This Viral Photo of Brazilian Inequality Wasn't Taken at the World Cup

This Viral Photo of Brazilian Inequality Wasn't Taken at the World Cup

There's a good chance you've seen this photo on your Facebook feed. A mass of Brazil soccer fans clad in jerseys and celebratory hats fills the street as one idly throws out a water bottle — into a dumpster where a woman is rooting through the trash. It's the perfect symbol of the inequality highlighted by bringing the World Cup to Brazil.

The only problem? The photo's not from the World Cup.

Peadar Grogan, a journalist at Storyful, set the record straight in a post on Google Plus. The photo isn't a fake, but it's a year old. It was taken during the 2013 Confederations Cup, which was held in Brazil and served as sort of a tune-up before the big show.

Stark contrast: Other images have emerged in the lead-up that paint a similar picture. Perhaps the most famous is the graffiti done by Brazilian Paulo Ito on a São Paulo schoolhouse. No, hungry Brazilians can't eat soccer.


Image Credit: Paulo Ito

In this photo, taken hours before the first World Cup match, protesters tear apart a Brazil jersey.


Image Credit: Leo Correa/AP

Another work of graffiti shows the majesty of Brazil's shiny new stadiums set against a bleak foreground of living conditions.


Image Credit: thinkmexican.tumblr.com

(There are plenty more images of harrowing protests and anti-World Cup graffiti.)

The numbers: Brazil has spent $11 billion preparing for the World Cup, with high-end tickets going for more than the country's average monthly salary, according to Mother Jones. Brazil threatened 250,000 citizens with eviction, and eight workers have died in the country constructing stadiums and other infrastructure for the tournament.

The troubled lead-up has taken its toll on public opinion. While nearly 80% of Brazilians supported hosting the Cup in 2008, one year after the country's bid was approved, less than half do now. Whether those dour views will remain if the home team keeps winning remains to be seen. 

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Matt Connolly

Matt has written for Mother Jones, the Washington Examiner and Chicago Public Radio among many others. He's a resident of Washington, D.C., but much like Bruce Springsteen and pork roll he is a product of New Jersey.

MORE FROM

A Steve Bannon propagandist is turning the alt-right’s antihero Based Stick Man into a comic book

"We’re never going to change the culture from Washington. We’re going to do it from comics, from movies.”

NBC News chief wanted to dial back MSNBC's liberal identity. Then Trump got elected.

Some insiders say MSNBC is having an identity crisis — but the channel is having its best ratings year ever.

What is the Senate parliamentarian? Lately, she’s been Mitch McConnell’s nemesis.

And does the GOP have to follow her rulings?

Anthony Scaramucci acknowledges “colorful language” after ‘New Yorker’ published his wild rant

Scaramucci's "colorful language" revealed the high-stakes tension going on at the White House.

Lindsey Graham says he is creating legislation to block Trump from firing Mueller

Graham said earlier that ousting Mueller would mark the "beginning of the end of the Trump presidency."

A Steve Bannon propagandist is turning the alt-right’s antihero Based Stick Man into a comic book

"We’re never going to change the culture from Washington. We’re going to do it from comics, from movies.”

NBC News chief wanted to dial back MSNBC's liberal identity. Then Trump got elected.

Some insiders say MSNBC is having an identity crisis — but the channel is having its best ratings year ever.

What is the Senate parliamentarian? Lately, she’s been Mitch McConnell’s nemesis.

And does the GOP have to follow her rulings?

Anthony Scaramucci acknowledges “colorful language” after ‘New Yorker’ published his wild rant

Scaramucci's "colorful language" revealed the high-stakes tension going on at the White House.

Lindsey Graham says he is creating legislation to block Trump from firing Mueller

Graham said earlier that ousting Mueller would mark the "beginning of the end of the Trump presidency."