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The Banter is an email newsletter about the World Cup.

It’s for people who like soccer — and anyone who relishes the drama and inanity of life on our planet. A world where people in sweat-wicking fibers and neon-colored shoes kick a ball around a grass field while the rest of us watch on TV, drink beer, say ridiculous things and argue endlessly about what it all means.

Sign up to receive the most compelling World Cup stories in your inbox every Friday. When the tournament in Russia begins in June, you’ll receive a daily feature story, expert analysis and a digest of essential reads from around the web.

The Banter is written by Jeffrey Marcus, who covered international soccer, among other things, for The New York Times. He covered the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and the 2006 World Cup in Germany for The Associated Press. Marcus watches the games, scours the internet and social media, and talks to the people who know soccer best — players, coaches and fans — so he can share with you the best stories about the game.