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    The best thing to come out of the World Cup – is it the spontaneous but infallible coming together of whole disparate nations to support their country’s football team? No, that’s not it. Is it the sudden creative outbursts, expressed in original new chants and vuvuzela symphonies? No, it’s not that either. It’s actually a psychic puppy who predicts winners, and we think it’s the best thing since that thing that Michael Owen did in 1998.

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    Two nights ago was the first game of this World Cup at Brazil’s iconic Maracana took place between Bosnia on Argentina; on 13 July the eyes of the world will be on the stadium once again for the showpiece final. In terms of reach, anticipation and sporting significance, few events eclipse the World Cup Final and this sense of it being special feeds into Michael Donald’s football-themed project. He tracked down the 35 men still alive who have scored in this all-important game to film, photograph and interview them. Some like Pele and Sir Geoff Hurst are bona fide football legends, others include a bathroom salesman and an insurance broker.

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    And so we reach World Cup eve, with all eyes on tomorrow’s big kick-off. Whether you’re beside yourself with excitement or couldn’t care less, it’s pretty hard to ignore and the hysteria will only crank up over the course of the next four weeks. We’ll continue to flag up World Cup inspired projects as the tournament progresses, but we thought it would be a good idea to use The List feature to get us off to a flying start.

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    This is just tremendous on so many levels. Peerless visual storyteller Christoph Niemann headed to Brazil ahead of the World Cup to explore the so-called Cure of Maracana (the country’s main soccer stadium). It dates back to 1950 when a howler by Brailian goalkeeper Moacir Barbosa handed the tournament to Uruguay, much to the anguish of a nation and the ruin of Barbosa. In Christoph’s brilliant mind, the curse becomes his companion with whom he explores Rio, before heading up to Brasilia to admire the modernist architecture there. But the memory of Barbosa and his sad fate gatecrashes his sightseeing (quite literally) and he is forced to return to Rio on the hunt for Brazil’s football soul.

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    The World Cup inspired projects are coming thick and fast now but few have breached our offside trap more comprehensively than this. It’s a collaboration between designer Dave Sedgwick (Studio DBD) and the Bacelona’s Hey Studio, whose excellent Every Hey Instagram feed has embraced World Cup mania for the purposes of this new book.

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    Prolific Twitter gagsmith Pundamentalism Tweeted this morning: “I hope there will be some tweets about the World Cup – seems crazy that nobody is talking about it yet.” Of course he was actually being a bit of a tinker because it seems like that’s all anybody’s talking about as we near the big kick-off in Brazil. Over the coming days we too will undoubtedly start to showcase some of the many creative projects inspired by the tournament, but we’re going to start a little closer to home.