Soccer’s biggest fakers, best commercials and spotlight-stealing wives and girlfriends


The stars, the spectacle, the fans and the rivalries.
takes you behind the world’s most thrilling sporting event.

Five standouts you’ve never heard of (photos)
These unknowns came up big for their teams in the World Cup’s first week
Selling Soccer (video)
Watch the 5 best commercials in FIFA history
The World Cup’s biggest fakers (video)
Watch our top 8 best (or worst) dives
Ladies on the sidelines (photos)
See the post-Posh generation of WAGs
Top 10 players to watch (photos)
The most exciting players on the pitch
The tattooed men of international soccer (photos)
From the subtle to the ostentatious, tattoos are a fixture on the soccer pitch
Uniforms that never should have made it to the Cup (photos)
The 10 worst uniforms in the tournament’s history

MORE WORLD CUP: Week one highlights, security fears, and the best soccer books

World Cup 2010: Week one in review
Messi stopped, North Korea scores, England blames the ball and other highlights from the first 8 days of play

Soccer’s net losses
European leagues are where stars are made, but debt problems are pushing pro soccer to the brink

Five books about the Beautiful Game
The poetry, politics, and pure nerdiness behind the world’s favourite game

Security fears loom over 2010 World Cup
All eyes on South Africa’s police after Greek players and international journalists are robbed

Missed the latest issue of the mag? Check out Maclean’s World Cup coverage

A league of their own
The favourite teams and stars to watch in the battle for soccer glory
Welcome to soccer town
Where is the best place on the planet to watch the World Cup—even better than South Africa?
Soccer scandals: the not-so-beautiful shame
The sport has more than a few dirty secrets
It’s time to get loud and proud
Fans show their support
A sport for athletes and actors, too
Embellishing injuries, although illegal, is all part of the game
The Messi-ah
Lionel Messi is the most feared and most admired man in the tournament. Could he be the best ever?
Our man in South Africa
A Canadian linesman at the World Cup

WANT MORE? Check out our photo and video galleries

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  1. This is a wonderful addition to Macleans

  2. I noticed that, being North-Americans, you just can't really dig this game. So please allow me to fix some misconceptions:

    1 The game is played by conducing a ball (i.e.: a sphere, like in every other sport) with the foot. That's why it must be called foot-ball and soccer is bastard meaningless word. Yes I am aware that there is another game in North America called football and it is played by carrying in the hands and arms something that looks like a small zeppelin. I suggest it to be appropriately named hand-zeppelin or something equally meaningful. In case of doubt ask the British; they invented both the game and the language, they know it better.

    2 Rugby fans like to say that football is a gentlemen game played by hooligans and rugby is an hooligans' game played by gentlemen. They also think this is offensive. We find it flattering.

    3 The brilliant comment by Bill Shankly in MacLeans cover is not meant to be a joke. In Latin America and Europe football is not just a sport, it is something holier than religions. As such it must be understood by their own myths and legends, not by irrelevant facts. It is the role of a religion to create myths that give meaning to life, and it shouldn't care to conform with reality and logic (viz. creationism). Brazilian journalist Nelson Rodrigues created the name "objective idiots" to describe people that care about facts in football. When asked to review plays in video he'd argue that "the video tape is stupid" and doesn't record dreams. So if you want to use facts to belittle football, just give it up. Football is much bigger than reality.

    4 In Latin American culture, "diving" is not an aberration, unless it is done by the opponent. Just as bluffing is not an aberration in poker. It is part of the bigger concept of what Brazilians call "catimba", the set of muddy tactics for fighting the psychological game. You know, life in the 3rd World is very tough and, as in a football field, you must be creative in every possible way.

  3. I'm a long time devored fan of the World Cup. Although I love the Stanley Cup and the Olympics. but combined than cannot reach the heights of excitement I get from the World Cup.
    I depart from the experts' picks and say the Argentina will win.

    • Then look out Buenos Aires, Maradona will be running naked through the streets!

      • I am glad we were spared that, but I am also German and enjoyed winning against Maradonna and his team immense

  4. "I would just like to say that perhaps your view of what a real American is is perhaps a little narrow. Is being born in the USA not enough to qualify as a real American?"

    "Is being born in the USA not enough to qualify as a real American?"

    Have I said anything to the contrary?

    "About the American team being 3rd rate"

    Where have i mentioned the American team being 3rd rate.

    Please don't slander others Mr Monroe

    I thought England, Scotland, Italy were other countries but I guess its politically incorrect to assume the entire world is not American.

  5. The 2010 Soccer World Cup is drawing to a close, and back here in South Africa we are starting to feel withdrawal symptoms. How are we going to cope without the droning of vuvuzellas, the happy and colourful supporters; local cars bedecked with national flags…and the sheer goodwill that enveloped us all for the past few weeks?
    But we won't forget these halcyon days – based on sales figures, our new “national emblem” will be seen and heard at sports events around the world, for many years to come! Sorry guys, I did not like it either, but as the event unfolded, the noise receded into the background.
    Even those who are not exactly soccer fans got caught up in the event – it penetrated our very existence. The country is riding a wave of national pride, and "Gees" (spirit) has become part of the vocabulary. While reflecting on the many moments of sheer joy, it suddenly struck me why we were able to embrace this event with such gay abandon.
    We have lived in isolation for many years. Financial, political and criminal problems became the order of the day as you read and talked about the negative impact it had on our lives. Every news bulletin and publication highlighted the problems we face on a daily basis.
    I am one of the millions who approached 2010 with apprehension – “Will the stadiums ever be ready in time? Will be embarrassed on the world stage? Will the criminals have a field day?“ etc, etc. Yet today I feel incredibly proud to be a South African. To quote one foreign journalist: “South Africa has knocked the socks off anything I have ever attended”. The preconceived ideas many foreigners had disappeared when faced with reality, and in the end South Africans, exposing our warm hearts, foibles and flaws, painted a true picture of what makes this country tick.
    I don't care who wins the trophy – we have all gained so much from this experience, we are all winners. Many bridges have been built in the process, and it is now up to us to maintain the momentum. Don't waste the opportunity by allowing the negatives to fracture our society once again….

  6. and everyone know that SPAIN is the champion..