With the 2014 World Cup winding down in Brazil, it’s only fitting that today’s #TBT FIFA sports blog remembers Pele – universally considered soccer’s greatest player ever.
Here’s a chapter excerpt from my Favorite Single Named Athletes sports comic book that acknowledges the incomparable Pele.
…..Mention the name Edson Arantes de Nascimento and only staunch soccer fans will recognize it.
However, say the simple name Pele, and nearly everyone on the planet, whether soccer fan or not, will immediately recognize this extraordinary Brazilian.
The spectacular Christ the Redeemer statue overlooking Rio de Janiero’s stunning beaches welcomes all visitors to Brazil.
In yesterday’s World Cup semi final contest, Germany took the statue’s metaphoric greeting quite literally.
A powerful, organized and talented German side immediately made itself at home on the favored host nation’s home pitch in Belo Horizonte and thoroughly dominated the match.
American sports fans may revel in the histrionic antics of WWF, but the drama-queen dilettantes of 2014 World Cup soccer in Brazil are far too over-the-top for the American male.
Most American sports fans still can’t stomach soccer.
And, it’s because of the flopping that would make NBA stars LeBron James and Manu Ginobli beam with pride!
In yesterday’s penalty kick shootout victory over Costa Rica, Netherlands star striker Robin Van Persie was held in check and failed to find the back of the net in 120 minutes of action.
Ironically, so were other celebrated scorers from the three other high powered teams whose recent victories enabled their countries to also advance to the 2014 World Cup Semi-finals.
Neither Thomas Muller of Germany, Lionel Messi of Argentina nor Neymar of Brazil were able to score in their sides’ respective wins. Like Van Persie, Muller, Messi and Neymar were heavily marked during their entire matches.
Across the globe, international football fans could hear the collective groan of a once exuberant, but now nervous nation when Brazil’s fabulous striker Neymar crumbled on the pitch.
As he was taken off the field by stretcher, tears could be seen on the face of the 2014 World Cup star.
Today’s Throw Back Thursday or TBT FIFA sports blog focuses on Manuel Garrincha, one of Brazil’s most decorated soccer heroes and a two-time World Cup champion.
My TBT post is an excerpt from my book FIFA Favorites…….
……These words are written on the tombstone of our next nicknamed athlete. “Here rests in peace one who was the Joy of the People.”
Sadly, Manuel Garrincha passed away as a mystery. He was a brilliant footballer, beloved by Brazilians, yet he died as a poor alcoholic.
American basketball fans have always revered NBA players and have eagerly embraced the game’s singular named stars like today’s LeBron, Kobe and Carmelo as well as yesterday’s Hall of Famers Magic, Michael and Bird.
In the same way, simple nicknames of Brazilian national team players have captivated the Beautiful Game’s die hard followers.
Stoppage Time in soccer is one of the real mysteries of life!
Intrigued, but uninformed new American soccer fans watching the 2014 World Cup action in Brazil must be scratching their heads when they hear sportscasters announcing stoppage time near the end of a half or game. They must be thinking…
Exactly why is it called Stoppage Time when the game clock continues to run at the end of the half or in the overtime period – backwards – I might add?
Battered, bruised and bereft of energy, a hard scrapple Team USA survived the heat, humidity and heavyweight hitters in the highly competitive Group G , otherwise known as the Group of Death, in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
The Americans earned the opportunity to advance into the single elimination round of 16 against a very formidable Belgium side, winners of Group H.
The extraordinary play in this year’s World Cup of some of international football’s best players refutes a timeless adage.
On the soccer pitch of Brazil’s stadiums, Lilliputians like 5’6″ Lionel Messi of Argentina, 5’7″ Philipp Lahm of Germany, 5’7″ Alexis Sanchez of Chile, 5’7″ Dries Martens of Belgium, 5’8″ Giovani dos Santos of Mexico and 5’9″ Neymar da Silva Santos of Brazil have made a mockery of the common misconception in sports that “bigger is always better.”
These scintillating stars have proven that if we used the same logic that “bigger is always better,” then we’d want bigger headaches, bigger holes in our pockets and even bigger cases of jock rash.
This weekend’s World Cup games showed that you can never measure the indomitable spirit that drives athletes, regardless of their physical size.