WORLD CUP OF SOCCER GROUP G: THROUGH A COLD WAR LENS
Group G teams include Brazil, North Korea, Ivory Coast, and Portugal. Stats and team info are courtesy of ESPN.
Nickname: CANARINHO (Little Canary)
Record: W 64/ D 14/ L 14
Best Performance: Winners in ’58, ’62, ’70, ’94, ’02
Group Stage Schedule:
June 15 vs. North Korea – Win
June 20 vs. Ivory Coast – Win
June 25 vs. Portugal – 9:30 AM ET
In Brazil, winning is not enough. One must win beautifully, and THE CANARINHO won the World Cup five times since 1958. After each title, a star is added to the team’s crest. This year, Brazil is in the Group of Death, but with Kaka controlling the pitch another star could be added to the legacy forever.
Brazil played an intriguing role in the politics and diplomacy of the Cuban missile crisis and in US – Cuban relations during the Kennedy administration.
In the years after Fidel Castro took power, successive Brazilian governments tried secretly to mediate between Washington and Havana.
This effort climaxed during the Cuban Missile Crisis when President John F. Kennedy asked Brazil to transmit a secret message to Castro. Brazil was already promoting a Latin American denuclearization scheme at the United Nations as a possible means of resolving the crisis. Kennedy’s request gave her an opening to broker a formula for US – Cuban reconciliation that would heighten the prestige of her own “independent” policy in the Cold War. Ultimately, these attempts failed.
In April 1964, a coup in Brazil resulted in a military regime.
The new regime was intended to be transitory but it gradually became a full dictatorship. Repression against opponents, including urban guerrillas, was harsh, but not as brutal as in other Latin American countries. Due to extraordinary economic growth, known as an “economic miracle,” the regime reached its highest level of popularity in the years of repression.
By the 1970s the US and Brazil found themselves at odds on almost every international issue. This was difficult to understand because Brazil had been the “historic” ally of the US in Latin America.
Civilians fully returned to power in 1985.
Nickname: CHOLLIMA (The Winged Horses)
Record: W 1/ D 1/ L 2
Best Performance: Quarterfinals in ’66
Group Stage Schedule:
June 15 vs. Brazil – Loss
June 21 vs. Portugal – Loss
June 25 vs. Ivory Coast – 9:30 AM ET
North Korea’s only previous World Cup appearance remains a classic. Their 1966 upset over Italy helped the CHOLLIMA advance to the quarterfinals, forever leaving their mark. With star midfield #10 Hong Yong-Jo contolling the flow of play in 2010, North Korea will be looking to recapture the magic of ’66 in South Africa.
Tomorrow — June 25, 2010 — marks the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War. The Cold War on the Korean peninsula was discussed in the context of South Korea, competing in Group B. For that discussion click here.
Sixty years ago, North Korean troops crossed the 38th parallel into South Korea, provoking a 3 year conflict that culminated in an armistice in 1953.
Still, the Korean War has never really ended. There has been talk of replacing the current armistice with a permanent peace agreement, but little progress has been made.
The military tension between the two Koreas remains high, especially in light of allegations that North Korea sank the South Korean Navy ship, Cheonan, on March 26 of this year, killing 46 of 104 sailors aboard. A Seoul-led multinational team concluded in May, 2010, that the ship was torpedoed by a North Korean submarine, a clear violation of the armistice.
Moreover, it is also alleged that the North Korean government continues to develop nuclear weapons programs, also in defiance of the armistice.
Chances that both Koreas will engage in talks are becoming slim. North Korea is reluctant to discuss a peace treaty with South Korea, citing that country’s non-signature on the armistice. At the same time, South Korea is stalling because Pyongyang is refusing to live up to a denuclearization pledge that would result in diplomatic and economic incentives.
Meanwhile, in the absence of a peaceful reunification of the two countries, ceremonies and events are taking place to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of the war. More than 21 nations participated in the war under the UN flag.
Nickname: LES ELEPHANTS (The Elephants)
Record: W 1/ D 0/ L 2
Best Performance: Group Stage in ’06
Group Stage Schedule:
June 15 vs. Portugal – Draw
June 20 vs. Brazil – 7 Loss
June 25 vs. North Korea – 9:30 AM ET
Ivory Coast’s second consecutive World Cup appearance will be a challenging one as LES ELEPHANTS are in the Group of Death once again. But that won’t stop the Toure brothers and Didier Drogba, arguably the best striker in the world, from carrying the confidence and experience from ’06 into South Africa.
From 1904 to 1958, Cote d’Ivoire was a constituent unit of the Federation of French West Africa. Until the period following World War II, governmental affairs in French West Africa were administered from Paris. All Africans in Cote d’Ivoire were officially French “subjects” without rights to citizenship or representation in Africa or in France.
In 1943, General Charles de Gaulle’s provisional government assumed control of all French West Africa. Far-reaching governmental reforms in 1946 included French citizenship for all African “subjects.” The right to organize politically was recognized, and various forms of forced labor were abolished.
Interestingly, the first use of the Cold War Hot Line occurred shortly after the USS Liberty left port in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
Following the Cuban Missile Crisis in October, 1962, when the world was on the brink of nuclear war, the United States and the Soviet Union decided to establish a communications link between Moscow and Washington to provide prompt, direct communication between the two superpowers, reducing the chance of a war starting as a result of misinformation or delayed communication.
The Hot Line was first used for its original, intended purpose when war broke out in the Middle East in 1967.
The USS Liberty had been making a port call in the Ivory Coast as part of an overt intelligence gathering mission. At the request of the US National Security Agency, the ship set sail to pick up Arabic and Russian linguists and proceed to a point off Port Said, Egypt.
The mission of the Liberty was overcome by events. On the evening of June 7, US officials realized that the Liberty was sailing into a hot combat zone. Through a breakdown in the US Military Worldwide Communications System, messages to stand off and not approach the coast were not received by the Liberty.
The Hot Line carried a total of 20 messages back and forth between the US and the Soviet Union. Three of the Hot Line messages specifically relate to the USS Liberty. Unfortunately, however, the ship was torpedoed; 10 men were lost, 16 critically wounded, and 65 wounded.
Nickname: A SELECCRO DAS QUINAS (The Team of the Shields)
Record: W 11/ D 1/ L 7
Best Performance: Third Place in ’66
Group Stage Schedule:
June 15 vs. Ivory Coast – Draw
June 21 vs. North Korea – Win
June 25 vs. Brazil – 9:30 AM ET
Portugal didn’t lose a match in 2009, behind Manager Carlos Queiroz and the mesmerizing talents of Cristiano Ronaldo. With Ronaldo confusing defenders out wide, and Caravalho and Ferreira in support A SELECCRO DAS QUINAS will try to step over Brazil in the Group of Death and eclipse its best-ever-third-place finish.
Portugal was one of only five European countries to remain neutral in World War II.
From the 1940s to the 1960s, Portugal was a founding member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).
In April 1974 a bloodless left-wing military coup in Lisbon, known as the Carnation Revolution, led the way for a modern democracy as well as for the independence of Portugal’s last colonies in Africa.
A two year transitional period known as PREC (Processo Revolucionário Em Curso), or On-Going Revolutionary Process), was characterized by social turmoil and power disputes between left- and right-wing political forces.
These events prompted a mass exodus of Portuguese citizens from Portugal’s African territories (mostly from Portuguese Angola and Mozambique), creating over a million destitute Portuguese refugees — the retornados.
The fall of the Portuguese Empire in Africa led to an unprecedented expansion of Soviet influence there. Revolutionary governments in Angola and Mozambique were armed and supported by the Soviet Union, and black Africa was assured that Moscow was ready to join the liberation struggle against the apartheid regime of South Africa.
In the Horn of Africa, the Soviets established what Dr. Henry Kissinger called ‘a new strategic bridgehead’ at the gateway to the Suez Canal.