It's common to hear of soccer hooligans taunting players and fighting in the stands. In Japan, though, it's a different story: Soccer followers there even have a tradition of cleaning up the stadium after matches. Melissa Block speaks with Japanese soccer fan Kei Kawai, who's attending Thursday's match between Japan and Greece.
One year from million-strong protest marches in Brazil, Brazilians are marking the anniversary with more demonstrations. There are fewer protesters than a year ago, when Brazilians expressed their anger over World Cup costs and the government's neglect of housing, health, transportation and employment issues at home.
Aside from extended stays in a few countries abroad, I've lived in the U.S. most of my life. Proudly, I'm an American. I'm also Colombian. Proudly. Not by birth but by ancestry. And I've spent a fair amount of time in that tortured paradise, the land of my parents, where I fell in love with both books and soccer. My national identity, as a result, feels very much tied to both places, to both languages. And I so happen to know plenty of soccer fans who — around this time every four years — attempt to reconcile their minds and hearts with these and similar feelings.
The no-hitters just keep coming. That's the case for the Los Angeles Dodgers, as the team's pitchers have thrown two games without giving up a hit in less than a month. Clayton Kershaw used 15 strikeouts to complete the feat Wednesday, matching teammate Josh Beckett's May 25 effort.
Getting the no-hitter was "pretty cool," Kershaw said after throwing 107 pitches in the game.
Brazil's World Cup preparation endured some heavy criticism leading up to the games. Stadiums were still under construction, Internet connections were sketchy and transportation faced major challenges. A week into the tournament, NPR's Russell Lewis has traveled to three airports and three cities so far. He talks to Melissa Block about what has worked and what remains a challenge.