RIO DE JANEIRO: The great moments in World Cup history loom large in the memories of football fans everywhere, but in Terry Lee’s studio, they measure about the size of a thimble.
The British artist, who lives in Brazil, has recreated the most famous and infamous scenes of the sport’s greatest showcase with tiny plastic figures from classic table football game Subbuteo.
A mini-Bobby Moore proudly holds the World Cup trophy as the England skipper’s teammates hoists him on their shoulders at Wembley in 1966. Then Moore embraces a tiny shirtless Pele in Mexico in 1970.
Turning toward more recent moments, Uruguay’s explosive Luis Suarez celebrates scoring against England in Brazil last week. Then he bites Italian Giorgio Chiellini’s shoulder.
Zinedine Zidane headbutts Marco Materazzi, Paul Gascoigne cries after being booked and David Beckham stares into the middle distance as he is sent off against Argentina.
All are iconic moments from World Cups down the decades now immortalized as figures standing barely four centimetres high — save for Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, the superstar of his country’s current campaign in Brazil, who is more than twice as big.
“I feel very blessed that I can combine two great passions of mine — the love for football and the passion for art,” said Lee, a 31-year-old who moved to Brazil earlier this year.
It all started with eccentric former Colombia goalkeeper Rene Higuita denying England a goal with his legendary ‘Scorpion Kick’ — not in a World Cup game, but in a friendly at Wembley in 1995.
“It was instantly a hit online,” said Lee. “And I realized this is what I should be creating unique Subbuteo figures of iconic players.
“The [Robin] van Persie header [for Holland against Spain] is very popular. I am always looking for iconic moments and the World Cup always delivers.”
Suarez’s highs and lows, Daniel Sturridge’s goal celebration for England against Italy, Lionel Messi and Neymar hitting the target — myriad top names are available.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 30th, 2014.
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