Salah, Pogba, Özil … the Muslim heroes of English football | World news | The Guardian
“Football as a Religion: The Church of Maradona. “Nearly 70 Percent Of Planet Earth Watches English Premier League. . Just as a Christian man would go to church to worship his God, players step on to the pitch to worship soccer. . These people rely on you, and you on them, to meet certain goals. Soccer in sun and shadow [El Futbol a Sol y Sombra] . In this sacred place, the only religion without atheists puts its divinities on display. . that no-man's land and celebrated the victory as the first of British soccer on front lines. . The return was blighted by crowd trouble, however, with a pitch invasion. Salah, Pogba, Özil the Muslim heroes of English football the hate-mongers who seek to warp majority opinion tend to focus on religion.
Card in hand, he raises the colors of doom: The linesmen, who assist but do not rule, look on from the side. Only the referee steps onto the playing field, and he's absolutely right to cross himself when he first appears before the roaring crowd. His job is to make himself hated. The only universal sentiment in soccer: He always gets catcalls, never applause.
No one runs more. The only one obliged to run the entire game without pause, this interloper who pants in the ears of every player breaks his back galloping like a horse. And in return for his pains, the crowd howls for his head.
From beginning to end he sweats oceans, forced to chase the white ball that skips along back and forth between the feet of everyone else. When the ball hits him by accident, the entire stadium curses his mother. But even so, just to be there in that sacred green space where the ball floats and glides, he's willing to suffer insults, catcalls, stones and damnation. Sometimes, though rarely, his judgment coincides with the inclinations of the fans, but not even then does he emerge unscathed.
The losers owe their loss to him and the winners triumph in spite of him. The more they hate him, the more they need him. For over a century the referee dressed in mourning. Now he wears bright colors to mask his feelings. No, no, and no. Conformity is not our style, as those of you who have followed us during the long years of our career well know, not only in our beloved country but on the stages of international and even worldwide sport, wherever we have been called upon to fulfill our humble duty.
So, as is our custom, we are going to pronounce all the syllables of every word: We said as much only this past Sunday and we affirm it today, with our heads held high and without any hairs on our tongue, because we have always called a spade a spade and we will continue speaking the truth, though it hurts, fall who may, and no matter the cost.
He dies without a word when the game stopped being a game and professional soccer required a technocracy to keep people in line.
Want to understand politics in the last 25 years? Look at football | Football | The Guardian
Then the manager was born. The trainer used to say: Today they talk in numbers. The history of soccer in the twentieth century, a journey from daring to fear, is a trip from the to the by way of the and the [sic]. Any ignoramus could translate that much with a little help, but the rest is impossible.
The manager dreams up formulas as mysterious as the Immaculate Conception, and he uses them to develop tactical schemes more indecipherable than the Holy Trinity.
From the old blackboard to the electronic screen: These dream-manoeuvers are rarely seen in the broadcast version of the games. Television prefers to focus on the furrows in the manager's brow. We see him gnawing his fists or shouting instructions that would certainly turn the game around if anyone could understand them.
Who writes the play — the manager? It definitely depends on fate, which like the wind blows every which way. That's why the outcome is always a surprise to spectators and protagonists alike, except in the cases of bribery or other inescapable tricks of destiny. These warriors…exorcize the demons of the crowd and reaffirm its faith: The stadium has towers and banners like a castle, as well as a deep and wide moat around the field.
In the middle, a white line separates the territories in dispute. Leaping out from behind a parapet which was serving as his cover, he chased the ball toward the German trenches. His regiment, hesitant at first, followed the leader. The captain was blasted by the gunfire, but England conquered that no-man's land and celebrated the victory as the first of British soccer on front lines.
Signs of galvanising power of the game was indisputable. A monument in the Ukraine commemorates the players of the Kiev Dynamo team. During the German occupation they committed the insane act of defeating Hitler's squad in the local stadium. Having been warned, "If you win, you die," they started out resigned to losing, trembling with fear and hunger, but in the end they could not resist the temptation of dignity. When the game was over all eleven were shot with their shirts on at the edge of a cliff.
August 6 Flakelf Germany 5—1 return match: August 9 Flakelf Germany 5—3 at this second match, the stadium was covered with soldiers and Gestapo SS. The referee was himself an SS officer, and he visited the team in the locker room. At half-time, the referree may have asked them to throw the match. Then, instead of letting it cross the goal line, he turned around and kicked the ball back towards the centre circle. The SS referee blew the final whistle before the ninety minutes were up.
Over the next few days, most of the team were arrested. At least three, maybe five survived. Nothing exemplified Nazi bestiality better. Germans were the Master Race More Ukrainians died in the war than any other nation: Overstarved to death in Kiev alone. On a sunny afternoon on 9 Augusta crack Luftwaffe football team played a match against Dinamo Kiev actually the team FC Smart, created with leftover players from Dinamo.
The Nazis staged the match as yet more proof of their invincibility at a time when Hitler's victorious army was meeting its first setbacks at the gates of Moscow and Stalingrad. The referee was a Ukrainian nationalist — no Ukrainians were allowed to join the Gestapo — who gave no ultimatum. The Kiev players were rewarded by the delighted bakery chief Otto Schmidt, who had collected a substantial bet on the match from his fellow Germans, and they continued their jobs at the bakery.
It was some time later that misfortune befell some of the players, quite unrelated to football matters. Saboteurs added ground glass to bread intended for German officers. First, bakery workers were lined up in the yard and shot; then, on the second occasion,including five footballers.
Kolya Trusevich and Fyodor Tyutchev escaped, but the former was later killed as he tried to swim across a lake to safety. This was at a time when hundreds of footballers and thousands of other innocent sports victims were caught up in a new purge launched by Stalin and police chief Lavrenty Beria. The myth was propagated during the soviet regime. It was the place where he was born, which meant nothing to him because he had no choice in the matter. It was where he broke his back working as a peon in a packinghouse, and for him one boss was the same as any other no matter the country.
But when Uruguay won the Olympics in France, Arispe was one of the winning players. While he watched the flag with the sun and four pale blue stripes rising slowly up the pole of honor, at the center of all the flags and higher than any other, Arispe felt his heart burst.
Four years later, Uruguay won gold again at the Olympics in the Netherlands. Uruguay was not a mistake. Soccer had pulled this tiny country out of the shadows of universal anonymity. Pedro Arispe was a meatpacker. Pedro Cea sold ice. They were all twenty years old or a little older, though in the pictures they look like old men.
They cured their wounds with salt water, vinegar plasters, and a few glasses of wine. In they arrived in Europe in third-class steerage and then traveled on borrowed money in second-class carriages, sleeping on wooden benches and playing match after match in exchange for room and board. Before the Paris Olympics, they played nine matches in Spain and won all nine of them. It was the first time that a Latin American team had played in Europe. Their first Olympic match was against Yugoslavia.
The Yugoslavs sent spies to the practice session. The Uruguayans caught on and practiced by kicking the ground and sending the ball up into the clouds, tripping at every step and crashing into each other. The Uruguayan flag was flown upside down, the sun on its head, and instead of the national anthem they played a Brazilian march.
That afternoon, Uruguay defeated Yugoslavia 7—0. And then something like the second discovery of America occurred.
Match after match, crowds lined up to see those men, slippery like squirrels, who played chess with the ball. They chose to invent a game of close passes directly to the foot, with lightning changes in rhythm and high-speed dribbling. Henri de Montherlant, an aristocratic writer, published his enthusiasm: Here we have real soccer. Now, years later, all that remains of the state's social calling, and of that great soccer, is nostalgia. Several players, like the very subtle Enzo Francescoli, have managed to inherit and renovate the old arts, but in general Uruguayan soccer is a far cry from what it used to be.
Ever fewer children play it and ever fewer men play it gracefully. Nevertheless, there is no Uruguayan who does not consider himself a Ph. Every time the national team plays, no matter against whom, the country holds its breath.
Politicians, singers, and carnival barkers shut their mouths, lovers suspend their caresses, and flies refuse to budge. Having beaten the hosts and favourites France in the quarter-final and Holland in the semi, Uruguay took gold in front of 60, against Switzerland.
The French took the South Americans to their hearts, especially Jose Leandro Andrade, the black right half, a subtle defender of the ball who linked up play with the forwards. When the Olympic champions returned triumphantly to Montevideo, they were instantly challenged by Argentina to a two-leg 'friendly'.
The Argentines, who'd chosen not to send a team to the games, ground out a hard-earned draw in Montevideo and approached the second leg in Buenos Aires with confidence. The return was blighted by crowd trouble, however, with a pitch invasion causing the abandonment of the game. When they tried again four days later, Uruguay's Andrade, at right-half, had to stay 15 yards in from the wing to avoid bottles thrown from the crowd. Argentina prevailedon aggregate, with one of their goals coming direct from a corner: With the win, the Argentinians proclaimed themselves 'moral world champions' much like Scotland after their win over England and their press had a field day, one paper running the banner headline 'Olympics ha ha ha'.
Superstitious soccer: Weird rituals on the football pitch
From their preparation to the way they played, the Uruguayans challenged Europe's long-established approach to the game. Bernard Joy, a former England international player and now a commentator on the game, wrote: But the real revelation for European observers was that, as far as the South Americans were concerned, opening up defences through skilful passing was paramount, counting for far more than physical intimidation.
One of their players in particular, Jose Leandro Andrade, captivated crowds with his technique, earning himself the nickname La Marveille Noire. A midfield player he has been awarded the unofficial accolade of being the first international football star. The proof of the effectiveness of the Uruguayan way was in the results: In the final, in front of a 60, crowd — with 10, locked out of the Colombes stadium — they comfortably rolled over Switzerland A midfielder, this rubber-bodied giant would sweep the ball downfield without ever touching an adversary, and when he launched the attack he would brandish his body and send them all scattering.
In one match he crossed half the field with the ball sitting on his head. The crowds cheered him, the French press called him "The Black Marvel.
Patent leather shoes replaced his whiskery hemp sandals from Montevideo and a top hat took the place of his worn cap. Newspaper columns of the time praised the figure of that monarch of the Pigalle night: And dressed to kill: Andrade died in Montevideo many years later. His friends had planned several benefits for him, but none of them ever came off. He died of tuberculosis, in utter poverty.
He was black, South American, and poor, the first international idol of soccer. French journalists wanted the secret of that witchcraft that cast the rival players in stone. Journalists believed it and published the story. Decades later, good ringlets were still cheered as loudly as goals in South American soccer.
My childhood memory is filled with them. The stands would confess: He liked to knead the ball, retain it and caress it, and if it got away from him, he would feel insulted. No coach would dare tell him, as they say now: Today such works of art are outlawed, or at least viewed with grave suspicion, and are considered selfish exhibitionism, a betrayal of team spirit, and utterly useless against the iron defensive systems of modern soccer.
In the semi-final, Italy and Brazil were risking their necks for all or nothing. Italian striker Piola suddenly collapsed as if he'd been shot, and with the last flutter of life in his finger he pointed at Brazilian defender Domingos da Guia.
The referee believed him and blew the whistle: While the Brazilians screamed to high heaven and Piola got up and dusted himself off, Giusepe Meazza placed the ball on the firing point. Meazza was the dandy of the picture.
A short, handsome, Latin lover and an elegant artilleryman of penalties, he lifted his chin to the goalkeeper like a matador before the final charge. His feet, as soft and knowing as hands, never missed. But Walter, the Brazilian goalie, was good at blocking penalty kicks and felt confident. Meazza began his run up, and just when he was about to execute the kick, he dropped his shorts.
The crowd was stupefied and the referee nearly swallowed his whistle. But Meazza, never pausing, grabbed his pants with one hand and sent the goalkeeper, disarmed by laughter, down to defeat. That was the goal that put Italy in the final. The following report fro CBC says that they fell off after he took the shot. Undaunted, Meazza held up his shorts with his left hand while scoring from the spot to give Italy a lead. Meazza's shorts fell down around his waist after he scored.
Then he plucked the ball from the back of the net and with it under his arm he retraced his path, stepby step, dragging his feet. That's right, raising lots of dust, to erase his footprints, so that no one could copy his goal. Jose Manuel Moreno, the most popular player in River's "Machine", loved to throw fakes: Whenever an opponent flattened him with a kick, Moreno would get up by himself and without complaint, and no matter how badly he was hurt, he would keep on playing.
He was proud, a swagger and a scrapper who could punch out the entire enemy stands and his own as well, though his fans adored him, they had a nasty habit of insulting him every time River lost. So Moreno, who was then forty-five, got out of his street clothes, took the field and scored two goals.
In the middle ofa match was to be played against Sao Cristovao, and Bangu's fans planned to send four thousand fireworks aloft, the largest bombardment in the history of football. When the Bangu players took the field and the gunpowder thunder and lightning began, Sao Cristovao's coach locked his players in the dressing room and stuck cotton-wool in their ears. As long as the fireworks lasted, and they lasted a long time, the dressing room floor shook, the walls shook and the players shook too, all of them huddled with their heads in their hands, teeth clenched, eyes screwed shut, convinced that the world war had come home.
They were still shaking when they stepped onto the field. The sky was black with smoke. A short while later, there was to be a game between the Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo teams. Once again, war clouds threatened and the dailies predicted another Pearl Harbour, a siege of Leningrad and other cataclysms.
The Paulistas knew that the loudest bang ever heard awaited them in Rio. Then the Sao Paulo coach had a brainwave: That way instead of scaring them, the bombardment would be a greeting.
And that's what happened, only Sao Paulo lost anyway, But a rival striker smashed his meniscus and everything else. He gave up soccer, and became one of the greatest sculptors of the twentieth century. In soccer he found an effective ally.
These locos were unbeatable on the fields of the Argentine littoral, and playing was their best therapy. Half a century later, we urban beings are all more or less crazy, even though due to space limitations nearly all of us live outside the asylum. Evicted by cars, trapped by violence, condemned to isolation, we live packed in ever closer to one another and feel ever more alone, with ever fewer meeting places and ever less time to meet.
In soccer, as in everything else, consumers are far more numerous than producers. Asphalt covers the empty lots where people used to pick up a game, and work devours our leisure time.
Like carnival, soccer has become a mass spectator sport. But just like the carnival spectators who start dancing in the streets, in soccer there are always a few admiring fans who kick the ball every so often out of sheer joy. And not only children. For better or for worse, though the fields are as far away as they could be, friends from the neighborhood or workmates from the factory, the office or the faculty still get together to play for fun until they collapse exhausted, and then winners and losers go off together to drink and smoke and share a good meal, pleasures denied the professional athlete.
Sometimes women take part, too, and score their own goals, though in general the macho tradition keeps them exiled from these fiestas of communication. Hungary, the favorite, was playing Germany in the final. WIth six minutes left in a game tiedthe robust German forward Helmut Rahn trapped a rebound from the Hungarian defense in the semi-circle.
Rahn evaded Lantos and fired a blast with his left, just inside the right post of the goal defended by Grosics. Heribert Zimmermann, Germany's most popular commentator, anoounced that goal with a passion worthy of a South American: Zimmerman's cry became a symbol of national resurrection.
Years later, that historic goal could be heard on the soundtrack of Fassbinder's film, "The Marriage of Maria Braun," which recounts the misadventures of a woman who can't find her way out of the ruins. At that point five substitutes became starters, among them an unknown teenager named Pele, and Garrincha, who was already quite famous in Brazil and had sparkled in the previous Cup.
Garrincha had been left out this time because psychological testing showed him to have a weak mind. These black second stringers to white stars blazed with their own light in the new star team, along with another astonishing black, Didi, who organized their magic from the back.
In the semi-final against the French team of Kopa and Fontaine, the Brazilians wonand they won again in the final against the home team.
The Swedish captain Liedholm, one of the cleanest and most elegant players in the history of soccer, converted the first goal of the match, but then Vava, Pele and Zagalo put the Swedes in their place under the astonished gaze of King Gustavus Adolphus. Brazil was over, the victorious players gave the ball to their most devoted fan, the victorious players gave the ball to their most devoted fan, the black masseur Americo.
Remembering Garrincha Jan [Before the World Cup finals in Sweden, Brazil were something of a laughing stock in terms of world football. They were considered second-rate even on their own continent, with Uruguay the dominant force having won the first World Cup in and then, catastrophically for Brazil, beating the hosts in the Maracana in to claim their second crown.
The defeat on their own patch, dubbed 'The Fateful Final', had caused such long-lasting scars on the Brazilian game that they went to Sweden with a psychologist in tow, a move almost unheard of at the time. They need not have worried. Garrincha was held back until the third game, against the powerful Russians, and in partnership with Didi, Vava and Pele, he destroyed them. They edged past Walesthrashed goal Just Fontaine's France and then battered Sweden in the final in Stockholm to become the first team to win the World Cup outside their own continent.
Brazil national football team: The players were given a list of forty things that they were not allowed to do, including wearing hats or umbrellas, smoking while wearing official uniforms and talking to the press outside of allocated times. They beat Austria 3—0 in their first match, then drew 0—0 with England.
From the kick off, they passed the ball to Garrincha who beat three players before hitting the post with a shot. When he started playing soccer, doctors made the sign of the cross. They predicted that this misshapen survivor of hunger and polio, dumb and lame, with the brain of an infant, a spinal column like an S and both legs bowed to the same side, would never be an athlete.
In the '58 world cup he was the best in his position, in the '62 the best player in the championship. But throughout his many years on the field, Garrincha was more: When he was playing, the field became a circus ring, the ball a tame beast, the game an invitation to party. Like a child defending his pet, Garrincha wouldn't let go of the ball, and the ball and he would perform devilish tricks that had people dying of laughter.
He would jump on her, she would hop on him, she would hide, he would escape, she would chase after him. In the process, the opposing players would crash into each other, their legs twisting around until they would fall, seasick, to the ground. Garrincha did his rascal's mischief at the edge of the field, along the right touchline, far from the center: He played for a club called Botafogo, which means "firelighter," and he was the botafogo who fired up the fans crazed by fire water and all things fiery.
He was the one who climbed out of the training-camp window because he heard from far-off back alleys the call of a ball asking to be played with, music demanding to be danced to, a woman wanting to be kissed.
As they say in Brazil, if shit was worth anything, the poor would be born without asses. He had several birth defects: Paolo Amaral was on the Brazilian coaching staff in the s and remembers writing a scouting report on the young winger after he moved to Botafogo: His biographer, Rui Castro, described the man fans called 'the angel with bent legs' as "the most amateur footballer professional football ever produced".
Former Wales international left-back Mel Hopkins, who lined up directly against Garrincha on 19 June, in Gothenburg in the World Cup quarter-final, described to BBC Sport the force of nature he was up against that day.
Garrincha takes on Hopkins in the World Cup quarter-final "He attacked with such pace and I believe he was more of a danger than Pele at the time - he was a phenomenon, capable of sheer magic. Garrincha's place as one of football's all-time greats was assured at the World Cup finals in Chile. When Pele was injured in the second game, Garrincha took on his mantle as leader of the team and his dazzling displays inspired Brazil to their second crown.
He scored twice in the quarters against England, twice more in the semis against the hosts and, despite suffering from a fever, helped his side to a win over Czechoslovakia in the finals. The player of the tournament was undoubtedly now a superstar - and he acted like one, too.
Garrincha spent money like it was going out of fashion on a variety of friends, hangers-on, girlfriends and his ever-increasing family. By the time the World Cup came around he was a pale imitation of the real Garrincha, a long-term knee injury enough to curb the electric bursts of speed that had once made him so destructive.
Soggy socks He was the hero of the World Cupcontinuing to play even with a bloody face. His own superstitious quirk is that he likes to play with wet socks and boots. Sealed with a kiss As captain, Laurent Blanc led the French national team onto the field for years. Before each international match, he would kiss the shaven head of teammate and goalie Fabien Barthez. It apparently brought Blanc luck. And the more matches the team won, the more other players began to copy the ritual.
Eventually, the whole team was lining up to plant a pre-match kiss on the goalie's head. Bigger is better Football boots should fit well. He said he was able to rotate better that way. Austrian Johann Ettmayer, on the other hand, wore shoes that were too small. He said football boots should be like "condoms for your feet.
All sectors of Israeli society meet on soccer pitch
Aiming wide He's now a sports pundit for the BBC, but back in the s Lineker was considered England's best striker. Yet, when warming up for a game,he never aimed for the goal itself: He didn't want to "use up" his goals beforehand.
Peculiar rituals on the soccer field Eric Cantona: Not without my bath Doctors tend to warn against sauna visits or hot baths before a soccer game, because intense heat is bad for top athletes. Frenchman Eric Cantona, however, flouted such advice and got into a warm bath for five minutes at precisely 8 a. Peculiar rituals on the soccer field Real Madrid: Team garlic For years, the Spanish superstars have grabbed one trophy after another, the last one at the Champions League this year.
But inthings were different: To put a stop to the dry spell, people planted a clove of garlic in the middle of the soccer field. That same season, the team won the Copa del Rey.
All sectors of society meet on soccer pitch - Israel News - Jerusalem Post
Peculiar rituals on the soccer field Romeo Anconetani: He was convinced that salt helped his team win games, and would scatter it on the pitch before a match.
The more important the game, the more salt he would sprinkle. Once, when his team was struggling to keep up with rivals AC Cesena, he got through 26 kilograms of the stuff. Peculiar rituals on the soccer field Mario Zagallo: Lucky number 13 The fixation of the Brazilian coach on the number 13 was legendary.
He worshipped Saint Anthony, whose patron day is June Zagallo also lived on the 13th floor of a highrise building, married on the 13th day of the month and, when he played soccer himself, always wanted to wear the number InZagallo led his Brazilian team to World Cup victory.
Peculiar rituals on the soccer field Carlos Bilardo: Ill-fated fowl Incoach Carlos Bilardo forbade his national team from eating poultry because he considered it bad luck. So, only steak was served up. In addition, he also demanded that his players exchange tubes of toothpaste before each match, because he himself had borrowed a tube from one of his players before the first successful game. Peculiar rituals on the soccer field Giovanni Trapattoni: No game without holy water Legendary Italian coach Giovanni Trapattoni, who got FC Bayern up and on their feet in the s and coined the phrase "weak like an empty bottle," is superstitious.
Or rather, he's religious. Before he would let his team of 11 out onto the field, he would pour holy water onto it first. He had good connections for getting the holy fluid, too: His sister was a nun. For years, it was a blue cashmere sweater.