World Cup 2014: Team Focus – Brazil

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Best: Winners (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002)

Group: A

Coach: Luiz Felipe Scolari

Brazil enter every single World Cup as favourites. I guess thats expected when you’re the most successful country in the history of the World Cup. Now that they’re also playing on home soil, well that only adds to the expectations. Not that all locals are thrilled about the World Cup. They’ve also rehired 2002 World Cup winning coach Luiz Felipe “Big Phil” Scolari, they mean business.

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Did you say “New York City FC”?

Ok, so David Villa announced his departure from Atletico Madrid and La Liga (and European Football) for an “offer he could not resist.” A few hours later it became official that he was the first ever player to sign for New York City FC. Then, in the same day, buzz started about Frank Lampard being stateside-bound.

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Who is this New York City FC that seems to be planning a coup of our favourite footballers?
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Uefa president Michel Platini under pressure to explain secret meeting with corrupt World Cup 2022 bid chief

Uh-oh…

World Cup 2014 Brazil: Team Focus – USA

The USA team logo

Best: Semi Finals 1930

Group: G (vs Portugal, Ghana & Germany)

Coach: Jurgen Klinsmann

Jurgen Klinsmann has revamped this national team since taking over and I must say he has put together arguably one of the best USA sides that will grace the World Cup. Its unfortunate that they have been drawn into group G – the group of death. He recently announced his final 23 man squad, and caused an uproar with the exclusion of Landon Donovan. Donovan is the MLS and USA National Team all time top scorer. I feel he would have brought experience to a fairly young side. Klinsmann seems to have his eye on the future though.  Yes, they’re drawn into such a tough group and are widely expected to finish 4th, the Americans have the edge in terms of their support – a reported 180 000 American fans are flying to Brazil to back their team! In football, a good backing can give any team a lift, even if they’re the underdogs.

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World Cup 2014: The Best Footballers not going to Brazil

Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Sweden

Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Sweden did not qualify

The Paris Saint-Germain striker enjoyed a great season in France finishing at Lique 1’s top scorer and with the domestic title in hand. Unfortunately, EURO 2012 may have been the last time we see him on an international level as Sweden failed to qualify for Brazil.

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World Cup 2014: Stadium Guide

Its getting closer! Today I have a quick guide of the stadiums that will be hosting the games in 2 weeks time.

World Cup Brazil 2014

Here are the 12 stadiums and host cities:

  1. Maracanã – Rio de Janeiro
  2. Mineirão – Belo Horizonte
  3. Arena Castelão – Fortaleza
  4. Arena da Amazônia – Manaus
  5. Arena da Baixada – Curitiba
  6. Estádio Nacional – Brasilia
  7. Jose Pinheiro Borda – Porto Alegre
  8. Pernambuco – Recife
  9. Fonte Nova – Salvador
  10. Arena de Itaquera – Sao Paulo
  11. Arena Pantanal – Cuiabá
  12. Arena das Dunas – Natal

Maracanã  – Rio de Janeiro

Maracanã - This Stadium will host the final

Maracanã – This Stadium will host the final

Capacity: 78 838

Club: CR Flamengo and Fluminense FC

Matches: 7 (4 group matches, 1 round of 16, 1 quarter final and the final)

The Maracana was build for the 1950 World Cup. Officially its called “Estádio Mário Filho” but is known to all football fans around the world as “The Maracana.” The World Cup final was played here in 1950 with a reported crowd of 200 000!

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FIFA: The Qatar 2022 Saga

I write this post with a very heavy heart. The recent allegations of corruption and bribery surrounding Qatar 2022 has left a very bitter taste, especially with the 2014 installment so close.

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When Qatar won the rights to host the 2022 World Cup  back in 2010, I was excited. I even blogged about it . What I was excited about was that they promised when they were done hosting the tournament, the stadia were to be dismantled and the parts distrubuted across the world to developing nations needing them for sports infrastructure.

And besides, who can’t be excited about this:

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(Image is an artists impression of the stadium and found on google images)

Slowly, in the aftermath of FIFA’s announcement, reports and concerns trickled in about the ability of the Middle East country to host this tournament.

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World Cup 2014: Team Focus – England

The England National Team logo

Best: Winners 1966

Group: D

Coach: Roy Hodgson

For a country that boasts one of the most entertaining leagues in the world, that provides employment for footballers from far and wide, the English haven’t really impressed on an international stage have they? Maybe that’s the problem, that their league is busy honing the skills of foreigners, they haven’t focused on their home-grown talent.

It feels to me, for the first time in many, many years, that the British media is not creating a hoopla about their national team – they’re not the “favourites” to win. In fact, some articles have even downplayed their chances.  Even though their line up is not as star studded as the “Golden Era”, Roy Hodgson is building this squad for coming years. With youngsters – confidant, eager to prove themselves youngsters- in the line-up,  even though this side may not lift the trophy this year, I rate they will be a force to be reckoned with come Russia and Quatar (if that even happens… but we’ll get to that in another post).

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The war against the World Cup and the Olympics

Relating to my earlier post on Paulo Ito’s socially conscious painting, here are some good snippets of the general feeling in Brazil right now:

World Cup 2014 Brazil: A Guide to the Most Fabulous WAGs

If you remember the 2006 installment of the World Cup, the Wives and Girlfriends (WAGs) of the England team rose to prominence with their socializing and shopping, they created more buzz than their husbands and boyfriends did on the pitch. Led by the original WAG herself, Victoria Beckham, the WAGs partied up a storm in Germany. Who can forget that one night in the German city of Baden Baden when they reportedly spent almost £ 60 000 in less than an hour, mostly on French pink champagne and other delicacies. When England crashed out of the tournament, the British Media were quick to blame the WAGs for the distraction.

English WAGs at a World Cup Match in 2006. From L-R: Cheryl Cole, Coleen Rooney & Victoria Beckham

English WAGs at a World Cup Match in 2006. From L-R: Cheryl Cole, Coleen Rooney & Victoria Beckham

Well, It has been 8 years since then, and the landscape of WAGs have changed. Many WAGs these days have degrees or are pursuing careers of their own. Some shun the limelight and prefer to lead quiet lives raising their kids. While others seem to have nothing to do all day but launch upon us a tirade of Instagram and Twitter pictures (did I mention “Badly Filtered”?).

Here I take a look at some of the most fabulous and successful WAGs that will be going to Brazil… to show their support of course!

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