Taking the very long view of South American soccer, Campomar, a Uruguayan living in England, begins with the brutal ball games of the Aztecs, then disputes the commonly held notion that the British game first took hold on the docks (its origins were more clubby than that). He details the twentieth century, decade by decade, with its periods of Uruguayan, Argentine, and Brazilian dominance, and an uneasy playing relationship with Europe. The real strength of this comprehensive and well-sourced document is its engaging writing style, which impels the reader through the sometimes dense array of names, places, and dramatic games. Soccer is central but merely one part: Golazo! is packed with fascinating detail about the game’s interplay with national identity, politics, race, and culture. The author doesn’t neglect the four previous South American World Cups—and why would he? His country won the very first one, in 1930. --Keir Graff
Praise for Golazo!
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"[A] sweeping exploration of soccer intersecting with politics, history, economics and culture in forging a continent’s passion." -- Steven Goff, The Washington Post
"The most comprehensive history of soccer in the part of the world in which it may well mean the most... A thorough, engaging history of the development of futbol and its place in Latin American society... Campomar effectively brings out the color and passion for the game, its evocative langauge, its artistic power and its sometimes-martial ugliness... He accomplishes his task with verve... Fine, scintillating history." -- Kirkus
"Perfection, pride, politics and punch-ups. The South American way of football has never been more readable." -- John Crace, ESPN and The Guardian