FIFA World Cup Trophy and players who will be participating in the tournament.
By Carmen Glover
Soccer fans around the world can finally borrow a line from rapper Fabolous or country singer Faith Hill and “Breathe!” Yes, the beautiful game of soccer, known around the world as football, will be on full display today, as the tournament opens on June 12 in Brazil. The World Cup is expecting to attract significant attention since it is being hosted in the country which has won the most titles, five in all, making Brazil soccer’s home.
Brazil’s players line up for a team photo before their Confederations Cup Group A soccer match against Japan at the Estadio Nacional in Brasilia June 15, 2013. (Front row L to R) Oscar, Dani Alves, Marcelo, Paulinho, Neymar, Luis Gustavo, (back row L to R) Julio Cesar, David Luiz, Fred, Hulk and Thiago Silva. REUTERS/Jorge Silva (BRAZIL – Tags: SPORT SOCCER)
The Brazilian team, which is hoping to lead its country to its sixth World Cup, will play its opening game against Croatia at 4:00 p.m. in an unfinished stadium. The fame will be played amid protests from the Brazilian locals and controversy about corruption in FIFA and Qatar, the site for the 2018 World Cup. Despite the tumultuous period leading up to the World Cup opening day, FIFA President Sepp Blatter was re-elected to the top position this week, again proving that FIFA is its own fiefdom.
Sepp Blatter holds the FiFA Code of Ethics aloft after being re-elected as President this week.
While discussions rage about the necessity for a revote in light of the corruption allegations about Qatar, Brazilian locals have been vocal and spirited in expressing their disgust with FIFA, the World Cup’s governing body, and the organizing committee in Brazil. Brazilians protested again on Tuesday, June 10 and Wednesday, June 11, even as teams were arriving for the World Cup, in a sign that protests will frame the backdrop of the games this year. Some teams, including the US national team, cancelled their practice matches due to concerns about congestion and safety.
Protestors in Brazil are pepper sprayed by police officers on Tuesday, as World Cup teams arrive for the game.
The protestors have argued that instead of investing the more than $10 billion in preparing to host the World Cup, the focus should have been placed on crumbling infrastructure, poorly funded education, transportation and social sectors. Also, they have suggested that rampant improprieties took place with the World Cup funding, because the results suggest that massive theft of World Cups funds occurred, resulting in incomplete stadiums and tournament facilities while the funds promised to local Brazilian projects failed to materialize.
Brazilians continue to protest against misuse of funds for stadiums at the expense of basic programs such as education, healthcare and transportation.
To say the protests and controversy is an inconvenience for FIFA and Brazil is an understatement. After all, Brazil possesses the most World Cup victories of any other nation, and is universally regarded as the country which pioneered the style of play that is often described as exuding finesse and beauty. For the residents of Brazil to organize years long protests is the last thing that FIFA, its president Sepp Blatter, the Brazilian organizing committee and soccer fans would expect.
Soccer legend Pele, regarded by many as the best soccer star to ever play the game, has been a member of the organizing committee in Brazil but has been just as vocal in expressing his disgust with the incomplete World Cup infrastructure, the protests and alleged theft of funds.
Brazilian soccer icon Pele incurred the protestors’ wrath recently when he stated that the protests should have been staged in 2007 when the announcement was made that Brazil would host the World Cup, rather than in the months and days leading up to the tournament. Still, despite the protests and anger that now add to the World Cup flavor, the Brazilian team is expected to lead their country to the World Cup trophy so the players have danced a fine line between supporting the protestors’ right to protest, while seeking their support as the games get underway.
Aftermath of flood in Brazil which caused the deaths of more than 9 people on the eve of the World Cup games.
This is by no means an easy feat, as the eyes of the world are trained firmly on Brazil, now privy to all the problems that were not as publicized in the past.On Wednesday, one day before the World Cup, severe flooding left more than nine Brazilians dead, according to Good Morning America, further complicating the feverish attempts to salvage the pre-game preparations.
Anti-government protesters demonstrate at the security perimeter two kilometers (1.2 miles) from the Castelao stadium in Fortaleza on June 27, 2013. Riot and mounted police set up roadblocks on access roads leading to the stadium as several thousand young demonstrators peacefully rallied outside Ceara State University in Fortaleza. Nationwide anti-government protests in Brazil initially focused on a hike in transport fares before mushrooming to encompass a variety of gripes including corruption and the lack of investment in health and education as well as to denounce the high costs of hosting the Confederations Cup and next year’s World Cup. AFP PHOTO / YASUYOSHI CHIBA (Photo credit should read YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images)
Meanwhile, there has been no shortage of intrigue from some of the other participating teams. Striker Landon Donovan was dropped from the US team by its coach, former German soccer star Jurgen Klinsmann, Rossi was dropped by Italy while Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, still recovering from a leg injury, has voiced his certainty that his team will prevail to win it all. Stay tuned to OnPointPress.net for coverage of the World Cup and the beautiful game of soccer.-OnPointPress.net.