Actors Fernanda Lima and Rodrigo Hilbert will present the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ Final Draw, in Costa do Sauipe, Bahia, on 6 December 2013. It will be the second event the couple have presented, having presided over the ceremony to launch the Official Emblem of the 2014 World Cup in Johannesburg in 2010. In July 2011, in Rio de Janeiro, the actress also presented the Preliminary Draw fro Brazil 2014.
The passion both Fernanda Lima and Rodrigo Hilbert feel for football shone through when they talked exclusively to FIFA.com about their expectations for the draw.
It is estimated that the FIFA World Cup Finals Draw will be watched by 500 million people in 193 countries. Have you taken in the magnitude of the audience? How have you prepared for it?
Rodrigo: I didn’t realise the draw would have such a big audience [laughs]. But this is my job and I’m used to situations like this. I’m so excited about the World Cup. It was a huge privilege for me to be invited to present the draw, and I can’t wait for the big day. When I found out I was pencilled in to do it I was thrilled, because I adore football, whether playing or watching. And the fact I’ll be alongside Fernanda is an added bonus. We’ve done some publicity events together, and we work very well together.
Fernanda: When I present major events like this, even when it’s on TV, I don’t think about the size of the audience. We’re used to performing in front of lots of people, but I prefer not to think about it so I don’t get nervous. I just try to focus on communicating to the audience to make sure I don’t mess up! At the moment I’m immersed in shooting the TV programme Amor & Sexo (Love and Sex). As soon as I’m done with that, I’ll be familiarising myself with the script. I like football, but I admit I’m not an expert, like Rodrigo, who loves it.
What does football mean to you?
Rodrigo: I’m fanatic about my team, even if they’re in the second division. But I’ll watch any game, whether it’s the top flight, second tier, or one of the state leagues. I have a big soft spot for Criciuma as well. This year’s it’s going to be tough for Vasco to survive, but whenever I can, I go to the Maracana to cheer them on.
Fernanda: I’m a Gremio supporter and in Rio de Janeiro, where I live, I’m completely outnumbered because everyone else is a Vasco fan. When Gremio win I’m on top of the world, because they’re my team, but when Vasco win I’m content all the same because Rodrigo and the kids are happy. When it comes to A Seleção I’m a fervent fan, I love watching Brazil play and keep track of their progress. I’m a massive fan of Felipão (Luiz Felipe Scolari). Wherever he goes he commands respect from the players and has them well organised and disciplined. I love him for that.
Among so many players and ex-players who will be at the event, is there somebody special you are really looking forward to meeting?
Rodrigo: I love Pele, Ronaldo, Bebeto. There’s going to be an authentic Brazil team there. Felipão could call up his squad from the audience. I’m going to be mingling among my idols.
Fernanda: Felipão, who’s from my homeland. I’m in love with him and want to take a photo next to him.
What are your memories of other FIFA World Cups? Which is the first one you remember and what moments stand out in your mind?
Rodrigo: One of the most amazing World Cups for me was in 94, with that penalty blazed over by Baggio. That was sensational. In my hometown, down in Santa Catarina, a spontaneous street party kicked off, with everybody honking their horns and cheering. It was unforgettable. When I moved to Rio I ran a small bar on the Copacabana with a friend. It was during the 2002 World Cup, in the year I met Fernanda. She would go to the bar and we’d watch the games together. At the start nobody knew about the bar, it would be empty, but by the time the final came around we had to move the big screen onto the pavement to fit the crowd in.
Fernanda: My first World Cup memory is seeing Zico miss that penalty in 86, in my neighbour’s house. I remember people shouting in the street and everyone crying. I don’t know what was harder to take – Brazil getting knocked out or watching such an idol suffer like that. From 1990 onwards I’ve always closely watched it as a fan. And the 2002 World Cup was special, because as well as Brazil winning for the fifth time, it was when I started dating Rodrigo. He had a bar with a big screen and we watched the games together, completely enraptured.
What do you expect from next year’s World Cup? Who are favourites to win it?
Rodrigo: Until last year I didn’t rate Brazil’s chances. Then
Felipão came along. He’s got a magic wand, something special when it comes to World Cups. Then of course there’s Germany, Spain and France, who came through the play-offs. But I believe home advantage and our fans can make the difference. In my opinion we have a slight weakness in attack, but that’s all. But we’ll be battling all the way against the strongest teams.
Fernanda: Well, the favourites have to be us, right? We are hoping to make it six, and I believe we’ll do it with Felipão and these players, who are in great form. The only other team which has a place in my heart is Spain, because my grandfather is Spanish and I like the way they play. I think we were good teachers and they learned well from us (laughs).