Brazil ramps up preparations for 2014 World Cup
The 2014 Fifa World Cup is fast approaching, with the tournament set to begin on Thursday June 12th before drawing to a close on Sunday July 13th. With the start of the new year, host country Brazil will no doubt be ramping up its preparations as it prepares for the international spotlight that the tournament will bring. As other countries are preparing their international teams, the South American nation is looking at aspects of the country such as transport infrastructure and tourist attractions.
That’s not to say that Brazil is not hoping for a win, however – the nation is well known for its love of football, and the atmosphere among nationals is bound to be nothing short of electric as the tournament kicks off. Indeed, world-famous Brazilian football player Ronaldinho has recently said that he is hoping for a spot in the World Cup team.
Brazilian supermodel Adriana Lima has spoken out about the opportunities granted by the World Cup for the nation to show itself off to the world.
Speaking to Fifa.com, the model said that Brazil is bound to make “a positive impression on everyone who’ll be taking part”.
"It's a wonderfully diverse country with a rich cultural history that will be there for everyone to see during the tournaments.”
Ms Lima also spoke of the “football fever” in Brazil, suggesting that there could not be a better location in which to have the World Cup.
"It's such an important part of our culture," she added.
People visiting Brazil for the World Cup will be impressed by how friendly its people are, explained the well-travelled model.
"There are lots of different reasons why people should come here, like the atmosphere, the style of football and the warm welcome you get from Brazilians," she told the publication.
In her interview Ms Lima highlighted the reasons people should come to Brazil – and this is something the government, and the country’s tourism board Embratur, will no doubt be hoping the World Cup will do.
Marcelo Pedroso, director of international markets at the Embratur, highlighted how important it is for Brazil to make a good impression on the rest of the world during the World Cup, as well as the 2016 Rio Olympics, and spoke of the country’s tourism ambitions.
Figures clearly show that tourism in Brazil has already rocketed over the past few years, and Mr Pedroso explained how the upcoming sporting events could improve these figures.
"There is a great opportunity with the world's spotlight on Brazil in 2014 and 2016 to showcase all of the diverse and unique experiences our country has to offer,” he said.
Mr Pedroso also gave some insight as to how Brazil is working to improve its infrastructure in time for the tournaments in order to ensure it is the best it can be.
"The extensive work invested into improving infrastructure will ensure that Brazil is a much more attractive and accessible proposition for people considering a long-haul holiday," he said.
Indeed, over the past year the country has put plenty of work into ensuring it is well and truly ready to impress the world.
President Dilma Rousseff travelled to the Castelao Arena to open the first stadium that will be hosting the world cup. Situated in the north-eastern city of Fortaleza, the area has been totally refurbished, with some 518.6 million Brazilian reals being invested in the project. The stadium will seat 67,000.
In her speech, the president said: "Brazil is capable of both things, winning on the football fields and building a stadium of this standing."
The stadium is scheduled to host six World Cup matches, and will also be the site of three Confederations Cup matches.
Shortly after this stadium was unveiled, the second of the 12 World Cup venues was inaugurated – the rebuilt Mineirao stadium in Belo Horizonte – once again by president Rousseff.
The stadium underwent a three-year overhaul before the launch, and according to Brazil’s assistant coach Carlos Alberto Parreira, it was well worth the wait.
"This is as good as Wembley, as good as (the Allianz Arena in) Munich, it's up there with the best stadiums in the world,” he said.
"A stadium like this is great news for both players and fans.”
The capacity of this stadium is 62,000, and it will host six World Cup matches, including a hotly-contested semi-final, as well as three matches during the 2013 Confederations Cup.
The remaining ten stadiums are set to be completed during 2013, with priority going to those which are set to host Confederations Cup matches as well – Brasilisa, Recife, Rio de Janeiro and Salvador.
Indeed, all looks to be going well when it comes to World Cup preparations in Brazil, and Fifa secretary-general Jerome Valcke has confirmed this sentiment.
He said that people should not compare the preparations occurring in Brazil with the staging of South Africa 2010, as the two countries faced completely different challenges in their preparations for the tournament.
“It’s always difficult to compare two World Cups. We have a few challenges in Brazil we didn’t have in South Africa and the main one is the size of the country,” the expert said.
“In South Africa, for example, it was easy to back the media from wherever they were located [for a match] to their base camp . . . they could travel back ‘home’ by car or bus or train. In Brazil there is only flying. That’s the difference.”
Mr Valcke added that he is confident the six chosen venues will be ready for the Confederations Cup next summer, and emphasised the importance of using the smaller tournament to test out things ready for the World Cup.