In this week’s roundup of the football news from around the world, we focus on Brazil – an amazing goalkeeper, a terrible haircut and claims of racism in a friendly match between the South American side and Scotland. You can listen to these and other stories on our weekly podcast and can find explanations of key vocabulary in bold below.
Scoring a 100 goals in your professional career must be a great feeling for any player. It’s a milestone that few will ever reach, and it’s one that you would never believe a goalkeeper would get close to. However, in Brazil, the São Paulo keeper, Rogério Ceni did just that, striking a beautiful, curling free kick into the top corner of the opposition’s net to send his team’s fans into delirium as it secured a 2-1 win for the Tricolor Paulista over derby rivals Corinthians. All of his goals have come from dead ball situations, but that doesn’t take anything away from his spectacular achievement.
Staying with Brazilian football, but not quite the same achievement, a big languagecaster thumbs down goes to Naymar’s haircut. The Brazilian teenage sensation, who scored both goals in his team’s comfortable 2-0 win over Scotland in an international friendly, sported a 10 cm-high fat Mohawk haircut. Awful! But to be fair, at least he did the business on the pitch despite the hilarious haircut. Neymar follows in a long line of footballer’s with bad hair cuts (click here for a selection), one of my favourites would have to be another Brazilian, Ronaldo, and his 2002 World Cup cut. Again, awful!
During the Brazil v Scotland match, it wasn’t just Neymar’s haircut that was a talking point. The Brazilian striker also accused the Scottish fans of racist abuse. A banana found on the pitch seemed to back up those claims, although it was thrown from an area of the stands mostly populated by Brazilian fans. It also seemed strange as the Tartan Army has a reputation for good behaviour. The Brazilian commenting on the boos and jeers said, ‘This atmosphere of racism is totally sad’ and his teammate, Lucas Leiva went on to say, ‘They say it’s the first world here in Europe but it’s where it happens the most’. It turned out, however, that a German teenager was responsible for throwing the banana and the jeers and boos by the Scottish fans were because they thought Neymar had been play acting. One thing ‘Bananagate‘ can teach us that throwing bananas and racist chants are ugly, but we should also be careful not too jump to the wrong conclusions.
milestone: a record, an achievement, a significant event
send (someone) into delirium: make very happy, please very much, send into ecstasy
dead ball situation: a free kick or penalty (when the ball is not moving)
thumbs down: give a negative verdict, say you don’t like something
do the business: be successful, do your job well
the Tartan Army: the name given to Scotland’s supporters
boos and jeers: insults and shouting from the crowd, signs of displeasure
play acting: feigning injury, pretending to be hurt
Bananagate: expressions ending in ~gate reference the famous ‘Watergate‘ political scandal of the Nixon era in the USA. It implies a controversy.