Even Disney would have rejected the Uruguay-England story as too hackneyed. The Premier League’s best player, much maligned everywhere but at home, miraculously recovers from injury and scores two gorgeous goals to down a squad containing five of his teammates. He then cries tears of joy before a Sao Paulo stadium full of his gleeful countrymen in the closest World Cup match played to their native land since their upset victory over Brazil in the 1950 Maracana final.
Let’s take a look at how the English and Uruguayan press covered this gripping game.
Newspapers, especially tabloids, still have the power to inspire awe with a beautifully designed page. Uruguay’s El Pais wins the front page of the day with this stunning full-page Luis Suarez close-up accompanied by a veritable poem – “Volvio, y Mato.” Romance Languages are more operatic and so it loses something in the translation, but “He Returned, and He Killed” still succinctly sums up the match.
La Republica trolls every bulldog-owning, Churchill-quoting, banger-scarfing English royalist with its “God Save the King” headline accompanied by Suarez adorned with the royal crown.
If there were a movie of the match then La Diara’s front page would be the best poster. Such is the heady mix of intimidation, glory, and hope in this black-and-white photo accompanied by simply the word “Monster.” What is meant by that? Like all great works of art it’s for us to decide. Struggling American newspapers could learn immensely from La Diaria. From its modern masthead to its bold layout it trumps the stodgy design of every paper here.
In England the Guardian is known for having an intellectual and thoughtful bent. Its eccentric and entertaining over-by-over cricket coverage and minute-by-minute soccer reports are pioneers in the genre. Its been home to titanic talents such as Arthur Hopcraft (“The Football Man”), Jonathan Wilson (“Inverting the Pyramid”), Frank Keating (“Another Bloody Day in Paradise!”), and Andy Bull (the best OBO writer). So it’s a letdown to see their headline lamely play on Suarez’ biting incident. Unless “All Bite on the Night” is a reference to the British blooper show “It’ll be Alright on the Night,” in which case it’s a perfect summation of England’s defending.
The Times forgoes a headline in favor of a picture of two St. George’s Cross-painted fans conveying, well, what exactly? It’s well and good to lead with a picture, but it needs to be extraordinary to stand out in an age when we are flooded with images.