In two days, the world will decend on Brazil to watch the start of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. When it comes to a passion for soccer, FIFA couldn't have chosen a better host location. Soccer is one of Brazil's national obsessions, with residents from all walks of life—from those who live in wealthy neighborhoods to those from the favelas, from kids and convicts to priests—starting friendly matches, playing anywhere they can. Even an official ball isn't a necessity.
While the English may have invented the game, Brazilians have embraced it with an uparalleled passion, putting their own spin on it so that "a genuinely Brazilian style of football emerged: a sort of dance-cum-fight, performed as if to a samba rhythm," as Christopher Pillitz describes in his new book of photos Brazil: The Beautiful Game (available from Prestel). In a stunning collection, Pillitz trains his lense specifically on street "football," which he calls "football's soul; football without rules, without reins, without referees' whistles."
Here: A game of futevôlei (footvolley), a Brazilian speciality, being played in Rocinha, one of Rio de Janeiro's most densely populated favelas, 2013.