on 8 April 2006
This is easily the best book on the World Cup I've seen. Not only does it tell the story of the competition in an entertaining and easy to read way, but it seamlessly works in the personal stories of dozens of World Cup greats, like Carlos Alberto, Just Fontaine, Bobby Charlton, Michel Platini and many more. But sometimes it's the stories of the lesser remembered players that intrigue. Gyula Grosics, goalkeeper of the all-conquering golden generation of Hungarian footballers in the early 1950s tells how defeat to West Germany in the 1954 final (the Miracle of Berne) resulted in a two-year house arrest by the secret police and charges of spying after returning to Hungary. Luque of Argentina recalls the day his brother died in a car crash while driving to see him just hours after one of Argentina's group games at the 1978 finals. All of this is presented in a highly glossy and stylishly designed package, crammed with vintage pictures. The book contains candid dressing room snaps, loads of memorabilia, and so many stories that had me shouting, 'well I never knew that'. I mean, did you know that all-but-one of the Dutch team of 1974 wore the proper national playing kit with its three Adidas stripes on the sleeve, BUT star Johann Cruyff played in a specially made shirt with just two stripes because he was sponsored by a rival sportswear manufacturer. It's those little nuggets in the middle of the fascinating chronological telling of the World Cup's history that makes this book a must. I can't wait for the accompanying BBC TV series!
on 13 April 2006
This is the ideal book to accompany the world cup, full of fascinating interviews, background knowledge, and brilliant photos, this will be beside my armchair, throughout June and July, I am looking forward to the TV series which accompanies this book.
If you want to get a book to celebrate this world cup, I strongly recommend that you choose this one, it is invaluable, both for now and for future tournaments.
on 5 July 2006
Chronicling the 76-year history of the FIFA World Cup (and just in time for Germany's 2006 adaptation), World Cup Stories, which accompanies the BBC television series, does a couple of things very, very well.
The photography, some of which will doubtless evoke memories of World Cup's gone by, is cleverly presented alongside some not-so-familiar images and, for every iconic picture, such as Banks' save and Maradona's hand, there are curious shots such as the victorious Brazilians parading the Jules Rimet trophy atop a fleet of fire engines in 1970.
Alongside this is the compelling nature of the storytelling - skilfully nurtured by writer and broadcaster Chris Hunt, whose travels around Japan during the last tournament in 2002 were documented in the BBC programme Beckham for Breakfast.
From the first competition in Uruguay 1930 to the present day, World Cup Stories is a great companion and a well-timed piece of retrospective reading.