Football Association chairman Greg Dyke. Photo: Getty
The FA needs to start acting like a national football association
By Martin Cloake - 28 July 17:24
<p> Until it promotes a greater diversity of interests, the FA will continue to function as the executive of an elite group.</p>
Australia's Michael Rogers celebrates before crossing the finish line at the end of the sixteenth stage of the Tour de France, July 22, 2014. Photo: AFP/ Eric Feferberg/Getty
Explained: how to win a Tour de France sprint
By Bryce Dyer - 22 July 17:11
<p> The Tour de France reaches a climax this weekend as the cyclists head towards the&nbsp;Champs-&Eacute;lys&eacute;es final stage. Here&#39;s the theories, tactics and sprints behind the race to the finishing line.&nbsp;</p>
Fluoro feet: Ghanaian players sport colourful boots during a World Cup training session, 18 June. Photo: Getty
Bright boots, shaving foam, dodgy slogans and nice teeth . . . What a World Cup that was
By Hunter Davies - 18 July 13:00
<p> For about ten years, the back pages&nbsp;of football magazines have featured coloured boots. I thought they would never catch on &ndash; but blow me, they&rsquo;re everywhere now!</p>
Not so strong: Lance Armstrong apologises for taking performance-enhancing drugs in an interview with Oprah Winfrey, January 2013. Photo: Getty
After the beep: when mental strength hits a wall, doping helps you get over it
By Ed Smith - 17 July 10:00
<p> The relentless professional era has taken elements of the beep test and incorporated these into real sports, even disciplines we usually think of as &ldquo;skill&rdquo; sports.</p>
The German team celebrate their World Cup victory. Photo: Getty
After the World Cup final, the streets of Copacabana ran with urine and the bars ran out of beer
By Jonathan Wilson - 15 July 16:35
<p> Even amid the camper vans and the seemingly anarchic raucousness of the beach, Sepp Blatter reigns supreme.</p>
Centre Court at Wimbledon. Photo: Getty
Thrilling in the name: Wimbledon on BBC Radio 5 Live
By Antonia Quirke - 10 July 11:58
<p> Is it just me or is everyone enjoying saying the word &ldquo;Kukushkin&rdquo; rather a lot?</p>
A TV reporter commentates in the rain. Photo: Getty
Ex-pros fill the pundits’ chairs – but giving a good game isn’t the same as talking a good game
By Ed Smith - 10 July 11:21
<p> A problem arises when it is assumed that professional playing experience is the sole source of authority.</p>
The German team celebrate their fourth goal against Brazil in the 2014 World Cup semi-final. Photo: Getty
It has been the World Cup of the individual, but Germany showed us the power of the team game
By Jonathan Wilson - 09 July 12:10
<p> Germany, superbly well drilled, provided the perfect example of the superiority of the team game with their 7-1 evisceration of&nbsp;Brazil&rsquo;s emotionally overcharged individuals in the semi-final.</p>
Brazil fans celebrating their team's success. Photo: Getty
Best World Cup ever! Or is it? Why we should beware the deception of enthusiasm
By Oliver Farry - 07 July 11:02
<p> Is being wary of enthusiasm just intellectual masochism, or are we missing out on a powerful force for good in the world?</p>
Entourage too small? Joe Hart and Wayne Rooney at a World Cup press conference, 21 June. Photo: Getty
Next time, let’s give our lads their own hair stylists and some major surgery
By Hunter Davies - 04 July 17:06
<p> And of course give up all training or playing for five weeks before their first game, perhaps even have some major surgery, spend some time in a wheelchair, like Luis Su&aacute;rez.</p>
Boys' done good: Jack Wilshere and Frank Lampard of the England team after the Costa Rica game, 24 June. Photo: Getty
Why we should actually be proud of England’s World Cup performance
By Hunter Davies - 04 July 11:12
<p> I am honestly and truly now coming to the conclusion that England did astonishingly well. In fact, they overachieved.&nbsp;</p>
Orange squash: Ron Vlaar and Andrés Guardado during the Netherlands v Mexico match, 29 June. Photo: Getty
This is Fifa-land: colourful, attractive spectators in team shirts playing by the rules
By Jonathan Wilson - 03 July 17:35
<p> There is a set way to behave. Team shirts and face paint have become de rigueur, while Mexican waves now interrupt the view of anybody trying to watch the football with irritating regularity.&nbsp;</p>
Algeria fans supporting their team in Marseilles. Photo: Getty
New attacks on French-Algerian citizens resurrect old, subtle forms of racism
By Myriam Francois-Cerrah - 02 July 16:56
<p> The World Cup is just the latest political football to be kicked by the Front National&rsquo;s Marine Le Pen, who suggested that &ldquo;You are either French or Algerian&rdquo;.</p>
We should be promoting sports that aren't effectively formalised pub brawls. Photo: Getty
Is it time to ban violent sport?
By Kate Smurthwaite - 02 July 10:29
<p> There is no glory in setting out to cause injury to another human being.</p>
Chile's forward Mauricio Pinilla (L) challenges Brazil's midfielder Luiz Gustavo. Photo: Getty
Much like the country, Brazil’s performance against Chile was both heaven and hell
By Simon Schama - 30 June 14:47
<p> Simon Schama bissects a tale of two halves: Brazil&rsquo;s nail-biting victory over Chile.</p>
Roy Hodgson at the World Cup in Brazil. Photo: Getty
Boring Roy dared to become a World Cup cavalier – and he suffered the consequences
By Jonathan Wilson - 26 June 11:32
<p> With England sometimes, you just can&rsquo;t win.&nbsp;</p>
Full English: the MCC's chief executive (centre) and others at Lords 2011. Photo: Getty
I wear my egg-and-bacon tie with pride – MCC membership is my last link to civilisation
By Nicholas Lezard - 26 June 10:00
<p> My politics may place me firmly on&nbsp;the left of Labour, but confess to owning an MCC tie and people start looking at you in a whole new light.</p>
For the laffs: Gazza back in 1989. Photo: Getty
Gianluca Vialli’s wisdom, Swiss cheese hats and desperately missing Gazza
By Hunter Davies - 26 June 10:00
<p> Hunter Davies&rsquo;s The Fan column.&nbsp;</p>
The England football team in Brazil. Photo: Getty
Who's to blame for England's failure at the World Cup? There's only one answer
By Phil Hartup - 24 June 18:27
<p> ... and it&#39;s not foreign players in the Premier League.</p>
The crowds at the coronation of Felipe VI of Spain. Photo: Getty
Why the World Cup is not a reliable political football
By James Dawson - 20 June 14:22
<p> World leaders have often found, to their cost, that using football as a political emblem isn&rsquo;t always as successful as they might hope.</p>
Playground for the rich: Tomson Golf Club in Shanghai. Photo: Alessandro Rizzi/Luz/Eyevine
The Chinese golf courses that don’t officially exist
By Simon Kuper - 20 June 12:00
<p> <i>The Forbidden Game&nbsp;</i>uses golf &ndash; a game that most in the country probably still know nothing about &ndash; to gain a rare insight into ordinary Chinese lives.&nbsp;</p>
Wayne Rooney during the match against Uruguay. Photo: Getty
England second best again: how the lack of a truly world class player took its toll
By Jon Holmes - 20 June 11:48
<p> Despite losing to Uruguay, this England team is one for the future, and viewed as such there is no real disgrace in such an elimination from a tough group.</p>
Steph Houghton of England in action during a World Cup qualifier against Ukraine in May 2014. Photo: Getty
Why is men’s football the default “proper” sport, while the women’s game is merely a pale imitation?
By Martin Cloake - 19 June 12:07
<p> Everything a women&rsquo;s football team does is taken to represent the &ldquo;quality&rdquo; of the sport as a whole, while male players are allowed to be judged as individuals. We have to put an end to this sexism.</p>
Smile! Despite being booed, the World Cup has gone well for Dilma Rousseff so far. Photo: Getty
Dilma Rousseff was booed but the riots haven’t started – and most people are enjoying the football
By Jonathan Wilson - 19 June 11:43
<p> &nbsp;A successful World Cup could create a mood of general contentment that might yet carry<span style="letter-spacing: -.1pt"> Rousseff to an election victory later this year.</span></p>
These women like football. But it's OK if you don't. Photo: Getty
Women! If you don't like football, it's OK to say so
By Glosswitch - 18 June 15:15
<p> Back in the 1990s, I used to pretend I liked football. Now I realise I had been taken in by the Football Mystique.</p>
A fan on the Isle of Wight watches the England v Italy World Cup match. Photo: Getty
“I want to believe”: Russell Brand on England at the World Cup
By Russell Brand - 16 June 14:21
<p> The world isn&rsquo;t made of atoms, it&rsquo;s made of stories. The World Cup is an arena in which narratives are fulfilled. Heroes, villains, scapegoats, underdogs, triumphs, near-misses and tragedies, all are played out on a global stage, a pagan drama in a secular age.</p>
Raheem Sterling put in a good performance. Photo: Getty
England's impressive start to the World Cup: can they make it through the group of death?
By Jon Holmes - 15 June 13:48
<p> Italy&#39;s star players prevailed, but Roy Hodgson&#39;s young team made a splash in their first game.</p>
Danish goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard in action for Manchester City in January 2012. Photo: Getty
A prayer for the goalies and referees of the World Cup
By Laurent Dubois - 13 June 15:39
<p> Let&rsquo;s take a minute to remember the perennial villains of the game.</p>
Luis Suarez and the Uraguay team train in Brazil ahead of the World Cup. Photo: Getty
My World Cup training is not going well but I am perked up by Uruguay’s most charming fan
By Hunter Davies - 13 June 11:48
<p> In Sheffield, 96-year-old Tanya Schmoller will be cheering on Uruguay. After all, she attended the first ever World Cup finals, held in Uruguay in 1930.</p>
Italy celebrate winning the World Cup in Berlin, July 2006. Photo: Getty
The last World Cup: after Brazil 2014, is the tournament finished?
By Jason Cowley - 13 June 10:00
<p> Football is a supreme instrument of soft power and can unite&nbsp;people as little else can. But allegations of Fifa corruption have tarnished the image of the beautiful game. Can anything be done to save it?</p>