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Sunday Soccer: Brazilians Revel in ‘Naked’ Tradition

Sunday soccer is a decades-old tradition when Brazilians of all walks of life play "peladas" or “naked” matches on the beaches, in the slums, and on the streets.

Boys play a Sunday "pelada" soccer match on a street closed to traffic for the day in Sao Paulo, a 2014 World Cup host city.

Sunday soccer is a decades-old tradition when Brazilians of all walks of life play "peladas" on the beaches, in the slums, and on the streets.

Pelada, meaning naked, can refer to a street match where everyone plays barefoot, or on a grassless field, or with a ball so worn that it’s "naked".

Paulo Whitaker / X00921

Players battle for the ball in the Borel favela of Rio de Janeiro.

With the World Cup a one month away, people of all walks of life in the host cities are spending their Sundays practicing the sport for which their country is about to become the global stage. The tournament will take place in Brasilia, Belo Horizonte, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Natal, Fortaleza, Salvador, Porto Alegre, Curitiba, Cuiaba, Manaus, and Recife.

Ricardo Moraes / X02675

A player takes a corner kick in the Morro do Papagaio favela in Belo Horizonte.

Washington Alves / X01820

Players battle for the ball on the beach of Salvador.

Stringer/brazil / X01489

A view of a Sunday "pelada" soccer match on Botafogo beach in Rio de Janeiro.

Ricardo Moraes / X02675

Players battle for the ball on the beach of Salvador.

Stringer/brazil / X01489

Boys play a Sunday "pelada" soccer match in the center of Manaus.

Stringer/brazil / X01489

Children play in front of the Mane Garrincha Stadium in Brasilia.

Ueslei Marcelino / X02828

A player scores a goal on the beach in the Brasilia Teimosa district of Recife.

All photos taken on May 4.

Stringer/brazil / X01489