Tag Archives: brazil

Mas Que Nada

The Tournoi de France of 1997 lies forlorn and forgotten by many, the VHS tapes of which lie gathering dust beneath an old TV at my parents’ house. Perhaps best remembered for Roberto Carlos’ epic free kick, the banana blast heard round the world, Le Tournoi was like a precursor to the Confederations Cup: a friendly tournament held in the host nation as a sort of dry-run to the cup. Brazil, France, England, and Italy all vying for little piece of nothing or just maybe some confidence in the real tourney.

Sad it is that Le Tournoi has been forgotten, for the football was epic. The hi-jinks of Romario, of Barthez, of the young and still-talented David Beckham, and of Del Piero and Company promised a tournament that would erase the memory of 94’s flaccid penalty kick final. Brazilian football neared its zenith, sporting a menagerie of magicians and jesters channeling the spirit of ’82. Alas, it was not meant to be. Romario was left off the squad and France beet the Selecao in the final to take home the cup. More 1990 than 1970 and the world wonders what 2014 will bring.

Italy vs. Brazil 3-3 and one of the best games of the 20 years. Coincidentally, Le Tournoi de France was the last time England won anything. They have not come close since. Every game can be found on youtube and they are all worth watching.

And let us not forget…

Cantona!

Yedlin Brooks Bedoya

The US National Soccer team will fail in Brazil. That is our prediction and we believe that they will not so much fail but fail fairly miserably without aplomb, or even verve. It doesn’t really matter anyway because we’re all grown men watching a child’s game but it’s fun and we like to watch it and make predictions. Sure, we will even spend thousands of dollars on plane tickets and Cachaça and travel to distant lands for it so it must matter a little bit, right? The DJ reminds us that we still must live our lives with just a little passion, for what else is the point?

We’re all Americans here for the most part and as such we enjoy cheering for our countrymen. I’m sure people cheer for Brazil in Brazil and for Spain in Spain, for Italy in Italy, for les Bleus in France. The US National team will be painful to watch this summer, indeed they have been excruciatingly painful to watch for a really long time. As horrible as the 1994 US National Team was it is forever seared into memory as the most entertaining American team to ever take the pitch, a colorful cast of oddballs and amateurs bumbling their way to the knock-out stage with personality and luck. Leonardo fractured Tab Ramos’ skull and US Soccer has never been the same.

With the exclusion of Landon Donovan, the 2014 US National Team World Cup roster is virtually unrecognizable. Who the fuck are these guys? Sure, we recognize a few names. Clinton Dempsey comes to mind. Timothy Howard. We’re even familiar with the goal-scoring journeyman Christopher Wondowloski. At a stretch, we can recall a quality cross made by Mix Diskerud. But who the fuck is Alejandro Bedoya? DeAndre Yedlin? John Brooks?

Landon Donovan is an easy cat to hate, what with his constant whining and what-not, but the fact remains that he is the most recognizable American soccer player of all time. We remember Tab Ramos, but no one else does. And for all of his so-Cal douchiness Donovan was the most entertaining and productive American player to watch over the past decade and perhaps ever. For the all the chat about Lando Donrisian having lost a step or two, remember that speed does not a great player make and that young Landon, now old Landon, has grown and matured into a very, very good soccer player. The same cannot be said for so-called better players, once hailed as prodigies, who fizzle out too soon. 

Watch Donovan’s pass at 3:54. A perfectly weighted, delectable one time touch pass which completely destroys the Costa Rican defense. It looks painfully simple and to the unappreciative eye  is just a forgettable blip which comes before Brek Shea’s awful, sloppy finish, but the truth is that few players have the ability to make a pass like that; for it is not just the pass itself but the drawing of the defenders away from the streaking Shea, the hitting of the ball one time on the half volley at the just right time, and the sheer accuracy of the pass which defines Donovan the player of today, how good he is, and how much he has grown as a player. With the exception of maybe Bradley, there is no one else on the US team that can make a pass like that. And indeed, it is likely Bradley who will captain the ship come June; and while we support him in his captaincy, there is no mistaking who is really behind the wheel.

 

Brazil Nuts

Fuck Brooklyn.

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Yes, fuck Brooklyn. Fuck NYC and it’s 3rd world economy, its haves and have-nots divided by not so thin racial and geographic lines. Fuck SNAP benefits, WIC cards, and model ships and little sailors.

The mind drifts toward warmer climes and sun dappled beaches where manchildren play soccer until the dawn. It’s off to Rio, bro…for the World Cup no less. Maybe it’s 10 years too late, but the DJ happened upon a bunch of tix for football’s penultimate tourney down old Rio way and one musn’t disappoint the DJ, for there is still some romance left in this world. There must be. Bromance, really. Indeed, this was never really the way I wanted to experience Brazil, smack dab in the middle of a gigantic clusterfuck international sports tournament. But…fuck it.

Note that to garner entry to Brazil one must pass first through their hallowed consulate, located conveniently in midtown Manhattan.

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The consulate is modern enough, but it’s all a mad rush of bureaucratic incompetence. Like a south american DMV. There are hundreds of people queuing up to get their visa with one woman behind a thick plexiglass window accepting applications who comes out occasionally to yell at everybody. The visa was free for the world cup and the lines moved quickly enough.

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“hey, i applied for my visa yesterday at Brazilian consulate. the funny thing is that it’s really bureaucratic and that there were 180 people waiting to submit their visa apps and only one person at the window, way worse than the DMV, with security and everything…anyway the funny thing is that this mute homeless guy comes running in with bare feet moaning and clutching a ripped up telephone book. he runs all the way from one of the cavernous consulate to the other and then back again and out, moaning the whole time. man, no one said anything or stopped him. i bet he does it all the time.”

The mascot for the 2014 World Cup is an armadillo. This is cute enough I guess but the mascot should be the mute homeless man who ran through the Brazilian consulate unmolested moaning and clutching his book. Certainly he is no Jairzinho, running the length of the Azteca in the ’70’s final to strike home in temperatures of excess of 100 degrees. Certainly he is no Gerson or Garrincha, whose playful dribbling defined the samba style and brought the Brazilian game to the soccer nerds of Europe. But certainly, this gent would bring joy to millions, if not those suffering the tedium of hours wasted clutching a numbered stub in the arid, windowless Brazilian consulate.

 

And so we dream. We dream of Brazil…of greener pastures. We dream of the American dream and what has become of it. But for now there is Brazil. If only for now, bro.

I could watch these vintage clips from football’s forgotten past for hours. See above the aforementioned Jairzinho, an artist, man.

 

Is fútbol dead?


…these days it certainly seems so, and a trip in the youtube timemachine is completely necessary as we count down to this summer’s penultimate tourney.

77 days remaining.

Ecuador vs. Les Bleus June 25th, 2014.

…stay tuned

The Banality of Sport Part 2 and Footballing’s new KinGs

If I had a facebook page it would inform the world that, at this very instant, I am watching River Plate play Poland on an old VHS tape from 1986.

The game is, eh, alright, yet entirely redeeming for its weirdness (why is River Plate playing the nation of Poland?) and shots of hot 80’s babes in the crowd with teased up hair sporting sexy old-timey fashions (they are moms now). The aforementioned hypothetical facebook page, should it go into more detail, might mention that the aforementioned tape of Poland vs. River Plate is part of a larger cache of classic football matches sourced from an Argentinean coworker. This cache might even consist of the greatest example of football ever played, the 1970 World Cup final featuring Brazil vs. Italy, two diametrically opposed opposites of the footballing world battling for supremacy in the superheated caldron of Stadio Azteca.

 

Juxtapose this with the stolid affair that was the 2010 World Cup final. I remember this match more for playing soccer with Marlo in the parking lot of the bar where we were watching the match itself than for the match itself. The world has changed and game is different. The Stadio Azteca, in those days, was ringed with flowers and gents with magical names like Jairzinho roamed the pitch; it becomes apparent that Ronaldinho is a cheap xerox of Rivelino and that now more than ever a certain cynicism has woven its way into the people’s game. A child’s game really, and one that should be played with a childish enthusiasm. Of course, we did have for a brief period the clown prince Maradona and the petulant Zidane, but who will take their rightful place as the footballing king? Surely not the fat Ronaldinho or the dandy C. Ronaldo. The world cries for an artist to take the mantle!

Regardless, a football will find its way, somehow or another, onto the bucking CB500T as it makes its way across the continent and onward into new worlds.

…in the meantime, lets see if we can score cousin Drewie and I some tickets to see Fenerbahce best Bucaspor next week. I hear Roberto Carlos used to play for them…

Turn Me On, Turn Me Out: Brazil’s National Fruit

…there could be worse things for a nation to become obsessed about.

 

special thanks to Marlo for turning me on to this gem.