Confederations Cup: police clash with protesters outside Maracanã

July 1, 2013

“Protests against the rising cost of hosting the World Cup and a raft of other social inequalities in Brazil see police and demonstrators clash outside the Maracanã on the night of the Confederations Cup final. Brazil won the game against Spain 3-0 to win the trophy. Protests have taken place for the duration of the tournament, involving hundreds of thousands of people” Guardian (Video)

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Spain beats Italy on penalties

June 28, 2013

Jesús Navas Spain
“Jesus Navas scored the decisive penalty as World Cup holder Spain beat Italy 7-6 in a shootout Thursday after extra time ended 0-0, setting up a showdown with host Brazil in the Confederations Cup final. Nobody missed in the shootout until Italy defender Leonardo Bonucci shot over the bar to give Navas an attempt at the winner. The recently signed Manchester City midfielder coolly beat goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon to end a top-class battle and send Spain to another major final.” ESPN (Video)

Scolari to mull over Hulk dilemma ahead of final
“We cannot yet declare that Luiz Felipe Scolari has turned Brazil into a successful side, and it would be unrealistic to consider them an overly entertaining one. Nevertheless, among encouraging performances and positive results, the main feature of Brazil throughout the Confederations Cup so far has been the sheer consistency of selection.” ESPN (Video)


Incitement

June 27, 2013

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“‘Tear gas is a magic potion,’ writes Chris Gaffney from the streets of Rio. ‘Those who launch it are weakened while those forced to inhale it are strengthened.’ For those of you interested in the politics of football in Brazil, his blog – as well as his excellent book on Stadia in Argentina and Brazil – is a key place to go to understand the ways in which preparations for the 2014 World Cup have served as a trigger for what may become a major political and social movement in Brazil. As is often the case, the state’s response to what were initially small protests has energized a movement that is tapping into a powerful vein of dissatisfaction in the country.” Soccer Politics

Can Brazil protests can be traced back to a 2003 Fifa decision?
“Of all the unimportant things in life, as the wise old saying puts it, football is the most important. Which means, wonderful as it is, that the global game comes below education, health and public transport in any rational list of governmental priorities. It is the poor standard of these public services which has brought millions of Brazilian people onto the streets. No-one saw this protest movement coming and no-one knows where it will end. Most agree that the complaints are justified.” BBC – Tim Vickery


As opponents adapt, Jordi Alba helping to give Spain a new dimension

June 27, 2013

“The beauty of this Spain team is that it keeps evolving. After technical skill and the ability to retain possession finally overcame the neurosis of past failure at Euro 2008, there came the years of control in 2010 and 2012, as World Cup and another European Championsip were collected playing safety-first keep-ball. For all the criticism of its supposed negativity in Poland and Ukraine there were signs of another Spain emerging, one that had begun to come to terms with the problem posed by an opponent that sits deep against it.” SI – Jonathan Wilson


Brazil 2-1 Uruguay: Brazil through to the final after substitutes help increase the pressure

June 27, 2013

“Brazil weren’t on top form, but Paulinho’s late header sends them through to the final. Luiz Felipe Scolari brought back Paulinho after injury kept the Tottenham target out of the victory over Italy – so Hernanes dropped to the bench. Having changed his entire side for the win over Tahiti, Oscar Tabarez reverted to the side that defeated Nigeria. This was a disappointing match in technical sense, with none of the attacking players sparkling, although it was interesting in tactical sense.” Zonal Marking

Brazil reaches Confed Cup final
“Brazil’s players wept with joy inside the stadium, and Brazilian protesters were sprayed with tear gas outside it as the country’s national football team reached the Confederations Cup final despite another wave of mass demonstrations on the streets. Brazil beat neighbors Uruguay 2-1 with an 86th minute header from Paulinho in a performance that failed to reach the commanding heights of earlier games. As thousands of anti-government protesters clashed with police nearby, inside the Mineirao Stadiujm, Brazil’s footballers reached Sunday’s final in Rio de Janeiro with a patchy display.” ESPN (Video)


Brave Nigeria bow out as Spain soldier on

June 24, 2013

“A courageous Nigeria team exited the Confederations Cup with their dignity very much intact despite being on the wrong end of a 3-0 scoreline against European and world champions, Spain. At the final whistle, the Super Eagles left the field as the spectators’ clear moral victors with the crowd chanting ‘Nigeria! Nigeria!’ albeit in suspiciously Brazilian accents.” ESPN (Video)


Scarred Brazil still hopeful of World Cup success

June 23, 2013

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“Football supporters fleeing tear gas and rubber bullets. Angry mobs torching banks and buses. Gleaming new stadiums encircled by activists. These are images few Brazilians would have predicted they would see on the streets of their country just 10 days ago, images the organisers of the next year’s World Cup could not have imagined would blight the Confederations Cup.” BBC