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|| News Item: Posted 2000-03-23

Soccer Adventures
By Ivo Gonzalez, O Globo

Photo by Ivo Gonzalez

Photo by Ivo Gonzalez
Paris, Sunday afternoon, Stade de France, World Cup Soccer Championship final match Brazil vs. France. Hundreds of photographers packed in a small room waiting for permission to enter the field. The heat was terrible and they could barely breath (it happened two hours before the game). First, the agency photographers, then the Brazilian and French were allowed to get to their positions. The stadium was fully packed with thousands of people. The tickets were sold months ahead. Among many anonymous cheers there were many famous spectators like the movie star Sean Connery.

I was there and I can tell you that it was a great game. No matter the final score was. Brazil lost.

There I was with my digital camera, a Kodak/Canon DCS520 and a 400 mm f/2.8 lens trying to get the best pictures and, more important, make them arrive at my country as fast as possible. This was when the problem began. I had a digital camera but I didn't have a computer to wire the pictures from the field.

The solution was to wait for the end of the first half of the match to go to the pressroom and begin transmitting from there. Of course my pictures arrived much later than the ones from the agencies that were transmitting from the field. The result was the publication of many pictures from the agencies and few ones from my colleagues and myself. Fortunately I had good pictures and my newspaper editors decided to wait so I could publish a good quantity of pictures too.

Brazilian press gives great space to soccer. Here in Brazil we have a poor basketball league and sports like volleyball, tennis and swimming, just to name a few among many, are not well represented. There are fans of all of these sports but they are not as much appreciated as soccer.

Photo by Ivo Gonzalez

Photo by Ivo Gonzalez
Here in Brazil people also enjoy F1 races but, since there is only one race per year in our country, the attentions go through soccer all over the 365 days. I have never shot football or baseball and I know that soccer is not a very popular sport in the Unite States. (I wonder why they hosted a world cup back in 1994.

By the way, in my humble opinion, it was the best World Cup in the last 30 years). I can tell you that shooting soccer is a great experience. Especially the games here in Rio de Janeiro at Maracan, the biggest stadium in the world. Thousands of cheering fans crowd the benches and make the games look like a show. Television channels broadcast the main games to the whole country and they pay a lot of money for the rights of transmission.

Fans really care about their teams and have a true passion for the players. Many of the players are traded for quantities up to $20 million. Soccer is definitely the most important and popular sport in Brazil. That's why it's not very difficult to understand why a Brazilian sports photographer works more with soccer than with other sport.

Speaking of soccer pictures for me the best pictures are the ones of action. Players fighting for the ball and trying to score a goal. And for Brazilian newspapers the pictures that really matter are the ones of goals. They give more importance to the goal then anything else. If you don't have the
Photo by Ivo Gonzalez

Photo by Ivo Gonzalez
picture of the goal you have to make up a good excuse for your editor. That's why I always carry two cameras. One with a 400mm or 600mm (depending on the lighting conditions) and another with an 80-200mm for the goal shots. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Maracan Stadium, Friday in the evening.

Two of the main Brazilian teams, Vasco da Gama and Corinthians are deciding the Fifa Club International Championship. The stadium is jammed and photographers with anticipation of making good pictures. At this time, at least, I didn't have to worry about transmission. There were messengers to take care of my film and deliver it to my newspaper (that is located only a few miles from the stadium). That made things easier. I hope I have don't have to worry about wiring pictures again until my next big assignment: the Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. And last but not least, I also hope I go there fully digital and with a computer equipped with software that enables transmissions wherever and whenever necessary.

(Ivo Gonzalez is a staff photographer for O Globo Newspaper in Rio de Janeiro. His website is:

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