Talking to Nobby From “The Brothers Grimsby”

I’d arranged to meet Sacha Baron Cohen to discuss his new film “The Brothers Grimsby,” which opens in American theaters on March 11. When I arrived at the back room of the bar to which I’d been directed, though, I was greeted by a tall, slightly pot-bellied man, who looked the spitting image of Liam Gallagher. He was holding a beer in his bandaged right hand, wearing an off-brand number 19 England kit, and appeared not to have washed in a couple of days. He greeted me warmly, thrust a beer in my direction, splashing me slightly, and indicated that we should start the interview.

Read more: 8by8Mag

8 Reasons Luis Suarez Should Convert to Judaism

In the most dramatic turn of events at the World Cup in Brazil so far, Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez — one of the most talented players of his generation — has been banned from “all football-related activities” for four months for biting the shoulder of Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini in Uruguay’s June 24 game against Italy.
That means he’ll miss the entire rest of the World Cup.
Here’s why Suarez should use his enforced absence from the beautiful game to join the Chosen People.
1. Chicken soup tastes better than Chiellini’s shoulder.

Going Dutch, Collaboration Style

Bill Shankly, the legendary soccer coach of the British club Liverpool FC, is often quoted as saying, “Football is not a matter of life and death, it’s more important than that.” The attribution is erroneous, but in the face of the Holocaust, even the playfulness of the sentiment rings hollow. Soccer’s fanatical support and cultural centrality, however, can provide a crucial prism through which to view life and death, war and peace.

Simon Kuper, author of “Soccer Against the Enemy: How the World’s Most Popular Sport Starts and Fuels Revolutions and Keeps Dictators in Power,” is the world expert on the intersection of soccer, culture and politics. His newly rereleased book, “Ajax, the Dutch, the War,” is a revaluation of the Dutch role in the Holocaust, starting with the surprising silence of the country’s biggest soccer club, Ajax, regarding its actions during the Nazi occupation.

Ghosts Over Hungary and Holland

Political racists and soccer revolutionaries haunt the clash between Hungary and the Netherlands as the Dutch team arrives in Budapest on Tuesday ready to decide who will top the fledgling Group D table in World Cup qualifying.

As intriguing, though, is the match’s cultural backdrop: while Hungary has a terrible reputation for racism, a new book by Simon Kuper, “Ajax, the Dutch, the War: The Strange Tale of Soccer During Europe’s Darkest Hour,” was released on Tuesday, questioning the Dutch’s sterling reputation.

World Cup Winner

As any soccer fan will tell you, it only takes seven games to win the FIFA World Cup once you’ve qualified for the final tournament. Unfortunately, Israel has reached the finals just once — Mexico 1970 — where, after losing to Uruguay and tying with Sweden and Italy, it failed to progress beyond the group stage. That year in Mexico, though, there was an outstanding Israeli success — referee Abraham Klein.


Why the Royal Wedding Is Not so Royal

July 29, 1981 was a beautiful day for playing soccer. The sun was bright, the sky was blue and, like a schoolboy’s dream, the normally crowded streets were empty, making the whole world a soccer field. The only drawback was that I had to make my own sandwiches for lunch because my mum was otherwise occupied, glued to the television.

It was the day of The Royal Wedding, when the definite article was resounding. Television in a hundred countries played nothing else and chinaware in a million British households carried the imprint of a fresh-faced Lady Di opposite her less fresh, famously big-eared groom. The eyes of the world were on England and the eyes of England were on the thronged streets through which the royal carriages would proceed with pomp and ceremony.

Read more: Reuters Great Debate Blog

Talking to Lucas Radebe About World Cup 2010

The South African national team will stride out to play Mexico in Johannesburg on June 11 in the opening game of the 2010 World Cup, a mere 12 years after the team’s first appearance in the World Cup finals in 1998 against the host team, France.

The captain that day in Marseille was Lucas Radebe, a formidable defender with Leeds United in England. “For us it was a dream come true,” said Radebe, who grew up in Diepkloof, a neighborhood in Soweto, a black township of Johannesburg, under the apartheid government. “When we qualified we didn’t realize what it was. What focus there would be on us.”