This post was originally published on Tripwolf Travel Guide.http://blog.tripwolf.com/en/blog/2014/06/09/2014-fifa-world-cup-brazil/
The upcoming FIFA World Cup hosted by Brazil is just around the corner. From June 12th to July 13thall sports fans will be looking at Brazil to watch the most important football event worldwide. Held every four years since 1930 the World Cup was canceled only twice in 1942 and 1946 due to World War II and its aftermath. The former champions of the World Cup are: Brazil (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 and 2002), Italy (1934, 1938, 1982 and 2006), Germany (1954, 1974 and 1990), Uruguay (1930 and 1950), Argentina (1978 and 1982), England (1966), France (1998) and Spain (2010).
Since 1998 (hosted by France) the tournament features 32 national teams. The first stage is the group stage when the 32 teams are divided into six groups of 4 teams each. At this point, each team will play against the other three teams in the same group. The top two teams in each group advance to the next stage. The knockout stage starts in the eighth-finals with 16 teams in eight single-elimination matches in which the winner advance to the quarter-finals, followed by the semi-finals, the third-place game (between the defeated teams of the semi-finals) and the final.
The twelve host cities
The opening match (Brazil vs. Croatia) will take place at São Paulo on June 12th. The twelve host cities along with São Paulo are Belo Horizonte, Brasília, Cuiabá, Curitiba, Fortaleza, Manaus, Natal, Porto Alegre, Recife, Rio de Janeiro, and Salvador with 4 group stage matches in each. Besides the tournament, football fans will have the opportunity to experience such a variety of attractions in the host cities and their surroundings. Curitiba, for instance, is a well-developed city with some interesting attractions like the Botanical Garden, the Wire Opera House, and Oscar Niemeyer Museum among others. For those going to the Paraná State, however, a top not to miss attraction is Iguassu Falls in the city of Foz do Iguaçu. One of the most impressive natural beauties on earth.
The trendy Praia da Pipa is a 2 hours’ drive away from Natal. If you are going to Recife, you better take some time to visit the historical center of the town of Olinda, a World Heritage Site one of the best-preserved colonial cities in Brazil. Rio de Janeiro’s rich history, capital of Portuguese Empire after Royal Family’s arrival in 1808, has a lot to see with many historical, cultural and religious sites. Not to mention Sugar Loaf Mountain and Christ the Redeemer Statue, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
Salvador, the first colonial capital of Brazil, is notable for its music and cuisine with such a strong African influence. UNESCO declared its historical center, named Pelourinho, a World Heritage Site in 1985. Manaus lies on the border of the Amazon River. São Paulo is the largest city in Brazil and the largest GDP in Latin America. It has a vibrant cultural life with several museums, theatres, parks, and monuments. Its nightlife is a must!
The Training Centers
If the intention is to live the whole World Cup experience, why not to visit the training centers? England and Netherlands will stay in Rio. The Dutch team will use Clube de Regatas Flamengo facilities. British is going to use an Army Physical Training Center. Located in Urca neighborhood, it is near to the Sugar Loaf Mountain. The top contender Spain is going to stay at Curitiba using Clube Atlético Paranaense training center. Italy has chosen Mangaratiba, a small coastal town south of Rio de Janeiro, a gorgeous coastal region. Ilha Grande is worth a visit!
Germany has built its own training center at Santa Cruz de Cabrália in Bahia. It is close to Porto Seguro, Arraial d’Ajuda, and Trancoso. It is an excellent opportunity to know the South Region of the State of Bahia. Australia and Cameroon are going to stay at Vitória in the State of Espirito Santos. Mexico will stay in Santos, a port city close to São Paulo. Aside from Brazil, Argentina is a South American heavy contender. Due to its tradition together with the FC Barcelona star, Lionel Messi. They are going to use Clube Atlético Mineiro training center in Vespasiano close to Belo Horizonte.
Football is a strong passion in Brazil. Despite the questions about country’s priorities and construction costs of stadiums, the whole country is excited for kick off on June 12th. The big party is about to begin setting up the road to the Final on July 13th at Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro.