Apr 18, 2020

  • Chris WrightToe Poke writer

This week the World Press Photo Foundation announced the winners of its 2020 Photo of the Year awards, with an iconic image of Liverpool among those honoured in the sport category.

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A fantastic picture captured by photographer Oli Scarff during the Reds’ Champions League victory parade on June 2, 2019, won third prize among the best single sporting images of the year.

The chaotic scenes feature a trophy-shaped balloon sailing through the air as thousands of fans line the streets of Liverpool to herald their conquering heroes the day after they won the final against Tottenham Hotspur in Madrid.

Merseyside Police reported that somewhere in the region of 750,000 supporters turned out to cheer the parade through the city, with Scarff’s brilliant image capturing the hazy red maelstrom perfectly.

– Marcotti: Kings of Europe, Liverpool’s journey far from over

Football was well represented in the sport section, with Silvia Izquierdo’s image of Flamengo fans winning second prize among single images. The photo was taken Nov. 23 at the precise moment Gabriel Barbosa scored to seal the Brazilian club’s comeback win over River Plate in the Copa Libertadores final.

After his side fell behind, Barbosa scored twice in the final few minutes, leading to a 2-1 win and duly clinching Flamengo their first ever Libertadores title. The boy in the photo has painted a beard onto his face, which may well be in homage to his idol “Gabigol.”

– Vickery: ‘Gabigol’ heroics, River Plate blunders decide Copa final

Belgian photographer Olivier Papegnies was also acclaimed for his series of images of a women’s football team in northern Benin, which won second prize in the stories section. The Gazelles de Gouande hail from the village of Gouande and are one of many teams set up across the African nation with the aim of giving young women more control over their futures through sport.

The images show the Gazelles living, working, training and playing while going about their daily lives in the town, seemingly taking their footballs with them wherever they go.

The project, established by the Plan International organisation, aims to empower women by promoting self-confidence, education and greater social freedom.

However, none of this year’s football-themed crop could take top honours and emulate Stanislav Tereba.

In 1959, the Czech photographer won the overall prize of World Press Photo of the Year for his image of Sparta Prague goalkeeper Miroslav Ctvrtnicek approaching the ball in the pouring rain.

Pure football poetry.

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