to three chapter is really that bad.

In short if your looking for a book to help you understand this years world cup, then this is not the book for you. However if you want good summary of past world cups then it's a good read.

However how this can be call a essential compansion to south africa 2010 is mystey to me.The Story of the World Cup: The Essential Companion to South Africa 2010 (World Cup 2010)
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on 2 March 2011
if your looking for a extensive full history of the world cup [up until w.c. 2010] then this is the book for u, cant realy fault it for that as its very in depth and complete. it contains reports of all the big games at each individual tournament aswell as all the stats at the end of each chapter. this book is very long and although it was a while ago when i read it i remember being pleased when id finaly finished it as it was just a bit boring! (sorry mr. glanville)
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on 16 October 2009
Brian Glanville`s book is not bad but he does tend to look on the negative side. World Cups that I enjoyed didn`t really tickle his fancy. Football is all about opinions and Mister Glanville (always a shocking name dropper) has put together a decent enough tome. But his views are not football Gospel by any means.
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on 14 June 2006
Glanville is not a football person - one can tell he never grew up with the game. He is a fine journalist thou. His knowledge of politics and behind the scenes stuff is very good. However his knowledge/understanding of the game itself is very poor - one particularily annoying thing he talks about the great players he has seen - but gets their positions wrong; did he really watch the games?
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