Why The Brazilian Soccer Team Wouldn't Wear White - Until Now

Juan Alberto Schiaffino of Uruguay score in the 66th minute of the infamous 'Maracanazo' match
Juan Alberto Schiaffino of Uruguay score in the 66th minute of the infamous "Maracanazo" match

"In Japan, white is the color of mourning." So wrote Samuel French in his play All the Way Home. Or at least that's the line as I remember it from my high-school theater days.

White is also the color that the Brazilian national soccer team was wearing in the infamous "Maracanazo" match, a decisive showdown against Uruguay in the 1950 World Cup.

Playing in Rio de Janeiro's Estádio do Maracanã, the home team had the crowd in its corner and a one-point advantage in the round-robin phase then used to determine the Cup champion. Brazil didn't even need to beat Uruguay that day — July 16 — to hoist the trophy. All they needed was to avoid defeat.

The match was scoreless at the halfway mark, but shortly after play resumed, Brazil's Friaça snuck one past the Uruguayan goalkeeper to put the locals up 1-0. Uruguay equalized nearly 20 minutes later. But with the clock ticking down, Brazil still had the advantage.

Then, the unfathomable occurred: a 79th-minute goal by Uruguay's Alcides Ghiggia, who was the last surviving player of the Maracanazo when he died exactly 65 years later, on July 16, 2015. "La Celeste," as the Uruguayan team is known, went on to win the match and the World Cup — for the second time.

Brazil would, of course, enjoy its own success in subsequent World Cups, but the stinging loss to Uruguay in 1950 is still a bitter memory for the soccer-mad, Portuguese-speaking nation. The result was so agonizing, in fact, that the team stopped wearing white jerseys altogether, opting instead for the now familiar green and gold. White had become the color of defeat.

Nearly 70 years later, however, Brazil is ready to tempt fate, it appears. In June, Brazil will host South America's most important international tournament, the Copa America. And when they take the field, the Brazilian players will once again be wearing white, rising star and Real Madrid striker Vinicius Jr. revealed recently.

Why the sudden change of heart? For good luck of course (and perhaps to earn millions in apparel sales). It turns out that the new white jerseys are in homage to the team's 1919 uniforms. Brazil hosted the Copa America that year too — and won — beating none other than? You guessed it: Uruguay.

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In Argentina, A Visit To World's Highest Solar Energy Park

With loans and solar panels from China, the massive solar park has been opened a year and is already powering the surrounding areas. Now the Chinese supplier is pushing for an expansion.

960,000 solar panels have been installed at the Cauchari park

Silvia Naishtat

CAUCHARI — Driving across the border with Chile into the northwest Argentine department of Susques, you may spot what looks like a black mass in the distance. Arriving at a 4,000-meter altitude in the municipality of Cauchari, what comes into view instead is an assembly of 960,000 solar panels. It is the world's highest photovoltaic (PV) park, which is also the second biggest solar energy facility in Latin America, after Mexico's Aguascalientes plant.

Spread over 800 hectares in an arid landscape, the Cauchari park has been operating for a year, and has so far turned sunshine into 315 megawatts of electricity, enough to power the local provincial capital of Jujuy through the national grid.

It has also generated some $50 million for the province, which Governor Gerardo Morales has allocated to building 239 schools.

Abundant sunshine, low temperatures

The physicist Martín Albornoz says Cauchari, which means "link to the sun," is exposed to the best solar radiation anywhere. The area has 260 days of sunshine, with no smog and relatively low temperatures, which helps keep the panels in optimal conditions.

Its construction began with a loan of more than $331 million from China's Eximbank, which allowed the purchase of panels made in Shanghai. They arrived in Buenos Aires in 2,500 containers and were later trucked a considerable distance to the site in Cauchari . This was a titanic project that required 1,200 builders and 10-ton cranes, but will save some 780,000 tons of CO2 emissions a year.

It is now run by 60 technicians. Its panels, with a 25-year guarantee, follow the sun's path and are cleaned twice a year. The plant is expected to have a service life of 40 years. Its choice of location was based on power lines traced in the 1990s to export power to Chile, now fed by the park.

Chinese engineers working in an office at the Cauchari park


Chinese want to expand

The plant belongs to the public-sector firm Jemse (Jujuy Energía y Minería), created in 2011 by the province's then governor Eduardo Fellner. Jemse's president, Felipe Albornoz, says that once Chinese credits are repaid in 20 years, Cauchari will earn the province $600 million.

The Argentine Energy ministry must now decide on the park's proposed expansion. The Chinese would pay in $200 million, which will help install 400,000 additional panels and generate enough power for the entire province of Jujuy.

The park's CEO, Guillermo Hoerth, observes that state policies are key to turning Jujuy into a green province. "We must change the production model. The world is rapidly cutting fossil fuel emissions. This is a great opportunity," Hoerth says.

The province's energy chief, Mario Pizarro, says in turn that Susques and three other provincial districts are already self-sufficient with clean energy, and three other districts would soon follow.

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