The World Cup is about to begin

Stop the world: It's the World Cup. Erik Spanberg reviews Eight World Cups: My Journey through the Beauty and Dark Side of Soccer by George Vecsey. The introduction to Football's Dark Side: Corruption, Homophobia, Violence and Racism in the Beautiful Game by Ellis Cashmore and Jamie Cleland. The World Cup is about to begin, and FIFA's reputation has never been worse. John Oliver goes inside the “cartoonishly evil” organization of FIFA. Throw FIFA out of the game: Dave Zirin on how people don’t have to be displaced and workers don’t need to die for soccer. The growing stink at FIFA: New light is being shed on the choice of Qatar to host football’s biggest event in 2022. FIFA needs to take the 2022 World Cup away from Qatar — now. What is the World Cup worth? Simon Chadwick investigates. Is the World Cup a poisoned chalice? Sol Campbell and Simon Kuper battle it out in the match of the century. As World Cup nears, American “football” fans adapt foreign traditions. Is 2014 the year soccer in America (truly) goes mainstream? Marc Tracy on how Major League Soccer can beat the English Premier League in America: Embrace its inner Brooklyn. Sam Borden on how Jurgen Klinsmann plans to make U.S. soccer better — and less American (and more and more). Contrary to popular wisdom, the playing styles of national soccer teams is not reflective of underlying national cultural characteristics. A look at 53 World Cup cliches you’ll probably hear over the coming weeks. Joseph Stromberg on 10 things non-soccer fans need to know about the World Cup. Ritchie King, Allison McCann and Matthew Conlen on FiveThirtyEight’s World Cup predictions (and more by Nate Silver: It’s Brazil’s World Cup to lose).