Gondola lift, Complexo do Alemão, Rio de Janeiro, July 7, 2011.
“FOR THIS ISSUE’S Dispatch, Artforum goes south, to Rio de Janeiro—a city as defined by myths of sensualist extravagance as it is by horror stories of yesterday’s military dictatorship and today’s slum violence. Yet one does not have to subscribe to cliché to recognize that Rio is somehow singular; that, in the past half century alone, it has been a place of extraordinary innovation and devastation alike, from the decadent inventions of bossa nova and Tropicália to the human-rights abuses of the postwar period and the unsettling rise of the modern favela in the 1970s. Such paradoxical histories are still with us: This year, as Rio prepares to host the World Cup in June and gears up for the Summer Olympics in 2016, spending astronomical amounts on infrastructural changes and in many instances attempting to eradicate portions of the favelas, it also observes (without celebrating) the fiftieth anniversary of the 1964 coup that brought the military to power.”
ARTFORUM, GUILHERME WISNIK, IRENE V. SMALL, DANIEL STEEGMANN MANGRANÉ
“Perhaps, given England’s perceived lack of success, it’s only natural that we should hark always back to 1990, that we should be forever trying to recapture what made that tournament so compelling. Yet it is a little odd. It doesn’t take much of an examination of England’s World Cup record to see how fine the margins sometimes are. In the last eight World Cups, England have reached the last eight (in 1982, the second phase comprised four three-team groups; so for the purposes of this stat I’ve counted the teams who finished second in those groups as losing quarter-finalists) on five occasions. Put like that, England’s World Cup record doesn’t sound too bad – in fact, only Brazil and (West) Germany can beat it.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson
“Teams in the World Cup are generally split among three tiers. The top one consists of those that year in and year out field the best squads in the world—including most of the previous World Cup winners and finalists, such as Brazil, Germany, and Argentina. The bottom tier consists of those from whom no one expects much, other than that they show up on time for matches. Among that group this year are Iran, Australia, and Algeria. But most teams fall somewhere in that second tier, where fans begin the tournament holding out hope that—through a perfect storm of lucky bounces, mistaken calls, beneficial match draws, and brilliant overachievement—their team will cobble together a World Cup championship. Colombia, who have qualified for the World Cup for the first time in sixteen years, is one of these teams.” The Paris Review
“Gary Lineker’s verdict. … Style & formation: Coach Jose Pekerman is a tactical chameleon who favours attack-minded variations on 4-4-2, 4-2-2-2 and 4-2-3-1 formations. Napoli pair Pablo Armero and Juan Zuniga provide width as adventurous full-backs, with Fiorentina’s Juan Cuadrado and Monaco’s James Rodriguez the key creative influences. Rodriguez plays his club football alongside striker Falcao, and the duo have a deadly understanding.” BBC Colombia, Ivory Coast, Greece, Japan
“Atlético Madrid is the third-most successful club in the history of Spanish soccer, which is a little like being the third-most famous khan in the history of the Mongol horde. Good job by you, but you’re never going to stop hearing about Genghis and Kublai. Atleti has won nine titles in La Liga, Spain’s top division, which is great, except that Real Madrid and FC Barcelona have combined for 54. And when you start running the math on that, and realize there have only ever been 82 champions crowned in La Liga, and add in that Madrid and Barcelona have collectively finished second an additional 45 times (versus eight for Atlético), and further consider that Atleti isn’t even the biggest team in its own hometown (that would be Real) — well, you get a clear picture of a tough little club that’s been overshadowed by its planet-conquering, culture-altering rivals.” Grantland – Brian Phillips
“Riot police in Brazil have fired tear gas to disperse thousands of protesters in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro who marched against the cost of hosting the football World Cup. Some demonstrators hurled stones while other burned tyres and blocked roads. They say they are angry that billions of dollars are being spent on next month’s football tournament, rather than social projects and housing. Protests also took place in many other cities, including the capital Brasilia.” BBC