No country is more associated with the FIFA World Cup™ than Brazil. It is the only nation to have appeared in every edition of the tournament, while legends such as Didi, Garrincha, Pele, Jairzinho, Rivelino, Romario and Ronaldo have helped A Seleção win a record five titles.
Exhilarating in the sport’s biggest party has been an immense pleasure to Brazilians. So, too, was staging it. Brazil had the privilege in 1950. It was a bittersweet experience. Sweet because its people’s naturally welcoming, engaging nature – and inexhaustible passion for football – made for an unforgettable competition. Bitter because it concluded with a gargantuan upset: Uruguay came from behind to beat Brazil and pip them to the Trophy.
Brazilians have longed for a second chance ever since and when FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter announced that the FIFA World Cup would return to South America in 2014 for the first time since 1978, their dreams became a possibility. When Colombia withdrew its bid in April 2007, six months before the host nation would be revealed, Brazilian became the solitary bidders, but FIFA nonetheless warned them that unless their campaign was wholly satisfactory, they would not be given the right to stage the 20th instalment of the mother of all sporting events.
Six years ago to this Wednesday, Brazilians waited with bated breath to discover whether or not the FIFA World Cup would be returning to their shores after a 64-year hiatus. And the many Brazilians at the Home of FIFA in Zurich, and the millions watching the announcement live on television back home, went delirious when President Blatter revealed they had been successful.
“This is not just a victory for Brazil, but a victory for the whole of football," exclaimed then Brazilian President, Lula. “I say this because I am convinced that Brazil will stage a great tournament. This has been a dream for us for quite some time. Football is a national passion and Brazilians will be ready to welcome the world."
Such was the magniude of the party in Brazil on 30 October 2007 that one would have thought they had won the FIFA World Cup. Thereafter, however, they have been doing their utmost to ensure they turn the 20th edition of the competition turns into an incomparable party. It is one that will begin in just 225 days. Can you wait?