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Tag: World Cup (1-9 of 9)

Jason Sudeikis returns as Coach Lasso, confused 'football' commentator

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Coach Ted Lasso is back, and he still doesn’t understand offsides. In the second commercial for NBC Sports’ coverage of the English Premier League, he tells U.S. and Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard that he “has a better understanding of who killed Kennedy” than he does offside (spoiler: it was the mob).

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More viewers for USA-Portugal match than World Series, NBA Finals deciders

It’s not the nation’s most popular sport (yet), but soccer has made its way past our national pastime in the ratings. The U.S. Men’s National Team landed more viewers in its second game of the World Cup—a 2-2 draw against Portugal that kept the U.S. in contention—than the the final championship games or matches of every other pro sport except football.

According to an analysis at The Wrap, USA-Portugal played to 18.2 million live plus same day total viewers on ESPN, topping the World Series Game 6, which landed 18 million flat. Game 5 of the NBA Finals (the last game) took in 18 million as well, with Game 5 of the Stanley Cup, pulling in 6 million.

Team USA’s match against Belgium on Tuesday was predicted to top the Portugal game’s ratings, but it finished second in viewership. The U.S. team lost 2-1 in overtime and was eliminated.

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Tim Howard is the new U.S. Secretary of Defense, according to Wikipedia

After his miraculous game Tuesday, U.S. Men’s National Team goalkeeper Tim Howard quickly became a folk hero.

Case in point: Someone edited Wikipedia’s entry on the United States Secretary of Defense to say this: READ FULL STORY

The director of 'Bend It Like Beckham' wants Brazil to win the World Cup

Monday, June 30, at 10:30 a.m. PST was probably not the best time to call Gurinder Chadha. As a reporter interested in her thoughts on this year’s World Cup, I really should have known better: The France v. Nigeria game was wrapping up with about 20 minutes to go.

Chadha, who is based in London, is the director, writer, and producer of 2002’s Bend It Like Beckham, which tells the story of an 18-year-old girl who rebels against her Sikh parents’ traditionalism to pursue a career in soccer. Chadha’s ultimate goal—get it?—was to draw attention to the lack of a female and Asian presence in the sport. For many young girls, Bend It Like Beckham served as a vehicle into soccer, especially in the U.S. where the sport is not as popular as it is worldwide (though, if you’d seen only this year’s World Cup fanaticism, you’d never guess).

Though Chadha is not a footballer herself, her World Cup experience thus far has been passionate, emotional, exciting, and all-consuming. Bouts of relief (“Oh god, that was close”) and disappointment (“Nigeria? Oh, shit. Oh, bugger”) made quick interjections into our conversation as she multi-tasked, simultaneously watching the game while we spoke.

“My husband is obsessed with the World Cup,” Chadha said. “The consumption of beer in our house has gone up twenty-fold. Beer, chips, and football. I’ve gotten into it as well.”

Her top choice going into World Cup was, unsurprisingly, England. Unfortunately, her team was knocked off early on, and did not make it to the top 16. Now, Chadha is supporting Brazil. “I think it will be great if Brazil wins in Brazil,” Chadha said.

There’s also a backup plan. If not Brazil, Chadha would like to see another Latin country win as this year’s tournament is taking place in South America. And if not a Latin team, she’d like to see an African team win. “I kind of go for the underdogs,” Chadha said. But, that said, she’s not too thrilled about France and Germany advancing to the top eight.

Often, though, Chadha simply chooses her team game by game. In Sunday’s Netherlands v. Mexico game, for instance, she was rooting for Mexico. “I love to get caught up in the drama of it all,” Chadha said, and drama certainly ensued, both in the match and in the Mexican restaurant in London from where she watched. A close game up until the end, Mexico ultimately lost to the Netherlands 2-1 in the final minutes.

“That’s the thing with the World Cup,” Chadha explains. “You have to watch it with people who are also passionate about it and are passionate about a particular side. They get their hopes up and get emotional and the national spirit comes into play. It really is a truly emotional event.”

With such an emotional investment in the games, Chadha has certainly had a few favorite, and not-so-favorite, moments. High point: Brazil winning in penalties against Chile. Low point: Uruguay’s Luis Suárez biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini, resulting in a four-month, nine-game ban and more than $100,000 in fines.

Chadha also has a few favorite players, as well: With no Beckham to worship, Chadha has looked to Mexico’s goalkeeper, Guillermo Ochoa, and Colombia’s James Rodríguez as her World Cup idols. And though Chadha is not participating in any pools this year, she predicts that Germany will make it to the finals in some way. Her husband could be heard yelling from afar that he hopes Brazil and Argentina will meet in the finals, to which Chadha agrees.

For Chadha, the football fever doesn’t stop at World Cup: She’s currently working on a Bend It Like Beckham musical. Chadha is directing and Sonia Friedman (The Book of Mormon) is producing. Music is by Howard Goodall (The Hired Man) with lyrics by Charles Hart (The Phantom of the Opera). The project is two years in the making and can be expected to appear on London’s West End sometime next year. She’s hopeful that it will make it to Broadway as well.

“It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done,” Chadha says of the musical. “Obviously I think the movie is great—a lot of people love the movie—but I think the stage show is even better. What we’ve been able to do is go back and really go deeper with the story and with the emotions. It’s a fantastic, kind of rousing answer to girl power.”

Chadha is also hoping to start a foundation for girls to play football in India, though that has been tied up due to legal issues.

As our conversation came to a close, Chadha suddenly exclaimed, “Oh no! That’s it, two nil to France, damn. What a shame.”

Despite her disappointment, Chadha has high hopes for the U.S. in their matchup against Belgium (July 1 at 4 p.m. EST). Though she did not predict who would win the game, she believes the U.S. could go far—perhaps not to the final, she said, but the U.S. has been playing well.

She added, though, that Mexico was playing well. It’s really up in the air. The conclusion: “I think it could be anyone’s game.”

Find out when the final airs live on July 13 at 1 p.m. PST on ABC.

Waffle House calls for a boycott of Belgian waffles to support U.S. soccer

In support of the U.S. Men’s National Team’s upcoming match against Belgium on Tuesday, the Waffle House restaurant chain has called for national support against the rival nation’s breakfast of choice: TMZ originally reported that Waffle house called for a boycott, and now the chain has begun to rally support on Twitter.

“We’re America’s place to eat, so of course we’re supporting Team USA,” a representative for the chain told EW.

Of course, Waffle House doesn’t feature Belgian waffles on its regular menu, serving up sweet-cream waffles instead. The American variety has a smaller grid pattern (due to a differently shaped waffle iron) and a creamier flavor, according to their rep.

Team USA faces off against Belgium at 4:00 p.m. tomorrow, giving you plenty of time to prep your very American, small-grid breakfast in the afternoon. And while no one’s come out and said it yet, some argue that French fries were invented in Belgium. So maybe it’s time for the freedom fry to return, too.

Will Ferrell volunteers to 'bite every German player' on behalf of the U.S. World Cup team

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When the U.S. men’s soccer team squares off against Germany today in the World Cup, Will Ferrell will not be in uniform. Actually, to be more accurate, he might be in uniform, but he will not be playing for Team USA.

To that, you may say, “What in the name of Jozy Altidore’s shredded hamstring are you talking about, you bandwagon-jumping doofus?”

Last night in Recife, Brazil, the site of today’s match, Ferrell was introduced as a late-addition player for the U.S. side. “I’m so honored to be playing tomorrow,” he told an enthusiastic crowd. “I’m not going to lie to you, I’m not in the best shape. … [But] if the game gets close, I will bite the opponent. I will bite every German player if I have to.”

Watch the clip below, which includes a special appearance by Teddy Goalsevelt: READ FULL STORY

World Cup: Answers to soccer questions you're too embarrassed to ask (and too lazy to Google)

Do you think you’re enjoying the World Cup — but can’t really tell because you have no idea what’s going on? Here, EW.com assistant managing editor Neil Janowitz, formerly an editor with Sports Illustrated and ESPN the Magazine, answers burning questions about soccer — a.k.a. “football,” a.k.a. “not that kind of football” — from perplexed staffers. READ FULL STORY

John Oliver compares FIFA to Walter White, talks US World Cup chances on 'Late Night' -- VIDEO

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Comedian John Oliver is pretty psyched about the start of the 2014 World Cup today — not that he needs an excuse to talk about soccer.

The British host of Last Week Tonight stopped by Late Night with Seth Meyers Wednesday to chat about their late-night gigs and controversial segments, which led to Oliver’s impassioned rhapsody on football. The backstory: On Sunday, the former Daily Show correspondent delivered a poignant rant about the corruption of FIFA — the organization behind the World Cup — via his HBO show. When Meyers brought it up, Oliver compared the group to the antihero of Breaking Bad: “FIFA is awful, but the product they push is amazing. They’re Walter White,” he says. “If you get hooked on their magnificent blue meth of a sport, then you want nothing else.”

Oliver went on to admit that most education in Britain comes from reading headlines about the nation’s various soccer players. When David Beckham broke his foot, for example, all of England subsequently learned what a second metatarsal is.

As for the chances of the English and American squads at the World Cup, Oliver offered bleak predictions. “I would prepare yourselves for winning zero out of three games,” he advised U.S. fans. His wry observation on the German coach of the American team cutting the nation’s most well-known player, Landon Donovan, won’t soften the blow. Take a look at the full clip below: READ FULL STORY

Nike ad puts World Cup superstars in a Pixar-like 'toon -- VIDEO

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On June 12, host-country Brazil meets Croatia in the first match of the FIFA World Cup, ushering in a month of sports insanity that will likely even penetrate the American sports consciousness — no matter how much we want to snub the sport of soccer. (Er, football.) You know how the NFL likes to boast that its Super Bowl is viewed by more than a billion people? Well, that’s a complete myth. But the World Cup final on July 13 will be the most watched television program of the year around the globe. Four years ago, the championship match between Spain and Netherlands in South Africa was viewed on TV by an estimated 700 million people. There’s a reason it’s called The World’s Game.

So get ready to learn all about Ronaldo, Messi, and Neymar Jr, LeBron-level superstars in the planet’s most popular sport. Nike, which generates nearly $2 billion each year in soccer-related revenue, recently unveiled a glorified commercial for their “Risk Everything” campaign, featuring animated versions of their most popular players. It was conceived and produced by Nike and their advertising agencies, but it feels like a Pixar short, with a nefarious villain who wants to clone some of the world’s best players and “improve” them by stripping them of their penchant for beautiful risk-taking.

It’s a perfect — and presumably expensive — bauble in Nike’s “Risk Everything” campaign, and not the worst introduction to World Cup madness. Even Tim Howard, who will likely start in goal for the Americans when they face Ghana on June 16, gets a spot on Nike’s Incredibles-like team.

Watch the clip below: READ FULL STORY

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