A few weeks ago, football fans all over the world got excited by action at the FIFA Confederations Cup as most matches of the tournament were of high quality. Brazil, Spain and the other competing teams delighted their supporters with quick and skilful performances. The event – which took place in several cities across Brazil – was certainly overshadowed by the protests for better healthcare and education and against soaring living costs and corruption. However, the soccer side of things matched all expectations. And so it seems the perfect moment for a new book about the Football World Cup which is set to take place in Brazil next summer.
Renowned sport journalists like Christoph Biermann contributed articles for the latest book project by Bernd-M. Beyer and Dietrich Schulze-Marmeling. “Fußball-Weltmeisterschaft” features spectacular action photographs but also images portraying what happens off the pitch at World Cups – from preparations at a VIP box to fans gathering at pubs. Furthermore, the 420-page publication includes a voluminous statistics section, photos of all winning teams and brilliant texts – portraits of the game’s stars as well as essays about decisive occasions like the “Brazilian trauma” of 1950. That year, the hosting nation lost to Uruguay in the final. Now the team’s fans are hoping for revenge at the upcoming Cup, also because of the convincing performance by Neymar who recently joined FC Barcelona.
French legend Michel Platini, Germany’s hero Gerd Müller and Ernst Happel are portrayed in the book among many other iconic players and managers. Happel – who was born in Vienna – coached the “Elftal”, the Dutch national team in 1978. Back then, the World Cup was organised by Argentina – who won the trophy. Austrian soccer fans will always remember the tournament for their team’s 3-2 win against Germany – an occasion considered by the book’s authors.
Those in charge of “Fußball-Weltmeisterschaft” also write about soccer before and during World War Two. A large black and white photograph shows a whole stand giving the Nazi salute. The journalists’ decision not to ignore this dark chapter – when sport was abused by political propaganda – emphasises their approach: creating a comprehensive and informative book about the most popular sport in the world.
By Bernd-M. Beyer, Dietrich Schulze-Marmeling and many others
Published by Verlag Die Werkstatt (www.werkstatt-verlag.de)