France – the way the French see it

An illustration depicting French 'déclinisme'
©Luis Grañena

The country is the way that it is because most French people want it that way

©Luis Grañena

Learning another language? Don’t bother

To achieve perfect fluency, you need to start very young – preferably as an infant

America - the best place to be British

The three great omissions of American life – the BBC, football and healthcare – are now increasingly on tap

Illustration of a man deluged with letters from a mailbox
©Luis Grañena

From my inbox: the hot topics

Thanks to social media, I get more responses to my columns every year. Most are smart and friendly. Some aren’t

©Luis Grañena

How to travel: my rules

The ideal – admittedly impossible – is to arrive fully informed yet with no preconceptions

Götze helps crown a reinvented Germany

Team deserve title, but more for the semi-final performance

Fast passing is the World Cup winner

All the chatter distracts from football’s central element

©Luis Grañena

For Brazil, it’s not the end of the world

People feel more connected to each other. Even the communal shame this week is a bonding experience

Argentina would be peculiar champions

If Alejandro Sabella’s squad win, who should really claim credit?

Lessons Brazil need to learn from best

Team must not let a good crisis go to waste – it is time to mimic the German revolution

Dutch tactical nous faces Messi magic

More of coach’s brainpower is needed if Holland are to beat Argentina in semifinal

Fred and Müller: clash of forward styles

Two forwards meet on Tuesday with opposing styles that illuminates how each country views the game

World Cup poor guide to player’s value

Best deals usually come after a tournament cuts a player’s price

Why Brazil’s already won

Strolling on Copacabana, you realise that a first-rate beach should be a compulsory element at all future World Cups

Colombia enjoys boost on and off pitch

Country’s calmer political and economic climate helps the ‘Cafeteros’

France finds peace before German battle

Friday’s match is arguably more about France’s struggle with itself than with Germany

Teams without shootout data face penalty

Counting is not enough. Complex analyses of patterns are necessary

Flat performances drag on Belgian passion

Walloons and Flemings wonder whether Red Devils can match hype

Algeria puts focus on African football

North African nation’s ties with France return to the spotlight

The great Dutch football tradition

Holland’s football team may be the last surviving unmistakably Dutch cultural product


Simon KuperSimon Kuper joined the Financial Times in 1994. He ended up writing the daily currencies column and was driven out by tedium in 1998. He returned in 2002 as a sports columnist and has been there ever since, occasionally allowed out of his sports box to write about books, the Netherlands or other subjects.

Simon was born in Uganda and grew up in London, the Netherlands, the US, Sweden and Jamaica. He studied at Oxford, Harvard and the Technische Universität of West Berlin. His first book, Football Against the Enemy (1994), set him on a path of writing about sport with an anthropologist’s eye. His column in the FT tries to place sport and sportsmen within a country, a time, a society, while also being about sport itself.


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