In less than 400 days, Brazil will host the 2014 World Cup. Brazil is the perfect place to host the biggest soccer forum on the entire planet since it is national passion. Brazil is estimating that 600,000 fans will travel from abroad to be a part of this event. There is no doubt that Brazil will exceed expectations of those who attend. Here are some basic facts about the event, which will take place in 12 cities throughout Latin America's largest country. The dates are June 12-July 13. The opening game will be held in Sao Paulo and the finals in the "temple of football," Maracana in Rio de Janeiro.
I had never understood the power of soccer to unite a country transcend all differences of race, class and region until I spent time in Brazil during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. This helped me understand that this unity, even if it only happens once every four years is the spirit of the nation. That is why the official slogan, "all in one rhythm" is very appropriate.
After this experience, I can only imagine what a World Cup in Brazil will be like, one for the history books for sure. If you can make it to Brazil for next year's world cup, you should. Here are five reasons why:
1- Brazil knows how to host a party
Anyone who is familiar with Brazilian culture can attests no culture is better at celebrating than Brazilians -- from Carnival on the streets of Salvador to New Year's Eve in Copacabana, which each welcome an average of 2 million people annually. It is also a culture where several generations (from children to grandparents) all participate in celebrations together. World Cup fans will no doubt be impressed with the vibrancy of its culture and even the most uptight individuals might even find reason to smile for no reason.
Each region has its own specialty, but overall the street food in Brazil is wonderful. Some food that will be widely available to fans will be pasteis (empanada-like pancakes filled with meet or cheese) acaraje (balls of black-eyed peas, deep-fried) and pao de queijo (cheese bread) to be widely available. In addition, the fruit alone in Brazil is enough reason to make the trip. Fruit is a staple of the Brazilian diet and is eaten in many forms. A special treat is sorbet made out of the acai berry with granola. Cocada (shredded coconut with condensed milk) and passion fruit mousse are also great options for energy between games.
3- Brazil is a Favorite to Win
Brazil has won five times, and they are the only team to have played in every one of the 16 World Cup tournaments. Experts in soccer give them 3-1 odds of winning it all. Brazilians are nationalistic and the energy in the stadiums when the National Team plays will be contagious. Witnessing a Brazil win in its own country will be the largest explosion of happiness the planet has ever seen.
4- World Cup of the Future
Brazil is investing $30 billion on ensuring the infrastructure for the World Cup is in top-notch condition. This includes the building or renovation of all 12 stadiums, airport expansion, new hotels and training 240,000 new professionals to handle the influx of tourists. In addition, Brazil is harnessing green energy to power the stadiums and rainwater to supply the bathrooms. In Brasilia, Mane Garrincha stadium is to be certified as the first LEED platinum stadium in the world.
5- The Natural Beauty of the Country
Every one of the 12 host cities was selected with the fan in mind. After the games are over, you choose you can spend time on some of the most beautiful beaches in the world in Rio de Janeiro, Natal and Recife or rafting in an ecological paradise in the amazon or Cuiaba. Independent of the type of traveler you are one of the 12 cities will be right for you.