It’s game over for Nintendo in Brazil.
The Japanese videogame maker on Friday said it is ending direct sales of its games and consoles in Latin America’s biggest economy due to what it called a business environment that made its operations “unsustainable” there.
High import taxes have meant that games like the company’s popular “Super Smash Bros.” cost nearly 20% more than in the U.S. Other Latin American countries, which have a separate distributor, will not be affected.
Just very briefly: Yes, we were at the game here in Singapore last night to see Neymar single handedly demolish Japan and overtake Bebeto to become the Selecao’s fifth leading scorer of all time — at the age of just 22:
Neymar scored all four goals as Brazil eased to a 4-0 friendly win over Japan in Singapore.
The 22-year-old has now taken his tally to 40 in 58 internationals.
He rounded Japan goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima and slotted in for the first, before adding a second from a pass by Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho.
The Barcelona forward, who helped Brazil to victory against Argentina on Saturday, swept in to make it 3-0 and headed the fourth from Kaka’s cross.
Neymar also went close with a free-kick that hit the post, while Kaka’s header was pushed on to the bar by Kawashima.
The pitch was poor.
Japan were in disarray.
The rest of the Brazil side were less than scintilating.
But Neymar. His quickness, his control, his creativity, his pinpoint finishing.
Yes, he’s that good.
Here’s a video I shot of his third goal, though it’s not great footage:
Neymar bags his third, a real poacher's goal, against Japan here in Singapore tonight. Brazil 4-0 Japan.
And here’s a video of all his goals:
Brazil beat world and European champions Spain 3-0 to win the Confederations Cup last night.
But really, the game was decided before the teams even kicked off.
It was hard to imagine Brazil losing, at home in Rio de Janeiro’s Maracanã stadium, after seeing this (video embedded below and online here):
That, my friends, is not a team that is willing to lose on its home turf.
It wasn’t the prettiest game, to be sure, but the Seleção won through sheer determination. And, as the video demonstrates, incredible passion.
Here’s a great story from Alexi Barrionuevo in the NY Times. It’s about a town in the Brazilian Amazon, close to Peru and Colombia, where motorbikes are the primary means of transport — a rarity in South America. Check out the link to find out why wearing helmets in the area is discouraged. That Roar in the Jungle Is 15,000 Motorbikes
This sweltering Amazon outpost is a border town on the move — on two motorized wheels, that is.
During the afternoon rush hour, Tabatinga’s main avenue is a sea of scooters and motorcycles. Whole families pile onto a single scooter, even families of five: husband, wife and three children. Mothers breastfeed infants while fathers navigate a road nearly uncluttered by traffic signals.
With more than 15,000 motorbikes and only 47,000 people, Tabatinga resembles a small version of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, another chaotic place where cars take a distant back seat as the preferred mode of transportation.
“I have never seen a place with so many motorbikes,” said Sabrina D’Assumpção, a resident of Rio de Janeiro who was visiting her husband, a military officer, at the army base here recently. “It is practically a city run entirely by motorbikes.”
Tabatinga owes much of its moto-obsession to its location along Brazil’s extreme western frontier. Nestled alongside Colombia and just across a narrow river from Peru, the town has evolved in the last quarter-century from a military town into a hub of cross-border commerce.
Speaking of football (soccer), here’s a New York Times interactive feature called “An Argentine Advance.” It’s about Argentina’s pint-sized playmaker Lionel Messi (Wikipedia page, highlights on YouTube) and his team’s dominant performance at the Olympics yesterday. The masterful Argentines beat rivals Brazil 3-0 (match report here) to book their place in Saturday’s final against Nigeria. Messi, who plays his club football at FC Barcelona, figured in all three goals.