TIME World Cup

Watch: The History Behind the Germany vs. Argentina Rivalry

This Sunday, Germany and Argentina will face off in the World Cup final. But this is not the first time that the two countries played against each other

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This weekend, the 2014 FIFA World Cup Trophy will go from the current holder of the gold statue, Spain, winner of the 2010 World Cup, to either Argentina or Germany. But this is not the first time the two countries have faced each other in a World Cup final.

In 1986, Argentina beat Germany 3-2, in a magic match where Maradona became Maradona. And it happened a second time in, 1990, when the Germans won 1-0 in what was considered at the time a less than exciting performance from the two teams.

Will Sunday’s match be a 1986-type final – energetic, surprising, memorable – or a 1990 final?

TIME’s Bill Saporito takes a look back at the rivalry between the countries.

TIME China

Welcome to China’s Evergrande, the World’s Biggest Soccer Academy

It has 2,400 boarding students, dozens of pitches and the ambitious aim of transforming China into a global soccer powerhouse

China, the world’s most populous country, tends toward the superlative. So, too, with the Evergrande International Football School in southern China’s Guangdong province, which bills itself as the world’s largest such sporting academy. Photographer Kevin Frayer documented life at the sprawling soccer school, which boasts 2,400 boarding students, dozens of fields, Harry Potter towers and coaches “assigned by Real Madrid,” according to Evergrande’s website.

Conceived of by property tycoon Xu Jiayin — who also has ownership stakes in the nation’s most successful football club — the Evergrande academy opened in the fall of 2012 with the decidedly ambitious aim of transforming China into a football dynamo. (Most of the school’s students are boys, but there are some girls.)

China has cultivated athletic dominance in a mind-blowing array of sports by funneling thousands of kids into state-run athletic schools. At the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics, China topped the gold-medal rankings for the first time. But China remains a men’s soccer laggard, having qualified for the World Cup only once.

Whether the Evergrande school will fulfill its motto of “Boosting China’s football and cultivating football stars” isn’t at all assured. (There is another competing private football academy gathering talent in southern China.) Still, in a country where kids rarely gather for a pickup match, just seeing so many children playing soccer together is a definite game changer.

TIME Bangladesh

You’ll Never Guess Where Some of the Most Fanatical Fans of the Argentina and Brazil Soccer Teams Can be Found

Bangladesh Soccer WCup
A man examines a T-shirt in the style of Brazil's national soccer team, being offered by a street vendor in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on June 1, 2014 A.M. Ahad—AP

Hint: it's a long way from South America

Correction appended, June 20, 2014

On June 7, groups of Argentina and Brazil fans clashed over the World Cup — but not on the streets of Rio or in a sports bar in Buenos Aires. Instead, the unlikely location was Barisal, which is not — as it vaguely sounds — some upcountry Amazon backwater. It’s a port city of some 270,000 souls on the Kirtankhola River in Bangladesh. And the fans were Bangladeshi.

The trouble began when a Brazil fan, called Mahmud Hasan, was sitting in the dining room of the Barisal Polytechnic Institute and began chanting that the infamous 1986 “Hand of God” goal against England scored by Argentine star player Diego Maradona’s was “illegal.” Argentina fans sitting nearby took umbrage — and the subsequent clash injured 11.

Then, on June 18, in the town of Hatibandha in Bangladesh’s far north, an 18-year-old restaurant worker, Milon Hossain, was killed when rival groups of Argentina and Brazil fans began hurling stones at each other.

Bangladesh is a country in the grip of World Cup madness — and the two South American giants are luring fanatical levels of support.

The flags of Argentina and Brazil are flying everywhere. Local authorities in the western town of Jessore have gotten nationalist angst over the sight of so many foreign flags and tried to ban them, but in vain.

“We don’t mind people wearing jerseys of their favourite teams or [using] billboards or banners,” Mustafizur Rahman, a government administrator, told AFP. “But it does not look good when flags of foreign nations are flying on your rooftops. We have become a nation of Argentina and Brazil.”

The danger isn’t just limited to outbreaks of violence. In the capital Dhaka, at least three enthusiasts have died hanging Argentina flags from the city’s precarious electric wiring. They were later dubbed “World Cup martyrs” by the local press.

Ifty Mahmud, a journalist at Bangladesh’s largest daily newspaper, the Prothom Alo, says support for Brazil is rooted in Bangladeshi poverty. The Brazil team also “looks like us,” explains Ifty, “just see Pelé, Romário and Neymar, they are dark-skinned so are we, [Brazil] are poor, so are we.”

Support for Argentina, meanwhile, has an “anticolonial character, because Maradona beat the English,” the country’s former colonial ruler. “Beckham is not popular here.” Maradona meanwhile, “is crazy, Bangladeshis love crazy people!”

“The way he cheated the colonial power, because it was daylight cheating, had symbolic resonance,” concurs Abu Ahasan, a researcher and anthropologist at BRAC (formerly the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee, though these days it is known solely by the acronym). “The same thing happened with Muhammad Ali and the West Indies cricket team; it captured the imagination.”

The Argentina team, perhaps aware of their huge support base in Bangladesh, made a rare visit to the country in September 2011 playing Nigeria in a friendly match at Bangladesh’s packed national stadium. Current Argentina and Barcelona star Lionel Messi shimmied his way into the nation’s affections, and giant screens were erected around the city for fans who could not get tickets.

Such is the fanaticism for the two South American teams that members of an E.U. mission have been trying to understand why European teams aren’t more popular. Despite the game being introduced in the country by the British, its mournful memo pointed out, “there are hardly any visible England flags on the streets.”

Correction: The original version of this story misstated the name of a journalist. He is Ifty Mahmud, not Ifty Islam.

TIME Soccer

Soccer Bosses Are Turning the Heat on Sepp Blatter, Days Before the World Cup Starts

FBL-WC-2014-BRAZIL-FIFA-CONGRESS
FIFA president Sepp Blatter has been under mounting criticism in recent days. Here he takes part in the opening ceremony of the FIFA Congress in São Paulo on June 10, 2014 Fabrice Coffrini—AFP/Getty Images

Sepp Blatter is being urged to not seek re-election following the latest flurry of corruption allegations

Days before the World Cup kicks off, and Sepp Blatter, the head of soccer’s global governing body FIFA, is facing a barrage of criticism from his peers, whose frustrations at the lack of action over corruption allegations is forcing them to become increasingly vocal.

The Royal Dutch Football Association head Michael van Praag, and David Gill, vice president of UEFA, which governs European soccer, have called on Blatter to not seek re-election next year, according to the BBC.

“Few people still take FIFA seriously and, however you look at it, Blatter is mainly responsible,” said van Praag.

The appeal comes amid reports that illegal payments were made by disgraced Qatari soccer official Mohamed bin Hammam in return for support for its bid to host the 2022 World Cup. Qatar was awarded hosting rights, outdoing Australia, South Korea, Japan and the U.S.

But yesterday Blatter dismissed the latest corruption claims as racist, prompting a critical response from soccer bosses in Europe.

“These allegations need to be properly investigated and properly answered,” said Greg Dyke, chairman of the English Football Association.

Asked by BBC if Blatter ought to step down next year, UEFA vice president Gill replied: “Personally, yes. I think we need to move on.”

So far, Blatter has yet to respond to the calls.

[BBC]

TIME tennis

Roger Federer Wins Another Set — of Twins

Roger Federer at the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters Tennis tournament, April 16, 2014.
Roger Federer at the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters, April 16, 2014. Imago/Zumapress

The Swiss tennis star and his wife Mirka Vavrinec welcomed twin boys on Tuesday, five years after having twin girls. "Mirka and I are so incredibly happy to share that Leo and Lenny were born this evening!" he tweeted

Roger Federer and his wife Mirka Vavrinec had a second set of twins on Tuesday.

The world-famous tennis player announced the birth of the baby boys on his Twitter account a few hours after revealing he was pulling out of a tennis tournament in Madrid to be at the birth.

“Mirka and I are so incredibly happy to share that Leo and Lenny were born this evening!” he wrote, hashtagging the post “#TwinsAgain” and “#Miracle.”

The couple had their first set of twins, two daughters, in 2009.

TIME Middle East

Saudi Clerics Condemn Gym Classes for Girls

Plans to expand physical education for girls beyond private schools has caused outrage among conservative clerics, who consider it a pathway to adultery and prostitution

A move to introduce physical education for girls to Saudi Arabian public schools has been condemned by conservative clerics, reports the Wall Street Journal, who say allowing girls to take gym classes will only end in adultery and prostitution.

Currently only private schools in Saudi Arabia allow girls to do P.E. The Shoura Council, a body in Saudi Arabia appointed by King Abdullah, voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday in favor of encouraging the kingdom’s education minister to look at introducing physical education for girls. After the news broke of the vote, several conservative clerics condemned it on social media.

“We are giving the Shoura Council a green light to continue the steps of Westernization and these steps will end in infidelity and prostitution,” tweeted Abdullah Al Dawood. Others called for the mass resignation of Saudi Arabia’s most senior council of clerics, a body normally responsible for declaring fatwas.

King Abdullah has loosened various restrictions on women in recent years, including laws allowing women to vote in municipal elections and also to work in retail. He has upheld, however, conservative objections to women driving cars and traveling without a male guardian.

[Wall Street Journal]

TIME abuse

Study: Teenage Jocks More Likely to Abuse Girlfriends

Oceanside Pirates junior varsity team line up against the Mira Mesa Junior varsity team as they play high school football in Oceanside
A new study links sports aggression and relationship abuse among high school students © Mike Blake – Reuters

Those playing both basketball and football are most likely to abuse their partners, a new study finds

A new study claims to show a link between sporting aggression and relationship abuse, finding that the likelihood of a teenage boy ill-treating his girlfriend is about twice as high if he plays football or basketball.

Inspired by the apparent correlation between violent sports and dating abuse among college athletes, the study examined data from 1,648 male students in relationships from 16 high schools in California.

Those playing sports such as football and basketball were more likely to have abused their partners either physically, sexually or psychologically than those who didn’t play sports, or those who were wrestlers, swimmers or tennis players.

Teens who only played football were about 50% more likely to have abused their partner, according to study, which was conducted by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

[Reuters]

 

 

TIME olympics

4 Diet Secrets of the U.S. Olympics Women’s Hockey Team

From left: U.S. forward Hilary Knight (21) skates ahead of Finland's Emma Nuutinen (96) during the second period in a women's hockey game at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, on Feb. 8, 2014.
From left: U.S. forward Hilary Knight (21) skates ahead of Finland's Emma Nuutinen (96) during the second period in a women's hockey game at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, on Feb. 8, 2014. Brian Cassella—Zuma Press

What’s fueling the American women’s hockey players in their quest for gold?

Canada may hold the hockey title, but on Thursday the U.S. women’s team will put up a serious fight for the gold medal. It will be the fourth time the rival teams have battled it out on Olympic ice. After earning a bronze in 2006, the U.S. suffered a disappointing loss to Canada in 2010 in Vancouver. After that, they got serious about winning Olympic gold–and that included reinventing not just their training, but also what they ate.

“They were working with a lot of products – recovery drinks, and a lot of bars,” says Alicia Kendig, sport dietician for the U.S. Olympic Committee who was assigned to work with the team on the players’ nutrition needs. “I wanted them to start thinking basic, to buy fresh fruit and vegetables. I wanted them to think of their food intake as a way to recover and fuel their activity – and that it didn’t have to come in a bottle or a wrapper.” Given their short burst of play and their indoor training environment, Kendig focused on giving the athletes foods that kept their energy up and protected them from stiffening up on the bench.

VIDEO: Meet Team USA: Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux

Here’s what she added to the players’ diets to get them to the gold medal game:

Beans and Lean Meats

Blood tests showed that about 20% to 30% of the players had low levels of serum ferratin, a stored form of iron. Iron is critical for bringing oxygen to cells and muscles; it produces the hemoglobin in red blood cells that binds to oxygen and ferries it to cells throughout the body. Iron also produces myoglobin, which feeds hard-working muscles with the oxygen they need.

Dropping below recommended levels of iron, which for the average woman range from 15 to 18 mg per day, can lead to fatigue, overall weakness and decreased immune function (which can make you more susceptible to colds and infections).

So Kendig, who prefers to get players to eat their nutrients rather than stock up with supplements, keeps the hockey team’s menus filled with high iron foods such as lentils, spinach, meats, and pumpkin seeds.

MORE: Russian Men’s Hockey Team Crashes Out of Olympics
Fish and Leafy Greens

Like most Americans, the women hockey players had slightly low levels of vitamin D. Because they train indoors, and play a winter sport, about 40% had lower than recommended levels. While the skin can make adequate amounts of vitamin D from sunlight, the hockey players don’t spend much time outdoors in the winter. So Kendig focuses on adding rich sources of D to their diet, from dark leafy greens like spinach and kale to salmon, cheese, and eggs.

Chocolate Milk

A childhood favorite, it’s also a go-to beverage for elite athletes. Milk contains whey protein, which is a form of protein that the body absorbs quickly, and sugar from the chocolate. “For recovery, you need the combination of protein and sugar,” says Kendig, who has it ready for the players when they come off the ice. “As soon as they see it, they want to drink it.”

Beta Alanine

This amino acid is actually made by the body, but in recent years elite athletes have turned to it as a way to speed up their recovery. Kendig says the American hockey players experimented with the supplement this season, but only about half a dozen continue to take it since many don’t like its taste, and others don’t like the idea of using supplements.

For its fans, beta alanine can keep muscles from getting stiff and sore between bouts of exercise, when lactic acid released by tired muscles starts to build up. Hockey players are especially vulnerable to the effects of lactic acid, since they skate in 45-second to one-minute sessions, then spend several minutes on the bench.

So far, Kendig’s changes seem to be doing the trick; with the U.S. women just one game away from a guaranteed medal, she hopes her message spreads to more elite athletes, not just Olympians. “A lot of athletes train to eat, but they should be eating to train,” she says. “That’s the whole purpose of food.”

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