(BRAZIL) – Finally, the long lasted wait of football lovers is over, and now they can see their favorite players on the big screen. The 2014 FIFA World Cup begins today in Brazil as the host team takes on Croatia in the opening match of the mega event. Before the opening match, a ceremony will be held in Sao Paulo that will pay tribute to people, nature and football. The match has been scheduled to begin at 17:00 local time and 20:00 UTC. Yuichi Nishimura of Japan will serve as the referee in the opening match. He will be assisted by Toru Sagara and Toshiyuki Nagi, along with Iran’s Alireza Faghani, who has been appointed as the fourth official.
Thursday 12 June
Arena Corinthians, Sao Paulo (Brazil)
These two teams have already confronted each other in a group stage match of 2006 FIFA World Cup. Brazil won that match 1-0. Moreover, Brazil has never lost any opening game of the World Cup so far. They have only been defeated once in their last 21 games by Switzerland last year in August. It is also the only team to have played all the World Cups so far. On the basis of this exceptional performance, it can be said that Brazil remains the hot favorites for the upcoming game. It is also noteworthy that eight of the last twelve opening games of the World Cup have produced one goal or less. On the other side, Croatia has not been able to register a win in the last four matches of the World Cup. Furthermore, the last nine World Cup matches of Croatia have produced six red cards.
Performance in Last Five Matches
|WON||Friendly internationals 2014 (06.06.2014)||Brazil – Serbia||1:0 (0:0)|
|WON||Friendly internationals 2014 (03.06.2014)||Brazil – Panama||4:0 (2:0)|
|WON||Friendly internationals 2014 (06.06.2014)||South Africa – Brazil||0:5 (0:2)|
|WON||Friendly internationals 2013 (19.11.2013)||Brazil – Chile||2:1 (1:0)|
|WON||Friendly internationals 2013 (16.11.2013)||Brazil – Honduras||5:0 (1:0)|
|WON||Friendly internationals 2014 (06.06.2014)||Croatia – Australia||1:0 (0:0)|
|WON||Friendly internationals 2014 (31.05.2014)||Croatia – Mali||2:1 (1:0)|
|DRAWN||Friendly internationals 2014 (06.06.2014)||Switzerland – Croatia||2:2 (2:1)|
|WON||World Cup 2014 (Qualifying) (19.11.2013)||Croatia – Iceland||2:0 (1:0)|
|DRAWN||World Cup 2014 (Qualifying) (15.11.2013)||Iceland – Croatia||0:0|
On Wednesday, Luis Felipe Scolari, the coach of Brazil, said, “Let me tell you the time has arrived. We are going together. This is our World Cup.”
The matches are to be played in twelve cities of Brazil which include Cuiaba, Fortaleza, Belo Horizonte, Curitiba, Brasilia, Manuas, Porto Alegre, Natal, Salvador, Sao Paulo, Recife and Rio de Janeiro, where tournament’s final is to be played.
Jennifer Lopez, Pitbull and Claudia Leitte will also be part of the World Cup opening ceremony in Brazil and shall perform the official song of FIFA, “We Are One (Ole Ola)”. Moreover, on this prestigious occasion, FIFA has launched the ‘FIFA app‘, that will notify the football fans about the score updates, photos and videos of any ongoing match on their iOS and Android phones.
To review, FIFA World Cup is held after every four years, and every time, thousands of football fans travel to the hosting nation to watch the live action. More than 200 countries play matches with other teams in their region, and out of those, 32 teams qualify for the main event, while the host team qualifies automatically. The 32 qualifying teams of this year include 13 teams from Europe alone. The teams have been divided into eight groups, and each group has four teams. The leading teams of each group go through to the ‘knockout’ stage that includes only 16 teams. In that stage, the team which looses a match is eliminated. The last two teams which survive, meet each other in the final.
|Argentina||Bosnia & H.||Iran||Nigeria|
The one month long tournament which ends on 13 July, comprises of 64 matches in total. This and last year, over a million people protested against what they saw an excessive spending on World Cup. However, the Brazilian government is keen to avoid such type of violence during the World Cup. Dilma Rousseff, the President of Brazil, said that she will not allow any violent protests to spoil the World Cup.
Moreover, thousands of additional police officers and soldiers will serve their duty so as to ensure that all the matches get under way smoothly.