Day: May 23, 2010

World Cup Tales – Overcoming The Great Humiliation: Brazil, 1958

As the second favourites to win the 2010 World Cup after Spain, Brazil are used to the pressure that comes with the eyes of the world being upon them. No other country on earth’s identity is so closely associated with football, yet much of the mythology that surrounds the Brazilian national team stems their failure to win the tournament that they hosted in 1950. It was this national trauma that was to provide the inspiration for what would become the most successful international team on earth, both stylistically and tactically. As such, the story of how Brazil won the 1958 World Cup began eight years earlier, in Rio de Janeiro. The 1950 World Cup was supposed to be Brazil’s grand entrance into the modern world. After fifteen years, democracy had returned to Brazil after fifteen years with the coming of the Second Republic in 1945, and the brash confidence of this new Brazil was to be displayed in full with the arrival of the first World Cup finals in twelve years. Work had started on the Maracana stadium in 1948, with 1,500 workers constructing the vast bowl. Brazil qualified with comfort for the final group stage of the tournament (the 1950 World Cup is the only World Cup ever not to have had a formal “final”), and two crushing wins – 7-1 against Sweden and 6-1 against Spain –...

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Was The Bernabéu’s DJ On Loan From Carrow Road?

The Champions League on a Saturday night may have been a great leap forward in securing football’s place in the light entertainment schedule, but, writes William Abbs, watching viewers from Norwich may have been wondering why Bayern Munich were using one of their songs when they scored their goals. Norwich City, one of the country’s best-supported provincial football clubs, secured promotion back to English football’s second tier at the first attempt this season. The upturn in the Canaries’ profile does not end there though. Their re-elevated league status has coincided with some of football’s bigger powers seemingly looking to the Norfolk club for style tips. From the beginning of the year Manchester United fans turned Old Trafford an increasing shade of yellow and green for each home game as part of their anti-Glazer protests. The colours might have represented the fans’ wish to assert their spiritual ownership of the club over the American family’s financial control, by harking back to United’s origins as Newton Heath, but Old Trafford’s yellow and green army still resembled a battalion of that which could be found at Carrow Road every other weekend. But, as well as United’s sartorial homage to Norwich, on Saturday night UEFA chose to greet both Inter Milan goals in the Champions League final with a blast from “Samba de Janeiro,” a track by 90s Latino dance act Bellini and...

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