After every World Cup since 1994, I have told myself that I need to really follow football. This game is truly a treat to the eye, yesterday's game had some great moments, though overall it has an ugly match and that was the fault of the Dutch. The problem that I have encountered in following football is not being able to get good information on the game at the club and international level. I am extremely disillusioned with American sports in general, though I still love American college gridiron football. With this in mind please respond to the following:
1. What websites and podcasts do recommend in order to access good information on the sport? Are there any columnists that are a must read in order to get a better understanding of the game?
2. What books should I read in order to better understand this game and its history? In other words, why are Brazil, Germany, Argentina and Italy so successful, and the Dutch and Spanish (with the exception of this year) so unlucky on the world stage?
3. Based on my research thus far, the English Premier League, Spanish League, Serie A, and the Bundesliga seem to be the "best" leagues, and the French and Dutch close seconds. Is this a correct characterization?
4. What is the difference between the UEFA Champions League and Europa Leauge? Based on my knowledge of these tournaments, they are rewards for winning league championships and football association cups the previous year, but how are these tournaments really indications of the best European club?
5. I have watched a handful of MLS games, all on TV, and I am not impressed by the level of play. However, is there a real future for American football?
6. Are there any fans of South American club football on this board, and are there any good English language websites or podcasts that address South American football?
That's all the questions I can think of off the top of my head. ANy assistance would be appreciated.