In Pictures: Football Around the World

As the World Cup 2018 kicks off, we take a look at the diverse terrain where football matches have taken place, such as prison yards, war zones, deserts, city streets and mountain sides

Magnum Photographers

Harry Gruyaert Newly built suburb, composed of council flats buildings. Town of Izmir, District of Cigili, Turkey. 1998. © Harry Gruyaert | Magnum Photos
Ferdinando Scianna Sevilla, Andalusia, Spain. 1984. © Ferdinando Scianna | Magnum Photos
Alex Webb Young men playing soccer in The Old City. Panama City. 1999. © Alex Webb | Magnum Photos
Henri Cartier-Bresson Madrid, Spain. 1933. © Henri Cartier-Bresson | Magnum Photos
Marilyn Silverstone View of the Blooming Plant at dusk across the Maroda Tank Reservoir. In foreground: a football game. 1959. © Marilyn Silverstone | Magnum Photos
Abbas Kids play football in the suburbs of the capital, next to electricity pylons. Tehran, Iran. 1998. © Abbas | Magnum Photos
Thomas Hoepker Children playing at the Berlin Wall in Berlin-Wedding. Germany. 1963. © Thomas Hoepker | Magnum Photos
Abbas Football is omni present in and around the city. Here street invaded by spontaneous games. Tehran, Iran. 1998. © Abbas | Magnum Photos
David Hurn Children play football in spare land in front of East Moors steel works at the time that the steel works were closed. Perhaps their fathers are now out of work. Cardiff, Wales, UK. 1978. © David Hurn | Magnum Photos
René Burri Two rival football teams distinguish the different teams by dressing in male/female costumes. 1976. © René Burri | Magnum Photos
Jean Gaumy Prison. St Martin de Ré, France. 1978. © Jean Gaumy | Magnum Photos
Philip Jones Griffiths Grenadians for generations had welcomed the only foreigners they encountered - tourists - so U.S. forces had the rare experience of being surrounded by polite and friendly locals. For many American (...)
Ferdinando Scianna Soccer in the dust. Shibam, Hadramouth, Yemen. 1999. © Ferdinando Scianna | Magnum Photos
Ferdinando Scianna Young people. Lima, Peru. 1986. © Ferdinando Scianna | Magnum Photos
Chris Steele-Perkins Any spare patch of ground is used as a pitch for local street games. Lagos, Nigeria. 1997. © Chris Steele-Perkins | Magnum Photos
Newsha Tavakolian Katayoun “Katiana” Khosrowyar, is the succesful head coach of Iran's national Under 14 team. Now, off season, she practices in a North Tehran park, keeping her skills up to speed. Tehran, Iran. 201 (...)
Thomas Hoepker Football field on outskirts of Chuquicamata mining town in Atacama desert. Chile. 2000. © Thomas Hoepker | Magnum Photos
Mark Power Abandoned football ground. Northwood Estate, Kirkby, Merseyside, England. May 1992. © Mark Power | Magnum Photos
Bruce Gilden Bruce's Gilden's daughter Nina playing soccer on Nostrand Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. New York City, USA. 2002. © Bruce Gilden | Magnum Photos
David Hurn Football match in the ramparts. Aberystwyth Castle, Wales. 2000. © David Hurn | Magnum Photos
Moises Saman Boys play football on the field on the outskirts of Qayyarah, Iraq. Qayyarah, Iraq. December 5, 2017. © Moises Saman | Magnum Photos

On Thursday June 14, 2018, Russia and Saudi Arabia will play in the first match of the Russia 2018 World Cup, soon followed by Egypt v Uruguay, Morocco v Iran and Portugal v Spain the next day. As the attention of football fans from all corners of the globe turns to Russia, we take a look at how football has been, and continues to be, played around the world on well-worn suburban patches of grass, punctuated by goal posts, to the kick-abouts played in urban back yards, to matches held amongst ancient ruins or towering mountain vistas.

Marilyn Silverstone’s 1959 photograph of the Bhilai Russian Steel Plant in India depicts the the complex the Russian workers would both live and spend their leisure time in. A game of football takes places beneath clouds of smoke from the adjacent Blooming plant; Abbas captures a traffic-stopping impromptu outbreak of simultaneous football matches in Tehran; Thomas Hoepker photographs children playing with a football next to a barbed-wire-lined Berlin Wall in 1963; Jean Gaumy stands goalside for a prison football match; Bruce Gilden photographs his daughter’s ball control as she weaves through pavement traffic on New York City’s streets; Philip Jones Griffiths captures a lone figure dribbling a ball as he’s trailed by an armored tank in Greneda; and Elliott Erwitt finds a goal manned by a monk, amongst our edit of surprising, unusual and picturesque spots where Magnum photographers have photographed the ‘beautiful game’.

To mark the World Cup, a curation of posters featuring football have been released on the Magnum Shop. See the collection and buy posters for $49 here.

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