11
Sep

Rio de Janeiro favela features world’s first pitch powered by players

We’re all used to Pelé doing the remarkable, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Brazilian soccer legend has partnered with Shell to unveil something truly mind-blowing: A pitch that’s powered by players.

That’s right. Nestled in a favela in Rio de Janeiro, there’s now a pitch with floodlights that are powered by the kinetic energy of the players on the pitch. Per Shell:

Special tiles under the pitch surface to capture the energy generated by football players’ movement. This energy is then stored and combined with the power generated by solar panels next to the pitch to convert into renewable electricity for the pitch’s new floodlights.

How awesome is that? Take a look at the before and after shots of the once rundown pitch in the Morro da Mineira favela.

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imageWe’re not sure if there’s a timer on those lights … but something tells us they likely won’t be going out anytime soon.

(h/t Metro, images via Shell)

8
Jul

World Cup Diary: Tournament has been glorious but problems persist

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BELO HORIZONTE —

Good football, or a least a tournament with good narratives, will cover a multitude of sins. Barring something calamitous in the final week, the chaos that many had feared would characterize the World Cup has not come to pass and nor have the demonstrations against government corruption that dominated last year’s Confederations Cup.

Only Belo Horizonte, where Brazil will meet Germany in Tuesday’s semifinal, has really suffered, an overpass constructed as part of improvements in infrastructure for the World Cup collapsing onto a bus, killing two people and injuring several others. At the weekend, there were demonstrations at the offices of Construtora Cowan, the firm that built the overpass on Avenida Pedro 1, while others have visited the site of the collapse bearing placards that read, “This is the reality of the World Cup,” and “World Cup disaster: Put it on FIFA’s bill.”

Wrangles over that are ongoing. The area around the collapsed overpass has been shut off pending an investigation, with some alleging that short cuts were taken to get the structure in place in time for the World Cup. Local authorities have urged the judiciary to re-open the road in time for the semifinal to ease traffic pressure. “The work won’t be carried it in haste because of the World Cup,” said Colonel Alexandre Lucas Alves of the Civil Defense. “It can only be done when we can be sure there will be no more casualties.”

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Elsewhere, the main issues have been with the police’s habit of acting first and asking questions later. Early in the tournament, partygoers in the Rio de Janeiro district of Lapa were subjected to a baton charge and the indiscriminate use of pepper spray after spilling from bars into a pavement. Eyewitnesses said the mood was jovial and police waded in without warning.

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18
Jun

Chile fans troll Spain on Wikipedia after historic World Cup victory

Chile’s 2-0 defeat of Spain is one for the history books, literally.

Not only did Chile give a powerful performance against the defending World Cup champions at the Maracana on Wednesday,  but they also doomed the 2010 World Cup winners to an early exit from Brazil.

Chile fans didn’t waste any time on Wikipedia, though. Just take a look.

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By the final whistle, the entry had been changed back to its original content.

Question now is: Who will be the next Wikipedia victim?

(h/t SportsNation for the spot).

18
Jun

Chile fans storm barrier at Maracana, break in to stadium

About 100 Chile fans busted through a security checkpoint at the Maracana stadium less than an hour before the Spain-Chile game Wednesday, damaging the media room as they desperately ran around in an apparent attempt to get into the game.

The red-shirted Chileans, mostly young men, sprinted through the huge FIFA media center underneath the stands and ran toward a corridor they apparently thought would lead to the grandstands.

But once inside that corridor, they realized it didn’t lead to the stands. They broke down a temporary wall, sending metal lockers crashing to the ground, according to AP journalists.

"I was the lone guy standing out there (near entry to press center)," security guard Diego Goncalves said. "All of a sudden they knocked down the fence and just pushed their way through."

One guard grabbed a Chilean by the neck and dragged him away.

Security guards eventually surrounded the group, made them sit on the ground and led them away in a line with each Chilean holding onto the shoulders of another in front of him.

Take a look at some of the scenes:

29
Jun

Trecker’s Brazilian Travels, Day 10: Neymar’s Brazil

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Photo: Jamie Trecker/FOX Soccer

By: Jamie Trecker

LEBLON BEACH, RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL

I first heard the screams from the beach. A gaggle of children were standing and pointing at the upper floors of the Sheraton. The second time I heard them, they were screaming and pointing in my general direction. The thing is: I was twenty-two floors up, on my hotel balcony.

I turned and looked to my left and saw a waving hand and an unmistakable hairdo.

“Neymar! Neymar!”

As you will have gathered, I am staying approximately three doors down from Brazil’s hottest property.  In one of those bizarre accidents that happens when you stumble into a tournament late, I have managed to be booked in the team hotel for Brazil. Journalists are normally kept far, far apart from teams, but evidently, Americans are considered harmless. Last night, Luiz Felipe Scolari was eating dinner across from me while Thiago Silva played with his very adorable young son. No one seemed to care that a tattooed guy wearing a FOX Soccer polo was sleepily trying to figure out how get a piece of fish off the bones.

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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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