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The Banter was an email newsletter about the 2018 World Cup.

Published daily during the tournament in Russia, it was 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.

It may be just a game, but soccer is an elaborate backdrop to the endless debates that dominate global conversations. France’s victory in Russia last summer is an excellent example, leading to discussions of race, class, economics, history, science, technology, politics, and sports.

Subscribers received an easy-to-read email with smart, funny, irreverent stories about the World Cup — the rivalries, controversies, heroes and villains.

The Banter was 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. Though The Banter has been suspended, Marcus still watches a lot of soccer, scours the internet and social media, and talks to the people who know soccer best — players, coaches and fans. He occasionally shares some of what he finds on Twitter at @jeffdmarcus if you want to follow.