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North Korea and Portugal line up before their World Cup match.

North Korea's World Cup team, doomed from the start, attracted fans for all sorts of reasons. If the Cup is Christmas to soccer fans, then North Korea was the misshapen present, handed with a wink, that made no noise when shaken; sure to be interesting, no matter what it turned out to be. Read more»

Wayne Rooney scores against Arsenal.

It always seems hyperbolic when writers insist that the World Cup hopes of a nation rest on any single player. But in the case of England – with its desperate desire, after 44 years, for another Cup championship – and its 24-year-old superstar, Rooney, it seems a bit understated. Read more»