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Wonder how they’ll react if Argentina wins the whole Cup.
Wonder how they’ll react if Argentina wins the whole Cup.
By Paul Palladino
Uruguayan Luis Suarez’s appeal of his suspension has been denied by FIFA, soccer’s governing body announced on Thursday.
Suarez was suspended last month for biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini during a World Cup match on June 24. He was banned for nine of Uruguay’s matches in addition to a four-month ban from all soccer-related events, meaning he will have to sit out matches for his club, Liverpool
It was the third biting incident in Suarez’s career. He was also suspended eight matches and fined $63,000 for racist remarks on the pitch in 2011.
In Suarez’s absence, Uruguay lost in the round of 16 to Colombia in the 2014 World Cup.
This article originally appeared on SI.com.
Every four years, the World Cup draws unparalleled attention to soccer and its stars — the “beautiful game” played on its grandest stage for all to see. Far less attention is minded to those whose passion for the game has led to their exploitation.
In his series of photographs “Black Diamonds,” Jason Andrew chronicles the human trafficking of African soccer players from Nigeria to Istanbul by an assortment of scouts and unlicensed agents. These young athletes, largely under-informed and uneducated, are promised the opportunity to realize their dreams of becoming soccer stars — if their impoverished families are willing to pay fees that can exceed $5,000 to send them to Turkey. But instead of using their time in Turkey to kickstart successful soccer careers in top-tier European leagues, the players are typically abandoned shortly after their arrival and forced to fend for themselves in a harsh and unforgiving land.
Since 2011, Andrew has followed the journeys of these young men, many of whom end up destitute and desperate for whatever work they are able to find. Some have returned home to West Africa, more have remained in Turkey, sharing apartments and jobs with others lured north under false pretenses, but very few have found even a fraction of the glory and riches once promised.
The problem is a growing one. Jean Claude Mbvoumin of the Foot Solidaire group, a charity whose goal is to protect young African soccer players, estimated that as many as 15,000 soccer-playing African youths were emigrating under what can only be described as the falsest of pretenses, and that number shows no sign of shrinking. Nearly every day more of these young players arrive in Turkey, just as their predecessors’ visas expire.
“Black Diamonds” highlights a few of these exploited players, tracking their attempts to fulfill the dreams that had once been promised them — the same dreams that others have been living at this summer’s World Cup. For these exploited soccer players, however, the path forward is far less certain.
All photographs by Jason Andrew.
The Vatican has cast doubts on a papal soccer party after saying Pope Francis and his predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, probably won’t watch the World Cup final together, the Associated Press reports.
Sunday’s final sees Argentina and Germany go head to head for the trophy but for Argentine Pope Francis, the final’s a little past the 77-year-old’s bedtime.
The Vatican’s spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said the Pope normally goes to bed at 10pm local time, an hour after kick off. However, he added that though the Pope isn’t a big sports fan “we’ll see in the coming days” whether the Pope will delay his slumber.
Pope Francis has already promised that he won’t pray for his home team to win. German Pope Benedict is also unlikely to pay much attention, apparently preferring intellectual hobbies over the athletic.
“Both would want the better team to win, without taking sides,” Lombardi tactfully stated.
Nevertheless, social media has already dubbed Sunday’s match “the final of the two popes” and has spawned the hashtag, #holywar.
On Sunday, Argentina and Germany will meet in their third World Cup final. In 1986, Diego Maradona led Argentina to victory, which Germany quickly overturned in the 1990 World Cup final. Despite their history, Germany remains the clear favorite to win.
With sadness, self-reflection and gallows humor, Brazil was today coming to terms with its most humiliating sporting defeat, a 7-1 thrashing by Germany in the World Cup semi final.
“It was really bad. No one expected to lose by that much,” said Enio Monteiro, aged 55, who was having a sandwich at a bar in Rio de Janeiro the day after the game. “But it happened, and I’m not thinking about it any more. You’ve got to move on.”
As he spoke, a customer nearby was reading local daily O Globo, whose front page screamed: “Shame. Embarrassment. Humiliation.” And on the wall above, a TV screen was showing the lunchtime news. The two presenters were giggling as they read out the funniest social media posts from the game.
Brazil began the World Cup as overwhelming favourites to win the World Cup for a record sixth time, and for the first time as hosts. Yet this World Cup will now be remembered for the country’s historic hammering by the Germans: the first time Brazil have let in seven goals in an official game, the only time a team has conceded 5 goals in 29 minutes in all World Cups, and the worst defeat ever of a World Cup host.
“The dream of winning the sixth title at home has turned into a horrible nightmare,” wrote Globo columnist Renato Maurício Prado. “Who would have thought that in the Cup of Cups, Brazil would end up having the humiliation of humiliations?”
Brazilians were expecting the game against Germany to be difficult, especially since they were without their best player Neymar, out injured, and their captain Thiago Silva, missing a game for an accumulation of yellow cards. “But not even the most delirious pessimist would have predicted the result,” the Folha de S. Paulo said in an editorial.
Pundits here have been united in stating that in terms of national shame, Tuesday’s game now eclipses the conclusion of the 1950 World Cup. Brazil lost the title in a 2-1 defeat to Uruguay, which was watched by 200,000 people in Rio’s Maracanã stadium, still the largest audience ever present at a soccer game.
“The team who played on Tuesday in Belo Horizonte have rewritten our memories [of 1950] by taking part in the bleakest day in the national team’s glorious 100 year history,” wrote Antero Greco in the Estado de S. Paulo.
Since the 1930s soccer has been the greatest symbol of Brazilian identity and a good performance in World Cups is seen as crucial for the nation’s self esteem. Within minutes of the end of the game, President Dilma Rousseff—who is on the campaign trail for re-election later this year—spoke to the nation in four tweets: “Like all Brazilians, I am very, very sad by the defeat. I feel immensely sorry for all us. Fans and our players. But we wont let it break us. Brazil, ‘get up, shake off the dust and come out on top again’.”
The national team’s spectacular elimination comes in the closing stages of a tournament that had already created much anger in the Brazilian population for the amount of public money that it cost. A year ago two million people protested against the spending during the Confederations Cup, the World Cup warm-up event. “I think that the Brazilians have been at odds with the World Cup all along, and the defeat was a reflection of this to a certain extent,” said Norberto Schlanger, aged 49, a stationery distributor in Rio de Janeiro, who said he was cheering for Germany. “Not because my name is German but because I wanted the money to go to hospitals and schools.”
Fears that a defeat would lead to more protests or riots have so far proved unfounded, with only minor reports of scuffles in Rio and some buses were set alight in Curitiba and São Paulo on Tuesday night. In fact, Brazilians have been reacting with resignation and good humour to the result, possibly because it was so shocking. Even in the Mineirão stadium the Brazilian fans were shouting “olé” at the German team, a traditional chant you sing when your team is winning.
Many past Brazilian stars have been making their comments known via social media, TV interviews and newspaper columns. Tostão, who played alongside Pelé in the 1970 World Cup and is one of the most respected pundits, wrote in the Folha de S. Paulo: “It was a tragedy: sad, very sad, the biggest defeat in the history of the Brazilian national team. As a consolation, maybe it will serve to force big changes in Brazilian soccer, both on and off the pitch, from junior levels and up. There needs to be a change in the way of thinking, and to lessen the promiscuous exchanges of favors, a national disease, that riddles the country.”
For some, though, the only way to get over the pain of the defeat is to look to the future. Luciano Santos, aged 39, said: “It is sad, but everyone will have forgotten this game when the next World Cup starts in four years time.”
If the Germany vs. Brazil World Cup seminfinal game was no contest, with the Germans crushing the hosts 7-1, then the Netherlands-Argentina semifinal clash was the opposite: a contest of wills. A chess match and a cage fight masquerading as a football game. The Argentines were determined to put the brakes on the freewheeling Dutch footballing machine led by Arjen Robben. The Dutch were determined to make someone other than Lionel Messi beat them. He didn’t. At least not during the run of play.
Messi was one of four perfect penalty takers as Argentina bested the Netherlands 4-2 on PKs after 120 minutes of slug-it-out soccer yielded no goals, few shots and strangulation defense. “We didn’t create very much. In all the other matches we created more opportunities than we did today. That says something about Argentina, ” Dutch coach Louis Van Gaal said after the match. And the fact that Messi was bottled up for most of the game also spoke to the tactical scheme that Van Gaal had set up to thwart Argentina’s ace.
Argentina’s keeper Sergio Romero, who was once coached by Van Gaal, looked a bit shaky during the game, on several occasions punching the ball clear when he could have easily caught it. But in the penalty shootout, he got down to block Ron Vlaar’s first kick going to his left; then after Messi and Robben coolly made their kicks, he dove high to his right to deny Wesley Sneijder.
The match was now clearly in Argentina’s hands. Ezequiel Garay then smashed one down the center preserve the Argentina lead. After Dirk Kuyt kept Dutch hopes alive by making the fourth kick, Maxi Rodriguez ended them—keeper Jasper Cillessen got a glove on the ball but couldn’t keep it out. Van Gaal didn’t get a chance to use his PK blocking specialist Tim Krul, because he’d used up his last sub in replacing the weakening Robin Van Persie. The striker had been fighting off flu systems, and he was never a match for Argentina’s defenders.
Argentina now has the opportunity to make Brazil’s World Cup a complete disaster by winning the final against Germany.
For the first half hour of the match, it became quickly apparent that both teams’ strategies were working. Robben barely got an introduction to the ball and when he did Javier Mascherano, Argentina’s designated butcher, was there to make sure he didn’t get any momentum going. And Messi had a two-man Orange escort anytime the ball was on his foot. Bruno Martins Indi spent most of the first half trying to bite Messi’s leg, which finally earned him a yellow card and then a seat on the bench. He was replaced at the half because Van Gaal knew that Messi would toy with him in the second 45.
The only hint of an Argentine advantage was the deep runs being made by Ezequiel Lavezzi and Gonzalo Higuain. But at the end those runs stood Vlaar, Holland’s giant defender, who had a magnificent game until his penalty kick troubles.
The second half and extra time had very little to offer in terms of offense. Robben finally broke through the Argentine line in the 91st minute but Mascherano was there once again to save his team. In the 106th minute, he was leveled by a shoulder from Kuyt, but played the rest of the game clutching cotton wadding between his teeth to contain bleeding from a cut inside his mouth. It was an enormous performance. Meanwhile, in the 117th minute, Messi finally outran Vlaar in the corner, but his cross back across goal to Rodriguez was hacked into the ground. That miss would allow “Maxi” to become the hero a few minutes later in the PKs.
Updated Thursday, July 10 at 1:50 pm ET
Belgium may have gotten the boot from the World Cup after falling to Argentina last Saturday, but one of the team’s fans reportedly scored big. After a photo of 17-year-old Axelle Despiegelare cheering on her country’s team during the group stages went viral, she captured the attention of beauty brand L’Oreal Professionnel.
And on Tuesday, the Red Devils supporter told her thousands of Facebook fans (17,603 at the time of this writing) that she officially nabbed a modeling contract. A representative for L’Oreal Professionnel informed TIME on Thursday that it was a one-time contract and has been completed. The company has no plans to work with her again.
Despiegelare appears in number of promotional videos for the beauty brand on their Facebook page, in which she’s referred to as “ la plus belle des supportrices de la coupe du monde,” or the most beautiful World Cup supporter. Guess sometimes it does pay to root for a losing team.
Brazil’s loss to Germany in Tuesday’s World Cup game was a defeat of epic proportions. The 7-1 loss is the largest margin of defeat in the tournament’s semi-finals history.
To be fair though, lopsided scorelines sometimes happen. Just ask the dozens of professional teams who’ve been blown out in the past. Even the Miami Heat, one of the NBA’s current powerhouses, has a stain on their name; in 1991, they lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers 148-80. It’s a blowout record they hold, still.
So in an effort to ease the hearts of Brazil fans, here are 7 other teams who’ve lost in infamous blowouts.
Brazil lost to Germany in absurd, ridiculous and unprecedented fashion yesterday. The Germans scored five goals in 18 minutes before eventually winning the semifinal matchup 7-1. Predictably, the game provided everyone with anguished photos, clever headlines and tweets. Lots and lots of tweets. 35.6 million of them, per Twitter data. But one amusing take stood out above all the others:
Now under ideal circumstances, this altered version of Brazil’s flag would be lauded for its creativity and flawless execution, and @zoowithroy would be the one getting all the credit. That’s how it’s supposed to work. Unfortunately, self-described entertainment website Men’s Humor had other ideas. The #brand (for lack of a better term) tweeted the image from its Twitter account to its 3.13 million followers, but left out one very important detail: any sort of credit.
Predictably, Mr. Zoo With Roy wasn’t too pleased about this, and rightfully called out Men’s Humor (best known for tweets like this and this — and other that are far more offensive) for its appropriation of his content. Men’s Humor eventually pulled the tweet, but offered no sort of public apology or retraction for not providing credit for the image in the first place. Men’s Humor did not respond to request for comment.
Unfortunately, there’s not a whole lot to be done about all this. Anonymous Twitter accounts like Men’s Humor that make a business out of clicks don’t have any interest in crediting anyone else with the work that they steal — it only muddles their otherwise pristine tweets. But it’s encouraging that the outrage over the theft reached the point that Men’s Humor felt compelled to delete the tweet. Brazil likely wishes it had that option for yesterday’s semifinal.