We are now less than ten days away from the start of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. While, soccer still has a lot of room to grow in popularity in the United States, it is the most popular sport throughout the world. Every four years, the entire globe becomes transfixed to the World Cup. It attracts a bigger global audience than the Super Bowl and even the Olympics.
Perhaps you remember the buzzing sound of the vuvuzelas from the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. In that tournament, Spain defeated Holland in the final to be declared Champions of the World. Spain heads to Brazil with the goal of retaining its title. However, the host nation, Brazil is heavily favored as are Argentina and Germany.
We are going to analyze the eight groups over the next week, but first we want to outline the 12 Brazilian cities and stadiums where the matches will be held.
- The Maracana was built to host the 1950 World Cup and is currently the largest stadium in Brazil.
- Rio de Janeiro is best known for its beaches such as Copacabana and Ipanema. It is also home to attractions such as Sugarloaf and Corcovado.
- Arena de Sao Paulo was recently built to serve as both a World Cup Stadium and the home grounds for Brazilian side Corinthians.
- Sao Paulo is not only the largest city in Brazil; it is the largest city in the entire southern hemisphere.
- Mineiro opened in 1965 and has been refurbished for the 2014 World Cup. It is the home stadium of Cruzeiro of Brazil’s top league, Serie A.
- Belo Horizonte is located in the southeastern part of the country and is the capital of the state known as Minas Gerais.
- Estadio Nacional de Brasilia was fixed up for the World Cup. It is the home of Brasilia FC who currently play in Brazil’s Serie D.
- Brasilia is the country’s capital and serves as the center of government.
- Arena Castelao was built in 1973 and is the home of the teams Ceara of Brazil’s Serie B and Fortaleza in Serie C.
- Fortaleza is the capital of the state of Ceara located in the northeast of Brazil. It is known for its beaches and nightlife.
- Arena Fonte Nova was opened in April of 2013 and is the home of Esporte Clube Bahia which plays in Brazil’s top league.
- Salvador is the third largest city in the country and hosts a yearly street carnival recognized as one of the largest in the world.
- Brazil’s Sport club Internacional of Serie A play their home matches at the Estadio Beira-Rio.
- Porto Alegre is the southernmost capital of the Brazilian state Rio Grande do Sol. It is one of the country’s top economic centers.
- The Arena Pernambuco was built specifically for the World Cup and is now the home stadium of Serie B’s Clube Nautico.
- The city of Recife is a major port along the Atlantic Ocean and is Brazil’s fifth largest metropolitan area.
- The heat and humidity that the players will have to endure in the Arena da Amazonia will be brutal. The stadium was built specifically for the World Cup and was opened just three months ago.
- Manaus is the largest city in the Amazon and is over 1700 miles away from Rio.
- The Arena Pantanal is another new stadium and hosted its first match just last month.
- Cuiaba is the capital of Brazil’s Mato Grosso state and serves as a gateway to the Amazon region.
- The Arena das Dunas was completed in December 2013. It hosted its first match this past January and is where the USA will face Ghana on June 16th.
- The city of Natal is situated along the Atlantic coast and is home to many beaches and beautiful scenery.
- The Arena da Baixada was opened in 1914 and is the home stadium of Clube Atlético Paranaense who play in Brazil’s top league.
- Curitiba is the capital of the southern state of Parana and the largest city in southern Brazil.
The first match takes place on Thursday, June 12th as Brazil face Croatia in Sao Paulo.