FIFA World Cup 2014: Hold your breath, let frenzy take over

FIFA World Cup 2014: Hold your breath, let frenzy take over

November 27, 2019 sdikdwvy 0

first_imgBrazilian goalkeeper Victor tries to save a goal during an official training session on Tuesday. Brazil take on Croatia at the Itaquerao Stadium in Sao Paulo. AP photoSit back, and do watch the big game today. With Brazil playing host to its first FIFA World Cup after 64 years, nearly 3-billion people, roughly half of the world’s population, will watch the opening match of the tournament.All eyes will be on Brazil from today, which will host the Summer Olympics two years from now. But it is still not clear which Brazil the world will get to see – the festive, free-spirited South American country, or a country hit by protests over poor public services, and a political system widely viewed as corrupt, besides anger over the $11.5 billion spent on hosting the grand event.In Pics: World Cup 2014 and sex: Who wants it, who does not “The world is going to see multitudes cheering for soccer, but also demanding that our country change,” Helen Santos, a schoolteacher, said as she walked home in Rio de Janeiro. “The world needs to see that we’re a serious country. We’re not just a nation of soccer, but a country striving and demanding the government to provide better education and healthcare. The world needs to see the reality of Brazil, not just the sport.” Football will take the spotlight when play begins with Brazil and Croatia meeting in Sao Paulo on Thursday. Brazilians are hungry to see their team deliver a record sixth World Cup.advertisementCompared to last year, when Brazilians staged rallies against the government and overshadowing the Confederations Cup football tournament, street protests have lessened now. On one of the nights when a match of the Confederation Cup was being played, nearly a million people took to the streets of various cities, and the unrest continued for two weeks.Only time will tell if Brazilians have moved past such mass disruption. “I hope football outshines the protests; I also know there remains a climate of anger,” said Edson Carvalho, an office assistant watching 10 barefoot young men play a pick-up soccer match in Rio’s Botafogo neighbourhood. “What will the world see? I’m waiting to find out myself.”In 2007, when FIFA named Brazil as the host nation for the 2014 World Cup, the country’s folksy and immensely popular president at the time, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, told a celebratory gathering in Zurich he would return home filled with joy – but also feeling the burden that comes with hosting the world’s biggest sporting event. “At the heart of the matter, we’re here assuming as a nation, as the Brazilian state, to prove to the world … that we’re one of those nations that has achieved stability,” Silva said then. “Yes, we’re a country that has many problems, but we’re a nation with men determined to resolve those problems.”Seven years later, all eyes are on Brazil; football has returned to a continent that loves the game. The eyes, however, will also be on those problems Silva referred to, the lingering ills that have not gone away. (With AP inputs from Rio De Janeiro)last_img

 

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