Five reasons to get excited about football in Brazil
While England were losing to France in Paris last night, the Brazilian national team were treating the Emirates Arsenal stadium to a preview of what football fans can expect at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil with a 1-0 win over old rivals Sweden. Preparation for the World Cup is already well under way.
Maracanã, the stadium HQ of top Rio de Janeiro clubs Flamengo, Vasco, Fluminense and Botafogo is being completely refurbished in time for 2014, but its Football Museum remains open, housing mementoes from legendary matches, such as the ball and net from Pelé’s 1,000th goal, and the boots worn by Garrincha (the “little bird”), considered to be the best dribbler in footballing history.
The beach city of Natal is already going football crazy – David Beckham is building his World of Sport Academy here to provide future football stars with top-flight facilities, as well as a luxury hotel resort for guests to enjoy .
As well as footballing prowess, Brazil prides itself on fantastic hospitality. Thirsty football fans will especially enjoy a cold beer in Belo Horizonte after watching games at the renovated 74,000-seater Minerão stadium, as the city is said to boast over 12,000 bars, more per capita than anywhere else in the country. In fact, the motto of Brazil’s third largest city and the capital of beautiful, landlocked Minas Gerais state, is “nao tem mares, tem bares”, which loosely translates as “There are no seas, there are bars.”
The Brazilians have proposed a record 18 different cities to host matches, from all corners of its 8 million square km territory, making 2014 likely to be the most geographically diverse World Cup ever. It will even take football fans from all over the world deep into the heart of the Amazon rainforest to the cities of Manaus and Rio Branco.
Brazilians take the World Cup more seriously than any other nation, having won the cup a total of five times on foreign soil. However, the last time the country hosted the tournament, back in 1950, the national side lost to neighbours Uruguay in a humiliating defeat that is said to have provided the inspiration for subsequent Brazilian teams, who began their winning streak in 1958.
For more information on visiting Brazil, see Braziltour.com.