Archivo de la categoría: Fútbol

Here you will find any post related to the most popular sport on earth.

Game On!

It finally happened, and after a four year wait since Spain took the trophy home at Johannesburg in “South Africa 2010” against the Netherlands, today Brazil and Croatia played the first of a 64 game tournament called the FIFA World Cup.

Before the ball started rolling the Inauguration Ceremony, which viewing audience is estimated around 1 billion by some sources, seemed to be colorful but not as strong or completely representative of a country with 200 million  people living on it. At least I was expecting more samba and costumes like the ones they use in the Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro before lent begins.

Media outlets reported that safety was highly taken into consideration for this game, with a periphery of 5 blocks around the stadium blocked only for those with tickets to the game that would start it all. Among the surprises in the opening ceremony was the presence of the President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff who had already skipped on opening FIFA’s Congress taking place in the host country. Jennifer Lopez, who sings the tournaments official song alongside Pitbull and Claudia Leitte made the last minute decision to attend the event.

But once the stage was taken down it was time for 22 players plus the Brazuca to take center stage. At the Arena de Sao Paulo Croatia got things going and within the first minutes showed that they were not scared of the stage and playing against the favorite team to take it all Brazil. Their up-tempo playing speed led to a huge mistake by Marcelo (BRA), who scored the 37th own goal in the history of World Cups but the first one for Brazil in the history of the biggest tournament organized by FIFA.

That goal made Croatia take an early lead on the game after Marcelo pushed the ball into the back of his own net after what seemed a weak cross from Ivica Olic. It would be Neymar (Brazil’s star) who tied things up by shooting from outside the box and finding the bottom-left corner of Croatia’s goal. It would take a mistake by the referee to give Brazil the lead. Fred acts like he is being pulled by a croatian defender and the referee Yuichi Nishimura signaled the penalty spot. Neymar nearly missed his chance but the power on his strike was the key to avoid failure 11-steps away from goal as he saw the ball going the goalkeepers hands.

Croatia died trying to even things out but just as we were going into stoppage time Oscar took matters into his own feet and scored for the host team to leave Croatia stunned with a 3-1 goal lead just minutes away from the end. Five minutes later it was all over. Mexico vs Cameroon will close the first round action for group A tomorrow in Natal. Followed by the revenge of the past World Cup final between Spain and the Netherlands.

Neymar who now has 33 goals with his national team will play Mexico next tuesday to try and clinch Brazil’s ticket to the second round of the tournament. Croatia will play Cameroon for its first three points of the competition. 63 games to go in the FIFA World Cup.

Neymar celebrates his first goal of the game.
Neymar celebrates his first goal of the game.

Brazil Is(n’t) Ready

Brazil Squad at Confederations Cup 2013
Brazil Squad at Confederations Cup 2013

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.