Every 4 years, the world is treated to the ultimate sporting event. No, we’re not talking about the Olympics; we’re talking about The World Cup! The beautiful game has been long celebrated in literature, from Nick Hornby’s ode to his beloved Arsenal in Fever Pitch, to Bill Buford’s examination of hooligan culture in Among the Thugs. The history, pageantry, competition (and occasionally incredible soccer hair) all lend themselves to fine writing, so it’s no wonder we took this opportunity to ask a few of our authors these pressing questions in Penguin’s Seven on Soccer. First up, Drinking With Men author Rosie Schaap.
Have a favorite book about soccer? Let us know about it in the comments below.
1. Who are you supporting in the World Cup?
The Netherlands (Schaap is Dutch for “sheep,” don’t you know?)
Part B. Predict the winner.
Not the Netherlands.
2. Tell us your club team: Tottenham Hotspur.
3. Why soccer?
I love the directness of its drama, and its relative simplicity—at least where rules and gear are concerned—compared to other team sports. I admire its capacity for beauty and grace when played well. And I love how it can bring people together. Almost anywhere in the world, if I’m at an airport bar and there’s a match on TV, it’s an instant portal to a conversation with just about anyone sitting next to me. Aside from all that, it’s just obviously the best sport in the world.
4. Who is your favorite all time player? No Pele’s allowed. You can do better.
Historically: Johann Cruyff
Whom I have the pleasure of watching now: Lionel Messi
5. What is your favorite book or piece of writing on the beautiful game?
Brilliant Orange: The Neurotic Genius of Dutch Football, by David Winner
6. In the battle of the Manchesters—are you City or United? If I really must: United.
Part B. Take it to Spain–Barcelona or Real Madrid?
7. Best hair–entire Italian national team or Rooney’s implants?
Neither! (The best hair belongs to Cameroon’s Benoit Assou-Ekotto).
Here are some soccer reads to choose from before the world cup begins: Thursday, 6/12
Keep an eye out for our next article in this World Cup series, slated to publish this Tuesday, 6/10
And while you’re at it, check out John Green’s World Cup Fundraiser aimed to raise funds to fight Sarcoma.