THE BLOG

Road to the 2014 World Cup Update

07/19/2013 11:52 am ET | Updated Sep 18, 2013
AP

Brazil has just concluded the Confederations Cup, a dress rehearsal for the 2014 World Cup. This important event was the first in the series of mega sporting events that will close with the Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. In addition to winning the tournament, by defeating World Champion Spain, we are proud to have shown our democratic spirit as the roads were taken over by protests. This spirit shows Brazil's ability to conquer obstacles and as deserving of the extraordinary legacy that an event of this calibre will leave behind for the population.

Staging an event of the magnitude of the Confederations Cup was a challenge that had to be faced with determination and responsibility. Six stadiums had to be built or totally renovated, several urban mobility construction projects were implemented, and innovations in the areas of telecommunications and security were completed in record time. An additional challenge was the impenitent pessimism that contaminated engaged citizens, encouraged by partisan-political groups rooting for general failure, so that it could be blamed on the current administration.

The Brazilian Ministry of Sport, the local World Cup organizing committee and FIFA did not try to paint a fictional picture of the difficulties of the road to the 2014 World Cup, or try to hide the complexity of the endeavor. Yet, it is apparent that many incidents were exaggerated and sensationalized. Instead of focusing on the achievements of the event and the caliber of the modern and comfortable reopened stadium, the news that resonated was that of minor problems and in no way compromised the quality of the event. An example of this was the mistake made in English on a sign at the wonderful Fonte Nova Arena in Salvador, state of Bahia.

As expected, not everything was perfect, as there were mistakes and delays; however, the nature of this "test" event served to point out problems and solutions. There is a lot to do until 2014. Indeed, additional stadiums have to be finished, but the pace at which the projects are progressing and the additional measures are being taken, mean that Brazil will be able to stage an impeccable World Cup and successfully reach the end of the sporting cycle with the Olympics in 2016.

Just as important, the Brazilian national team, five-time World Cup winners, made peace with their fans, traditionally a very demanding and hard to win over crowd, who do not hesitate to taunt the players when they do not win or play beautifully. In all of the Brazil matches, when the band played only the first part of the national anthem, following FIFA rules, on their feet, supporters continued to sing and the players with them.

It was a thrilling way of showing that the country of football, which has the sport embedded in its social formation and distinguishes it as an element of national identity, is happy to host the World Cup and above all, as a result of playing at home, increase its chance of winning its sixth title.