22
Jun

Samsung wishes Landon Donovan good luck today against Portugal

Whoever is running the Samsung Middle East Twitter feed is having a rough day.

They’ve apparently forgotten who actually made the US World Cup squad.

Whoops!

The corporate account was sending good wishes to some of the stars sponsored by the tech company including Cristiano Ronalso, Lionel Messi and Wayne Rooney. They just never updated their ad campaign when Donovan was cut.

Donovan is only marginally included in Samsung’s video to go with the advertising, which was tweeted out on June 19.

(See him way in the back, fourth from the left?)

One wonders how much they had to re-edit that video.

8
Jan

Becks’ revolutionary Super Bowl underwear commercial

David Beckham is probably one of the best looking men around, right ladies? Well now you can buy his underwear off his body in this television commercial set to be aired during the Super Bowl.

Viewers with a Samsung Smart TV will be able to buy the soccer star’s undergarments directly through their television during the revolutionary 30-second H&M ad.

24
Jun

Trecker’s Brazil Travels: Games, protests take time off

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Photo: Jamie Trecker/FOX Soccer

By: Jamie Trecker, FOXSoccer.com

 BOA VIAGEM, BRAZIL

It’s the Festa de Sao Joao this weekend here on the Brazilian coast. Up and down the miles of beachfront, people are setting off fireworks, lighting bonfires, roasting various meats and generally being silly.

The Festa de Sao Joao is nominally a religious holiday. In Portugal, the Feast of Saint John is a major occasion on the calendar; apparently the same day stops traffic in Goa, India. Here, it is a mid-winter party also called the “festa junina,” which translates exactly to what you think it does. Up here, it is a two-week carnival – it rivals Carnival in importance in the state of Pernambuco – and it is celebrated with country festivals and large outdoor concerts. People also dress up in a simulacrum of “country” attire, which in the cases I’ve seen, means wearing hats with fake pigtails and penciling on freckles.

While there may be some religion involved here this weekend (and I am perhaps the wrong correspondent to ask about such matters) what I have seen is go-for-it, hoedown partying. Saturday, horse-drawn carts carrying stacks of firewood came into the center of Recife’s beach neighborhoods, and dumped cords right onto the sidewalk. Some of them remained there, to be set alight after sunset. It’s a bit jarring to walk by a blaze on a sidewalk, especially when it’s right outside a welding supply store, but that’s apparently all cool this weekend. They did look festive.

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22
Jun

Trecker’s Brazilian Travels: Unknown Utopia

Photo: Jamie Trecker/FOX Soccer

By Jamie Trecker, FOXSoccer.com

OLINDA, BRAZIL

The gunship flew low over the beach, heading north to Recife’s Derby Square. The protests would soon start, blocking the bridges in this city and snarling traffic to and from the set of interconnected islands.

Recife is a strange city. For two blocks along the coastline, you could be in Miami or Santa Monica, albeit with far fewer strip malls. But walk a block further inland, and you are in the favelas. Crossing the Avenue Domingos Ferreira puts you into a different city altogether. Here, the streets are unpaved, there are no windows on the cinderblock shanties, and laundry flaps from the telephone lines. There is sewage in the street, and the residents collect rainwater to wash in.

The city makes its money on tourism and textiles, and lately, it hasn’t been doing much of either. The beaches here, from Pina to Boa Viagem and beyond, have been virtually empty. The vendors who patrol up and down the sands have found few takers for the buckets of shrimp on their shoulders. The umbrella chairs were empty, and there was but one set of players on the vast tennis courts that stretch up and down the boardwalk. The beach soccer field was flooded, a product of the prior week’s rains.

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15
Jun

Trecker’s Brazilian Travels Day 4: Worth the fight

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Photo: Jamie Trecker / FOX Soccer

By Jamie Trecker

BRASILIA, BRAZIL

Brazilian security forces sent out the alert at 8:14 local time: avoid the TV tower and stay off the roads.

Security forces worked to “sanitize” the area around the Garrincha, closing off roads, trying to divert cars and pedestrians. They separated the people into two streams: the folks in yellow, and everyone else. The ones in yellow were going to see their national team play; everyone else was going to sit in the road and block the way in.

Some 57,000 security forces have been deployed across the country. I know, because I got a press release that was supposed to be reassuring. It sounded desperate instead.

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13
Jun

Trecker’s Brazilian Travels, Day 2: Architectural colossus

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Photo: Jamie Trecker / FOX Soccer

By Jamie Trecker

BRASILIA, BRAZIL

Raymond Chandler portrayed Los Angeles a sun-blasted city where dreams were scorched away. He could have been writing about Brasilia, a modernist fantasia where the heat and the light are unrelenting.

It’s winter, and the sun sets just after 5:30 here – but this is the hottest time of the year. There isn’t a trace of humidity in the air, and the red clay throws up whorls of dust that cake the streets and the buses. At noon, it is 27ºC and cloudless. Lucia Costa’s grand esplanades sweep five lanes of traffic to the Juscelino Kubitschek Bridge on the Eastern end, past the Cathedral, past the museum, and past the vast plazas of raw concrete.

Brasilia’s architect, Oscar Niemeyer, was many things: a genius, a modernist, and also, it appears, a brutalist. His expanses are meticulous, and his designs are awesome in the truest sense of the word. They are also unrelenting in the afternoon, with the heat reflecting off the white facades and up that perfect Roman surface.

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12
Jun

Trecker’s Brazilian Travels, Day 1: Appropriate starting point

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Photo: Jamie Trecker / FOX Soccer

By Jamie Trecker

BRASILIA, BRAZIL

Dawn. The city lies below the 757, an outpost on a craggy steppe. It looks like a toy, or maybe a prop until the plane descends further. The arcs of the city form two giant wings – or perhaps Orion, clutching a bow and firing an arrow toward Brazil’s coast.

Brasilia was to be Brazil’s great leap: a city that erupted whole cloth,  perfectly planned. It was to be a utopia of sorts, but it is not. It is, however, an architectural marvel, a modernist edifice that fifty years after its construction has the power to shock and amaze. It is also one of the places I had always wanted to visit.

I’m here because the Confederations Cup, something of a modernist construct itself, will kickoff here this Saturday. There is a lot of pressure on the hosts both on and off the field. Brazil’s staging of the 2014 World Cup has been somewhat star-crossed; budgets have been blown, strikes have been waged, protestors have marched and there is a weary sense that the government funds have been looted by this tournament.

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25
May

Trecker’s Travels, Day Sixteen: Rain, Rain, Go Away

Photo: Jamie Trecker / FOX Soccer

By Jamie Trecker

Maxwell J. Lieberman was a desk editor at the Hartford Courant, back in the 1950s and 60s, and a special breed of man. Desk editors are a reporter’s secret weapon: they are by nature patient and meticulous, with a clear grasp of how to get from A to B. They make us look sober and sensible. But they are not reporters: we a far more reckless breed. Sadly, the desk man’s affliction is the burning desire to be out in the field, where he imagines the romance to happen.

Courant legend has it that Liberman got his chance. It was a slow news day in Hartford and he was sent out to recap the Elizabeth Park lawn bowling tournament, about as tame as you can get. Unfortunately, his first line was: “It was a beautiful day…” and no one remembers the rest, because the editor in chief came down, ripped the story out of the paper and told Mr. Lieberman in fragrant terms that he was not going to lead the sports section with a weather report.

I’ve been thinking a lot about poor Max, because it’s so difficult not to lead with the weather here. It’s awful. London is experiencing its coldest spring in 37 years. On Wednesday night at the women’s Champions League final, you feared pleurisy; it rained so hard that the normally packed Covent Garden was empty. At Inverness Market, the vendors didn’t even bother to set up the stalls. I guess there are German fans here, but they are so bundled up in rain suits that it is hard to pick them out.

My colleagues saw a few more Germans over at Stratford, where the fan fest kicked off on Thursday. But at Trafalgar Square, where luminaries such as Cafu were supposed to be offering “lessons” of one sort or another, the artificial pitch had puddles several feet wide. Most decided they’d rather see that exhibit at the National Gallery after all.

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22
May

Trecker’s Travels, Day Fourteen: All quiet

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Photo: Jamie Trecker / FOX Soccer

By Jamie Trecker

LONDON - The city is quiet, pummeled into depression by a spring that has been anything but spring-like. The markets that line Camden Town and London Bridge, selling summer dresses and tank tops, have been despairing of takers. Most of their time has been spent sitting about, smoking cigarettes and swearing baroquely.

The Germans are coming, or so the papers tell us each morning. The problem is, they aren’t here yet, and when they get here, it’s unclear exactly what they will do. For reasons known only to UEFA, the Champions League fan fest won’t open until Thursday, and it is about as far from Wembley as one can get – it’s across London in Stratford. And news about the tournament? Well, once suspects that since no English team is in it, the less said the better.

In Trafalgar Square, across from the National Gallery, one of the viewing boards was just being put up. But there was little hint of any of this in Wednesday’s papers. The news was of Tony Pulis’ departure, Wayne Rooney’s curious choice for a baby name and the tale of Manchester City’s latest foray abroad. (The Sun, never one to miss a chance to put the boot in, had Frank Lampard doing just that in an “exclusive” interview about Rafa Benitez. Go on, Frank!)

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Photo: Jamie Trecker / FOX Soccer

The fact is, London doesn’t seem very cheery about the prospect of this Champions League final. We heard tales of how 200,000 fans were going to descend on the city – and then little else. Did they not come? One enterprising vendor set up a stall with Germany’s national treat, the currywurst, only to find that at high noon, he was left reading the newspaper with a lot of left-over sausages. He and his cart had vanished by the time I returned this afternoon.

It all feels a bit anticlimactic. And yet, there is a game even further under the radar.

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16
May

Trecker’s Travels, Day Eleven: Where’s the love?

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Photo: FOX Soccer

By: Jamie Trecker

BRUSSELS, BEGIUM

The conductor called the train: “Lille, Calais…and Chelsea FC.” The platform gave off a small roar of approval. Chelsea fans were headed home with another piece of silverware in their tuck. They seemed underwhelmed.

They should not have been. The Europa League final marked a number of firsts for the denizens of the Bridge: they became the first English team to have won all three major European titles (including the now-defunct Cup Winners’ Cup); the first European team to hold both European titles on offer simultaneously, and surely the first team to win back to back titles with, ahem, “interim” managers.

But as warmly as Roberto Di Matteo was regarded by the fans, his replacement, Rafa Benitez, is despised. Last night the ArenA and the arena of social media alike were filled with the moaning that has characterized Chelsea’s season.

Commentators made passing reference to the plastic flags that littered the away ends and a comment Benitez had once made about despising them. Unforgivable! The team started slowly – perhaps a reflection of the fact that they have now played more games in a season than any other English side since the Arsenal of 1970-71. So what! Chelsea’s now secured European play and won a major title under Rafa and erased a dangerous mid-season swoon. He was greeted by bedsheets and cardboard with the same message: “WE WANT MOURINHO.”

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Photo: FOX Soccer

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