Flags were waved, countdown clocks switched on, speeches made and processions held all over Brazil on Friday, all to mark the 1000th day before the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ gets underway.
Morning broke in Salvador de Bahia to the sound of the drums of the cultural group Olodum, who took up position on the banks of the Dique do Tororo lake, just a stone’s throw from the Arena Fonte Nova, one of the venues for Brazil 2014.
Meanwhile, prayers were being said at the Estadio Placido Castelo in Fortaleza, where the hundreds of workers refurbishing the venue gathered for a special service.
Over in Sao Paulo, city mayor Gilberto Kassab took a train ride from the centre out to the suburb of Itaquera, where the Arena de Sao Paulo is being built. Making the journey with him was the state governor Geraldo Alckmin, two-time world champion Ronaldo, and fellow FIFA World Cup winners such as Rivelino.
“It took us 19 minutes to travel out here,” said O Fenômeno. “There’s superb access and an excellent stadium in place, as we’ve seen for ourselves today with just 1000 days to go to the World Cup.”
Countdown clocks were switched on in Host Cities such as Recife, Natal and Cuiaba, while teams of graffiti artists began adorning the fences surrounding Brasilia’s Estadio Nacional with FIFA World Cup-themed artwork.
The festivities in Porto Alegre had a local gaúcho flavour, with the Cavalgada dos Mil Dias (The Procession of a Thousand Days) attracting a large number of people for a walk from the Beira-Rio, another competition venue, to the Acampamento Farroupilha, an outdoor camp held every September in the city’s Parque Harmonia.
“Over the next thousand days we’re going to keep the pace up, stay united and remain focused on victory so that Natal can set the standard as a Host City of the FIFA World Cup,” said the Governor of Rio Grande do Norte, Rosalba Ciarlini.
“This is an event that is strategic to our objective of driving Rio Grande do Norte forward through construction projects, investments, economic growth and opportunities for its people. That is why we can safely say that regardless of results on the pitch – and it is my belief that Brazil will win their sixth world title – the state of Rio Grande do Norte will emerge victorious from the 2014 World Cup.”
The celebrations continued into the night in cities across the country, with fireworks and a variety of spectacles and shows entertaining the crowds as Brazil 2014 moved that little bit closer into view.