soccer

Soccer star Atsuto Uchida lends voice to Pokémon film

Soccer star Atsuto Uchida lends voice to Pokémon film

The latest cinematic addition to the Pokémon franchise is due to come out later this month, only this time it will be bringing along a little extra team spirit with it. One of the things that will make the latest Pokémon movie, Pocket Monster XY: Hakai no Mayu (Pokémon XY : Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction), special is the fact that it will be the first Pokémon movie to feature the voice of a popular athlete.

Soccer star Atsuto Uchida will be playing the part Usshi, a hotel porter, who was based directly off of Uchida himself. On top of their shared physical appearance, the all-star also serves as his character’s namesake, as “Usshi” is actually the nickname that Uchida holds in Germany, where he currently plays for the German association soccer club, FC Schalke 04.

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German team hero Mario Gotze wins World Cup, later loses dignity thanks to gross pic

German team hero Mario Gotze wins World Cup, later loses dignity thanks to gross pic

As they say, it’s all fun and games in soccer until someone resurfaces an old picture of a soccer star’s gross public boner.

Mario Gotze, the newly-crowned hero of the German soccer team who shot the World Cup-winning score against Argentina will now, thanks to the magic of the Internet, forever be known as “that guy who got a boner in public while wearing a Speedo,” because FIFA – with its draconian control over all soccer content shared on YouTube – has ensured that Twitter-shared boner pics will circulate forever and ever and ever, but actual video of the game-winning goal will be nearly impossible to find.

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Lone German supporter celebrates with victory lap of Shibuya Crossing

Lone German supporter celebrates with victory lap of Shibuya Crossing

Shibuya Crossing is the busiest scramble crossing in the world, with 3,000 pedestrians crossing at once during peak times and recognized internationally thanks to prominent shots in films such as Lost in Translation. So what better place to celebrate your team’s win in the World Cup? You’re sure to attract some attention, even if it’s literally just you and a flag…

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Shopping for sadness: Soccer-themed merch going cheap following Japan’s early World Cup loss

Shopping for sadness: Soccer-themed merch going cheap following Japan’s early World Cup loss

Just a few weeks ago, as the World Cup got underway, expectations were running high for Japan’s national soccer team, which played impressively on its way to making the Group of 16 four years ago in South Africa. Seemingly the whole country was pumped up, with both long-time soccer nuts and people who ordinarily have little interest in sports getting behind the men in blue.

Sadly, though, Japan’s shot in Brazil came to a close after just three games, with its best outing being a 0-0 draw with Greece. It’s safe to say fans are disappointed, and there’s another group of people that acutely shares their pain: retailers stuck with boxes of unsold Japanese soccer team merchandise.

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Saitama kids see soccer ball floating in river, turns out to be human skull

Saitama kids see soccer ball floating in river, turns out to be human skull

On 2 July at approximately 5:30pm, a group of junior high school students were playing around the banks of the Ara River in Toda City, Saitama Prefecture when they spotted something floating near the river’s edge.

Thinking it was a soccer ball, the trio of 15 year olds began to pull it in with a tree branch. However, upon closer inspection the “soccer ball” turned out to be a human skull.

This horrific discovery has alerted everyone to a grim reality about Saitama Prefecture: it’s sorely lacking in physical education, especially competitive sports. Read More

Greece national football team players turn down individual bonuses for something else

Greece national football team players turn down individual bonuses for something else

The World Cup is not just a battle between nations to determine who is the strongest in the world. It is also a momentous celebration of international exchange and an opportunity for citizens of the world to display their national pride. Heart-wrenching and heartwarming stories alike are born from the event, which remain in people’s minds long after the final score has been forgotten. Some of the most memorable stories from the tournament don’t even take place on the pitch during gameplay; rather, they materialize in other acts of chivalry off the field.

Although Greece was defeated by Costa Rica on Sunday, Greek citizens couldn’t have been prouder to see their national team advance to the Round of 16 for the first time ever. The Greek athletes also seemed content just having served as representatives for their home country, as they incredibly refused individual monetary bonuses and instead asked for a joint venture that should further unite them in spirit with their fellow countrymen.

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Intense NYT infographic will melt the brains of non-soccer fans

Intense NYT infographic will melt the brains of non-soccer fans

Soccer is becoming increasingly popular in the United States, conveniently coinciding with the country’s decent performance in this and the last World Cup. No news outlet has been milking the globally-loved sport’s new recognition in America more than the New York Times, with seemingly one out of every two stories coming out of the venerable outlet being focused on soccer since the Brazil World Cup began.

Other outlets, comedians, and the forever-loathsome she-thing, Anne Coulter, are having a grand old time calling out the NYT on its pretentious World Cup coverage, but the Times may have jumped the shark when it published this almost impossible to decipher infographic that tracks “Soccer clubs with players on at least two national teams.”

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Uruguayan soccer star can’t stop biting, but can open your beer with this crazy bottle opener

Uruguayan soccer star can’t stop biting, but can open your beer with this crazy bottle opener

The most distinctive aspect of soccer is that use of the hands is prohibited. But did you know players aren’t allowed to use their teeth either?

This minor detail of the rule book seems to have slipped the mind of Uruguay forward Luis Suarez, who currently stands accused of biting an opponent for the third time in his career during the country’s recent match against Italy at the World Cup. For his part, Suarez doesn’t seem to get what all the fuss is about, brushing off the incident with the declaration that “these things happen on the pitch.”

But it’s not just the 27-year-old striker who isn’t taking the incident seriously, as novelty goods manufacturers in China have apparently already started producing bottle openers that will help you crack open a cold one using Suarez’s now infamous teeth.

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Uruguay midfielder harnesses the power of DBZ to protect his shins

Uruguay midfielder harnesses the power of DBZ to protect his shins

While the soccer-watching world has been keeping an eye on Uruguay forward Luis Suárez, whose hunger for victory has earned him a nine match, four month suspension, teammate Walter Gargano has been dazzling the otakusphere in other ways. Namely, the proud display of his Dragon Ball Z shinguards.

Midfielder Gargano posted a photo to his Instagram account two days ago, prompting a flurry of excited reactions to his equipment choice.

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Otsukare-sama deshita: A look back at Team Japan’s time at the World Cup

Otsukare-sama deshita: A look back at Team Japan’s time at the World Cup

It’s over. With their 1-4 defeat against Colombia, Team Japan is officially out of the World Cup tournament after just three matches. The boys in blue put up a good fight, but arguably left a lot on the pitch in Group C, in what many say was Japan’s best chance to make a big impact on the world stage. But despite the disappointing losses (and one unbelievable tie), there were some truly great moments that came out of the tournament for Samurai Blue. So before we all move on and choose a different team to support, let us take a moment to look back at the matches, the players, and those crazy fans who came together to root on NIPPON!

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Post World Cup cheer up: Shinji Kagawa and Hiroshi Kiyotake take on 55 kids at once

Post World Cup cheer up: Shinji Kagawa and Hiroshi Kiyotake take on 55 kids at once

For anyone who’s still struggling to accept Japan’s elimination from the World Cup at the group stage, we’ve got a little video clip here to brighten your mood. While it was originally broadcast on New Year’s Eve half a year ago, it features two of Japan’s top football athletes finding themselves in an amusing situation with none of the stress from the World Cup.

How would you like to see international stars Shinji Kagawa and Hiroshi Kiyotake taking on 55 elementary school kids at once?

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Ivory Coast’s grass-eating goalie amuses Japanese fans after elimination

Ivory Coast’s grass-eating goalie amuses Japanese fans after elimination

After Japan’s hopes of advancing in the World Cup were dashed by a 1-4 defeat to Colombia, Japanese football fans have been looking for something to get them smiling again. And Ivory Coast’s goalie provided just the opportunity.

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Game-winning Greek penalty kick wrongly awarded because a guy tripped? 【Updated】

Game-winning Greek penalty kick wrongly awarded because a guy tripped? 【Updated】

Controversial calls during the World Cup are about as unexpected as Kanye West hysterically ranting on Twitter; that is to say, it happens a lot.  But when it comes to contested fouls in this year’s tournament, here’s one where the argument that it was bogus may just have some… legs! Get it?

At first glance, there didn’t seem to be anything fishy about the stoppage time foul against Greek striker Giorgos Samaras that gave up a penalty kick to the Greeks and sealed their win over Ivory Coast. Most early coverage of the game seems to make no mention of the controversial call, but when fans – who appear to oftentimes be more attentive than game officials – started posting replay footage online, some started to wonder whether Samaras actually tripped over his own feet and wasn’t fouled at all.

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Colombia beats Japan, still picks up a few Japanese supporters for its inspiring sportsmanship

Colombia beats Japan, still picks up a few Japanese supporters for its inspiring sportsmanship

The international nature of professional soccer makes for some uniquely compelling individual matchups at the World Cup. Since the event is only held once every four years, during the time between tournaments the members of each country’s national teams go back to playing for their respective, privately owned clubs.

It’s easy to imagine how this could make things awkward for a player who has a club teammate who’s on the roster of a different national team. One day you’re doing everything you can to beat him at the World Cup, but a few weeks later, you’re going to have to go back to working together, no matter how bitterly contested your match in Brazil was.

Sometimes, though, the opposite happens, and these personal connections bring a little extra sportsmanship to the World Cup, like what happened between Japanese defender Yuto Nagatomo and Colombian midfielder Fredy Guarin.

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Columbia Records Japan changing name in support of national team’s game against Colombia

Columbia Records Japan changing name in support of national team’s game against Colombia

Things aren’t looking too good for Japan’s soccer team as it goes into its third and final game of group play at the World Cup. After a heartbreaking loss in its opener against Ivory Coast, and then a contest with Greece in which neither team’s shots could find the net, it’s do-or-die time for Japan, which is going to need quite a bit of help, and possibly luck, to advance to the Round of 16.

But all of the myriad tie-breakers Japan needs to go its way won’t mean anything if it can’t defeat group powerhouse Colombia, which currently has a 2-0 record. With all of Japan hoping for a victory over the South American nation, Team Japan is getting a little bit of extra moral support as the Japanese arm of Columbia Records is changing its name to help cheer on its local sports heroes.

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Japan national football star to voice character in upcoming Pokémon film

Japan national football star to voice character in upcoming Pokémon film

Atsuto Uchida, a defender on Japan’s national football team currently playing in Brazil, is making his voice acting debut in the latest Pokémon theatrical film set to premiere next month. 

The producers of the Pokémon movies are well-known for inviting celebrities to voice supporting characters in the annual films, but this year marks the first time that an athlete will lend his voice to the production. Uchida himself has been a fan of Pokémon since he was a child, and his involvement in the movie will hopefully add even more excitement to the World Cup fervor already taking over Japan.

Read on to learn more about Uchida’s role in the upcoming film!

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World Cup players swap shorts after match

World Cup players swap shorts after match

The World Cup, an event that brings thousands of people from all over the world together, has some beautiful moments – Neymar, of Team Brazil (who many are calling “the face of the World Cup”) busting into tears of pride at the climax of his nation’s anthem, Japanese fans cleaning their area after a losing game, and the always heartwarming tradition of exchanging jerseys after the match – to name a few.

But we’re not quite sure what to make of Ivan Rakitic of Croatia and Stephane M’Bia of Cameroon exchanging shorts after Wednesday night’s match. But we suppose we can count this as another one of those “beautiful moments.” After all, nothing says “good game, mate” like having your opponent’s ball sweat up in your nether regions. (Soccer ball sweat, you pervs!)

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Despite the draw with Greece, Japan’s World Cup team still has a glimmer of hope

Despite the draw with Greece, Japan’s World Cup team still has a glimmer of hope

Japan has had a bit of a rough start at the 2014 World Cup. After losing to 2-1 against the Ivory Coast, the team came back strong against Greece and got an amazing…0-0 tie. Well, it’s better than losing right?

Though you may be ready to throw in the towel for the Japanese soccer team, we’re here to tell you that things aren’t quite as bleak as they may seem. While having lost the first game of the tournament certainly isn’t a good sign, there are teams who’ve made it to the next round in similar circumstances!

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Can these Japanese kitties accurately predict the advancing teams of the World Cup?

Can these Japanese kitties accurately predict the advancing teams of the World Cup?

You may remember that octopus named Paul whose accurate series of “predictions” during the 2010 World Cup about Germany’s matches and Spain’s victory shot him to worldwide fame.

Well move over, Paul, because you’ve got two new furry rivals! Stepping up to the challenge in 2014 are Munchkin kitties Kikunosuke and Rikimaru. Their owner had them “predict” which two teams from each of the initial groups A through H would proceed to the rest of the tournament. Japanese fans would be well-advised to listen to the cats, since Japan was picked to advance from group C.

Keep reading to find out which sixteen teams will advance, at least according to the cats!

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Japanese fans are waving around blue plastic garbage bags at today’s World Cup match…

Japanese fans are waving around blue plastic garbage bags at today’s World Cup match…

Every country has their fair share of crazy fans dressed in garb ranging from carrot headdresses to scarves with the power of 1000% elephants, but the Japanese supporters are by far our all-around favorite. During their first match against Côte d’Ivoire last Saturday, they showed up with plenty of white paint on their faces and bowling pins on their heads. With Japan’s second match currently underway, we couldn’t help but notice a strange new addition to the cheer gear of Samurai Blue supporters; an item we’ve all seen before being used for its intended purpose.

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