After Sochi, global spotlight focused on Brazil

The FIFA World Cup will be the biggest sporting event in the world this year. The final tournament, whose qualifying rounds began in June of 2011, will take place in Brazil starting June 12, and run until July 13, with billions upon billions of people tuning in from all corners of the world to watch.

The groups for the tournament were chosen just a few months ago. There are 8 groups, each represented by a letter such as “Group A.” In group play, every team faces each team once. Teams get three points for winning, one point for tying, and no points for losing. The top two teams will advance to the knockout stages.

The United States will have a tough time getting out of its group, however. America was drawn into Group G with Ghana, who had knocked the United States out each of the past two World Cups; Portugal, who have one of the best players in the world at the moment in Cristiano Ronaldo; and Germany, who are one of the favorites to win the tournament.

Brazil goes into the tournament as another one of the favorites, mainly because of home field advantage. The whole country of Brazil is looking towards 21-year-old Neymar da Silva Santos Junior, commonly known as Neymar, to lead the country to its sixth World Cup victory. Some other favorites are Germany, who have not won a World Cup since 1990, and Spain, who won the last World Cup in South Africa. Argentina go into the tournament as contenders as well, led by 26-year-old Lionel Messi, who many people call the best player the world has ever seen.

With a mere four months left until the World Cup starts, Brazil is having problems getting all of its stadiums ready in time. There have already been multiple fatalities while building the stadia, the last of which happened last Saturday. Many of the stadiums have not been completed, and most of the newly planned hotels have not even begun construction.

There have also been security concerns for Brazil. Last year, during the Confederations Cup, which is sort of like a mini World Cup, there were riots over corruption and spending so much money on the World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games when the country’s economy is not doing well and much of the country is in poverty. Also, during Pope Francis’s visit to Brazil during the summer, there were security concerns when people came to see the Pope as he halted his car and people got close enough to touch him.

Sophomore soccer player Nathan Shull is enthusiastic about the World Cup, despite the safety concerns.

“I like to watch the world’s best players and their teams competing against each other. You can tell that the players get really passionate, and that makes for a great atmosphere.

As for who would win the coveted trophy, Shull said, “I think Spain will win again. Spain is still a very talented team, and I can’t see them not making a deep run. There is a special kind of atmosphere there.”

Junior Hiram Marquez can hardly wait for the World Cup to begin as well.

“I enjoy watching the World Cup and soccer in general because it is really intense. You can feel the passion coming from the field and the fans,” Marquez said. “The World Cup is especially good because the best of the best play there, and every game is life and death.”

Marquez thinks that Brazil will win their sixth World Cup in 2014.

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