The time for counting in years, months or even weeks has passed, with the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ now set to arrive in a matter of days, 100 to be exact, from today, 4 March, to the Opening Match on Thursday 12 June. The latter is probably among the most eagerly anticipated dates in the history of Brazil and will most definitely be marked in red on the calendars of football lovers across the globe.
“It’s a real thrill to take part in the World Cup, this footballing fiesta, to make the most of it first-hand and shoulder the responsibility it entails," said Spain coach Vicente del Bosque, speaking to FIFA.com. "To do so, we’ve got to be totally focused over the coming months, because it’s the main objective in our lives.” Having guided La Roja to the Trophy at South Africa 2010, Del Bosque will mastermind Spain’s bid to become the first team to successfully defend the world title since A Seleção Brasileira claimed victory at Sweden 1958 and Chile 1962.
What's more, the fact that the 20th edition of the World Cup is being held in the nation that has won the competition on a record five occasions – Brazil having not yet claimed the crown when they first hosted the tournament in 1950 – has only added to the level of expectation. Underlining that fact are the over 3.5 million ticket purchase requests recorded during the second sales phase, which closed on 30 January. Football fans could hardly be more excited about the possibility of coming to one of the countries most closely associated with, and most passionate about, the beautiful game. And that is not to mention Brazilians’ famed sense of hospitality and the country’s abundance of wonderful scenery.
It’s a real thrill to take part in the World Cup, this footballing fiesta, to make the most of it first-hand and shoulder the responsibility it entails.
“The message that I’d send to fans is that they should have no worries about coming here, as they’ll receive a very warm welcome. Brazil is a country where everybody is made to feel welcome and one which knows how to look after visitors from abroad. I think that, after the World Cup, everyone will want to come back and visit Brazil many more times,” Seleção coach Luiz Felipe Scolari told FIFA. “We’re a nation that enjoys welcoming people and treats visitors well. Visitors can be assured that they’ll have plenty of moments to savour wherever they go in Brazil, thanks to the diversity we enjoy.”
And there is certainly not long left now, with Felipão’s charges kicking off their bid for the world crown at 17.00 local time on 12 June in Sao Paulo against Croatia. It’s just a question of counting to 100…