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In streets of Brazil, the soul of soccer is a long way from World Cup
In streets of Brazil, the soul of soccer is a long way from World Cup

Yuri Peterson has the speed and elusiveness of a top striker and the vision and touch of a playmaking midfielder. But what really marks the tiny 11-year-old as a soccer player are his feet. The skin on the sides of his big toes has been rubbed away by playing barefoot on the concrete court of the overcrowded housing project where he lives in Sao Paulo’s South Zone, a common malady for young players here. “It does happen,” he says with a shrug as he looks down at this feet. “I play all the time without shoes.” So do many boys in Brazil, where soccer games are plentiful but shoes and open fields are not. Neymar, Fred and Hulk, the top players on...

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