For the next month the eyes of the world will be in Brazil. The samba, the breathtaking beaches and the hospitality of the brazilian people will host the soccer world in an event that paralyzes countries for as long as their team is on the hunt for the Jules-Rimet trophy or the Brazzucca (name of the soccer ball) is rolling.
32 teams will compete for the trophy in a tournament that has the host-country as the wide favorite to add the sixth star to its logo. Brazil has not won it since Korea-Japan 2002, since then Italy and Spain have been the last team standing in one of the most watched sporting events around the world alongside the Olympic Games and the Super Bowl.
Brazil is ready and is not ready all at the same time. The 23 men called by Luiz Felipe Scolari are considered by many experts the strongest group in all the competition. A team led by Barcelona’s striker Neymar who just a year ago still played with Santos in the local league. Today, he is the “leader” of a team that without Kaka and Ronaldinho hope to give the brazilian people something to cheer about.
The reason for it is because none of the 12 stadiums that will be used to play 64 games total in the span of 30 days is 100% ready just hours of what they received about six years ago. For some stadiums the seats are not painted yet, not set up yet, the roads that lead to the stadium are not finished nor the parking lots paved, airports unfinished, etc… Many workers have died in the construction process, others have lead strikes showing disapproval with the government as it is now forced to pay multi-million dollar contracts in a nation where poverty is a big problem despite being the planet’s seventh strongest economy. The money goes to a selected few.
Winning the World Cup is the “Verde Amarela’s” only solution to make Brazil proud these days. The players need to win it for its people, for a country where soccer is almost the only thing. The other 31 teams all want to be the party-pooper.
22 players on the field per game, with over 3.2 billion people watching all around the world. that is what the FIFA World Cup is about. An event that happens once every four years but this time in a country where winning is the only option. After losing to Uruguay in the “Maracanazo” of 1950, hoisting the trophy as world Champions is not only revenge against history, but happiness to all its people who want something to cheer about these days.
From June 12 to July 13 the world may stop rotating but the Brazuca won’t stop rolling until there is a champion. Only Bosnia and Herzegovina has its World-Cup debut this year, Mexico wants to make it to the quarterfinals for the first time in 28 years and Brazil wants to keep adding to its tradition of a winning soccer team by adding one more star to the five they already have in their jersey.
What will happen next, who knows, is Brazil ready, who knows, but the world will be watching so they better be.