All for Football, Football for ... Some?

In The Land of the Beautiful Game, An Ugly Gender Reality

Germany Soccer WWCup Brazil USA(AP)

Fun fact:

For nearly 40 years in the land of the jogo bonito– the Beautiful Game, as Brazilian legend Pele once called the sport he graced– participation in the sport was legally restricted to… wait for it… men.

Yup. Women were NOT allowed to play football for 38 years by government decree. The reason? Football was considered incompatible with “female nature.” That decree was lifted in 1979, but as the online magazine Good reports, not much has changed in Brazil:

Now, girls are permitted to participate, but are hardly encouraged, despite being just as dedicated to the sport, if not more so than men—in 2010, the majority of Brazilians watching the World Cup Games were women. The committed few who pursue football face more challenges and far less rewards than their male counterparts.

To be sure, Brazil isn’t alone in its chauvinism in football.  What’s remarkable, however, is how in a country where the sport is so revered, the culture surrounding it can be so discriminatory, directly and indirectly. It’s even more remarkable when compared with places like the United States, where football is still relatively small compared to other sports, yet its women’s teams are consistently among the best teams in the world.

Things may be changing in Brazil, though, and the woman who is arguably Brazil’s greatest female footballer, Marta Vieira da Silva, is leading the charge.

Read more here from Good magazine.




Win. Lift. Kiss. Repeat.

40 Years of the Cup

World Cup.

As Germany and Argentina prepare for their World Cup final match on Sunday, they might want to work on their lifting and kissing as well as their passing and shooting.

In the past 40 years, 10 teams from six different countries have won the World Cup. But they all have one thing in common: lifting the Cup triumphantly above their heads, and kissing the Cup in celebration of their achievement. Scroll below to see 40 years of players lifting and loving the World Cup:

2010: Spain

2010: Spain.
Spain defeated the Netherlands 1-0, earning the country’s first World Cup.

2006: Italy

2006: Italy.
Despite a head-butt from France’s Zinedine Zidane, Italy prevailed 5-3 on penalty kicks to win.

2002: Brazil

2002: Brazil.
Brazil bested Germany 2-0 and took home their fifth World Cup, held in the air in this photo by Brazil’s Rivaldo.

1998: France

1998: France.
France beat powerhouse Brazil 3-0 for their first (and to date only) World Cup. Pictured here are Zinedine Zidane, Marcel Desailly and Laurent Blanc.

1994: Brazil

2002: Brazil.
Brazil forward Romario can barely contain his emotions as he kisses the Cup following his team’s close win over Italy on penalties 3-2.

1990: West Germany

1990: Germany.
In a rematch of the 1986 World Cup, Germany would get revenge on Argentina with a 1-0 victory.

1986: Argentina

1986: Argentina.
Diego Maradona holds the trophy aloft as he and his teammates celebrate a 3-2 win over West Germany.

1982: Italy

2002: Brazil.
Italy beat West Germany 3-1 to take home the Cup.

1978: Argentina

1978: Argentina.
Despite a 1-1 tie after 90 minutes, after scoring two goals in extra time, Argentina would win 3-1 against the Netherlands.

1974: West Germany

1974: Germany.
Franz Beckenbauer hoists the Cup after West Germany beat the Netherlands 2-1 at the Olympic Stadium in Munich.

Football And Racism

Brazil Racism Out of View at World Cup

A woman passes by a graffiti in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil, June 18, 2013.


The World Cup will end this Sunday in Brazil, a nation with the world’s largest black population outside of Africa.  Although many Brazilians think of their country as the model of race relations, racism is a hidden reality.

On the country’s Atlantic shore, the tropical city of Salvador de Bahia faces the African coastline far beyond the horizon.  It’s a a city symbolic for Brazil’s African roots.

Slavery was abolished in Brazil in 1888 and here, more than anywhere else, the links with Africa are evident.  In Salvador, African descendants represent more than 80 percent of the population.  In Brazil, more than 50 percent of the population is of “metis,” or mixed-race – and social contact, friendships and marriage between the races are common.

Read more here at



Historical Rivalry

France-Germany: A Grand Classic in the Church of Football

German goalkeeper Harald Schumacher, left, and defender Hans-Peter Briegel, right, stop France's William Ayache during the World Cup semifinal in Guadalajara, Mexico, on June 25, 1986.

Harald Schumacher, the German goalkeeper, and defender Hans-Peter Briegel (right) stop William Ayache of France in the semifinals of the 1986 World Cup in Guadalajara, Mexico. (AP)

As luck would have it, Rio’s Estadio Maracana, considered a “temple” of world football, will host this classic dream match between two giants of world football: France and Germany. The neighbors will meet Friday for the fourth time in World Cup history. Their two previous meetings in 1982 and 1986, won by West Germany, were memorable.

France - Allemagne.

Manfred Kaltz of West Germany (left) hits the ball beyond Gérard Janvion of France, in the semifinals of between West Germany and France, in Seville, Spain, on July 8, 1982. (AP)

July 8, 1982. semifinals. Seville, Spain. 

An unforgettable match in the warm night of Seville. The two teams are tied at one apiece at halftime, but then the game switches into madness. France quickly takes the lead, sending Tresor and Giresse into ecstatic joy. But the Germans then equalized and snapped a shot on goal. Thirty-two years later, the night in Seville is legend.

June 25, 1986. semifinals. Guadalajara, Mexico.

At Jalisco Monumental, Germany beats France 2-0. The “Platini Generation” lets slip a last chance to win the World Cup.

July 4, 2014. quarterfinals. Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

France has a better face with a young and dynamic team: watch Benzema, Pogba and Sakho closely.  But the Mannschaft which has not lost its status as favorites.

(Material from AFP was used in this report)