The Stranded Sons of Shakhtar Donetsk

SPLIT, Croatia – It was in their moment of triumph, when they had beaten their opponents and come together to collect their medals, when some of the boys were overcome with sadness, when the tears welled in their eyes. The teenagers, a mix of 13- and 14-year-olds representing one of the youth squads of the … Read more

Nigeria Adds Up the Costs of Missing the World Cup

In those initial moments of agony in March after Nigeria was eliminated from qualification for this year’s World Cup, the most immediate thoughts of Amaju Pinnick, the president of Nigeria’s soccer federation, were of the disappointment being felt by his 200 million countrymen in Africa’s most populous nation. He needed only to look down on … Read more

Ukraine Is One Game Away From The World Cup

The emotion, in anticipation, had been so raw that, at times, it was easy to worry that it might prove overwhelming. Oleksandr Zinchenko, a Ukrainian midfielder, had talked about pride, about freedom, about proving to the world that his country would “never give up.” He had welled up with tears as he spoke. His coach, … Read more

Why the Champions League Final Was Delayed

PARIS – A logjam of fans that led to a 35-minute delay of the start of Saturday’s Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool was caused by people attempting to use “fake tickets” to enter the match, the tournament’s organizer said. The problems with crowd control and access – which appeared to result from … Read more