The World Cup will be held in Brazil this summer! Soccer fans from around the world will be heard screaming, chanting, and cheering on their favorite teams. Flags will be hung, bodies will be painted, and fireworks will be lit to commemorate this huge event in the soccer world.
Teams to Watch
A few teams have drawn attention from the media prior to the tournament. They include:
Team USA is getting stronger with new players like forward Aron Johannson who continues to climb the ranks with his break-through runs and sharp eye for the goal. Jozy Altidore is another forward who fortifies the team. Altidore has proven to be a good partner for other players like Clint Dempsey when attacking the goal. And though their chances of winning are doubtful due to the fierce competition from South America and Europe, team USA is definitely one to follow.
Team Switzerland qualified with ease with several experienced players on their side including Tranquillo Barnetta, Gokhan Inler and Philippe Senderos. Switzerland also has the impressive goalie, Diego Benaglio.
Holland has always been a top contender at the World Cup. Despite competitors like Brazil and Portugal, team Holland has managed to keep up with help from players like Robin van Persie who is blossoming into one of the finest strikers the world has seen. Van Persie will be assisted by Holland’s other powerful strikers, Jermaine Lens and Rafael van der Vaart.
Team Uruguay is a great group of players that include the deadly duo, Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani, as well as an amazing set-up that could go a long way. Coach Oscar Washington Tabarez will no doubt be looking to shuffle around players and build more momentum. Uruguay also has an advantage with the tournament being held in South America with the players already accustomed to the weather conditions.
Team Portugal could go all the way in 2014 with players like the Real Madrid star, Cristiano Ronaldo, who remains Portugal’s go-to man; and Pepe, a solid defensive player. Overall, Portugal has a very strong team.
Team Belgium possesses incredible talent and will be a top contender for the trophy in Brazil with players like Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard, and Vincent Kompany. Nacer Chadli is another rising champion on the team who is quickly becoming a crowd favorite.
Why FIFA has Brazilians Protesting
As the tournament’s festivities are about to begin, angry Brazilian citizens in another part of the city are clamoring to get the spotlight.
Last June, more than one million Brazilians took to the streets to protest against inflation, government corruption, and state spending on world cup stadiums. These demonstrations have caused much controversy with the upcoming games, drawing attention to the injustice in Brazil.
A recent uprising involved civil police forces. As a form of retaliation, the civil police have gone on strike and have suspended activities such as reporting theft and traffic violations in 17 states, according to a statement posted on the Union Federation site. The police are protesting for improved salaries and stricter laws. Rodrigo Franco, head of Brasilia’s Civil Police Union states, “No crimes will be investigated today. We’re tired of seeing criminals walk free three or four days after we arrest them.”
Many have questioned if the protesters are using the games’ increased attention in the media to cause such noise. Labor Minister, Manoel Dias, claims that some workers have chosen to picket now so that they can take advantage of the media coverage before the tournament begins, “There’s manipulation; we’re in an election year.” Dias points to the government’s undeniable salary increases to support his argument.
Others like Jose Silverstre, coordinator of union relations for Dieese, a trade union research institute, admits that several industries typically renegotiate wages during this time of year. Therefore, some strikes would have occurred regardless of the sporting event.
Brazil Attempts to Calm the Protests with a Favela World Cup
With all of the bad press circulating, Brazil’s authorities are scrambling to find ways to better their image. The government wants to calm the angry protesters who call for “housing not stadiums” after information leaked about the billions spent on the tournament’s infrastructure. One proposed solution is starting a similar soccer match for the Favela. Favela is a poorer area in Brazil and a big reminder that the games are not for everyone. The people of Favela cannot afford tickets to the sporting event, despite the fact that the Cup is in their backyard.
The Favela World Cup also becomes a reminder of Brazil’s economic struggles. Over the 20-year history of the Index of Economic Freedom, Brazil’s economic freedom score has only improved by 5.5 points. Since 2007, the economy has fallen back to the status of “mostly unfree.” Even though the middle class is growing, heavy government intervention in the economy continues to cause a sense of injustice.