The Five Billion Person Party

Notes of a wandering American soccer fan

Archive for the ‘Uruguay’ Category

Where the World Cup Began (Centanario/Penarol)

Posted by steigs on August 22, 2008

Wandering chef Anthony Bourdain recently visited Uruguay on his “No Reservations” show.  I was amused to see that Montevideo appeared to charm the jaded New Yorker as much as it did me.  (Love the cafes in the old port market!)  Which reminded me that I hadn’t posted about the other soccer-related trip I made while down there, an outing to see Penarol, the other giant of Uruguayan (and South American) futbol — as well as the storied Centenario stadium, host to the 1930 World Cup final. 

The section of the stands directly behind the goal is the only really crowded one, busy with drummers and standing teenagers, the type who sing throughout the game.  They stretch black and gold banners from the bottom of the stands all the way to the electronic scoreboard at the top.  I settle in close by, on a hard plastic seat.  There are no assigned seats — you just buy a ticket for the section in general.  Going to a soccer game in Latin America is generally a walk-up affair, not something to buy a ticket for weeks in advance.  It is more like going to the movies than a play or concert.  This is one of the cultural issues MLS struggles with as it tries to persuade the Latino part of its fan base to buy season tickets, not merely show up on the day of the game when the mood hits them.


For more, read on after the jump!

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Nacional Hero

Posted by steigs on March 11, 2008

One of the more ridiculous recent incidents in world soccer was the sending-off of Flamingo’s Toro in the Copa Libertadores for…pushing a dawdling ball boy to the ground in a game against Nacional of Uruguay.  Needless to say, the kid, one Nicolas Dominguez, aged thirteen, is now quite the hero in Uruguay for his services to the home team.

Uruguay used to be a power in soccer, winner of more World Cups than England, Holland, Spain and Portugal combined.  (Granted, the most recent came in 1950 but…)  Nacional is one of their two traditional powerhouse clubs, one that can be found playing on GolTV in Uruguyan league games now and then, and often in the Copa Libertadores.  I found myself in Montevideo, a charmingly sleepy capital, back in ’04 and saw Nacional take on Liverpool.  No, not that Liverpool…  To learn more about mate, steak and my hideout, should I ever need one, read on after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

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