An impressive motorcade swept through the streets of Lima, Peru as the FIFA World Cup™ Trophy was carried to the presidential palace. People lined the streets and poured into the “Plaza de Armas”, opposite the palace, in an effort to get a glimpse of the coveted icon.
Peru’s head of state, Alan Garcia, gazed at the trophy with starry eyes, dreaming that one day his country would return to a FIFA World Cup final stage after an absence of eighteen years from the event. Twenty-four hours later, over ten thousand people queued throughout the day until nearly midnight to get close to the trophy as they shared their president’s dream.
Then it was on to Caracas, Venezuela, known for its beauty queens, as Venezuelans admired the curves and lines of the FIFA World Cup trophy, presented by Coca-Cola, in appreciation of the work of art created by Italian sculptor Silvio Gazzaniga. In a country dominated by baseball, football has grown in popularity as the national team improves year after year.
Among Venezuela’s achievements is their recent qualification for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, due to be held in Trinidad and Tobago later this year. Add to that Venezuela’s impressive display last year at the FIFA U-20 World Cup Egypt 2009 and you will understand why the game is more popular than ever in Venezuela.
So, while South America bids farewell for now to the FIFA World Cup trophy, the big question is whether it will return to South America on 11 July, as South American nations continue to prepare to compete for football’s greatest prize this summer at the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™.