The Run of Play is a blog about
the wonder and terror of soccer.

We left the window open during a match in October 2007 and a strange wind blew into the room.

Now we walk the forgotten byways of football with a lonely tread, searching for the beautiful, the bewildering, the haunting, and the absurd.

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A Terse Number of Uncompromising Hemingwayan Manliness

1. England. Damn.

2. Argentina. Damn.

3. In light of the wild reversals of fortune seemingly or I would actually think obviously brought about at their respective teams by Capello and Maradona it’s a mystery to me how someone like Simon Kuper could argue with a straight face that a manager is a figure of little real importance who could be replaced by a Polish Lowland Sheepdog with no ill effects, since even Steve McClaren seemed to bring with him a whole parcel of ill effects, and regardless of your opinion of Steve McClaren he is presumably a few notches higher on the grand scale of being than even a very well-trained Polish Lowland Sheepdog, although for the sake of argument we have to consider the possibility that England would have been exactly where they are now under Steve McClaren, that all the team were waiting on was some mysterious gelling process and an improvement in Aaron Lennon’s ball control, the end result of which would have seen them playing those little plinky through balls to devastating effect regardless of who was on the sideline, whether Steve McClaren or a Polish Lowland Sheepdog, or even Alan Shearer, but to me the whole point is that under Steve McClaren they never actually tried those little plinky through balls, but then what do I know, never having sat in on a single pitch meeting about how Freakonomics could be applied to soccer.

4. That last bit wasn’t terse. I apologize.

5. USA: Three points, but a lot of running around for a 1-0 win over Trinidad. I mean, Spain managed to beat Estonia 3-0, and they aren’t as good as we are.

6. Costa Rica lost. So that’s something.

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A Terse Number of Uncompromising Hemingwayan Manliness

by Brian Phillips · September 10, 2009

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