It is one thing to book your ticket for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™, but to hold that ticket in your hands, and know that soon you will be watching a World Cup game up close and in person, is a different kind of emotion entirely. Some lucky fans experienced this feeling for the first time on Friday when the FIFA Venue Ticketing Centres (FVTC's) opened in ten Host Cities. 

In a country as captivated with football as Brazil, there are bound to be some fascinating stories behind the magical moment of collecting a World Cup ticket, like that of Joao Bosco Correia, for example. By 10.00 – two hours before the centres opened – he had made the 50km journey from Queimados to the neighbourhood of Botafogo in Rio de Janeiro, where the city’s FVTC is situated. 

“I travelled a long way, but I wanted to be the first in the queue,” said Joao. In fact, he ended up collecting his tickets just behind the fan who pipped him at the post: Vanderson Balbino, 27, who bought a total of eight tickets for games in Manaus, Fortaleza and Rio de Janeiro.

Moreover, he intends to try and buy more tickets during the Last Minute Sales Phase. “I don’t know if I’ll have another chance to see the World Cup in my country. I didn’t want to miss it,” he said.

For some time now the feeling of being part of a special occasion has been keeping football fans awake at night. Joao Bosco is the perfect example. He bought his tickets as a birthday present for his daughter, who will be 38 on 19 June, one day after the pair will watch the mouth-watering Spain-Chile match at the Maracana.

It is a way for them to continue a passion that started a generation ago when Joao’s father, now aged 97, took a train from his home in Sao Paulo to Rio de Janeiro to watch Brazil lose the deciding game of the 1950 World Cup to Uruguay. “It gives me such pleasure to be able to follow in my father’s footsteps and watch a World Cup game at the Maracana,” said Joao Bosco. “I just hope I have more luck than he did!”

Some people, however, were dreaming of a quite different outcome, particularly those who had travelled from outside Brazil to pick up their tickets. Roman Devit from Argentina took advantage of the Easter public holiday to visit Rio de Janeiro and collect his tickets. In June, he will leave his hometown of Cordoba and travel to Brazil once again, this time with his Team Specific Ticket (TST) to watch Argentina and Lionel Messi tucked in his wallet.

“If everything goes according to plan, my ticket package will last a long time, right up until Argentina are crowned champions,” smiled Roman. “And if we beat Brazil in the final, it will be even sweeter,” he joked, a reference to the intense rivalry between the two South American footballing superpowers.

From 18 to 27 April, the FIFA Venue Ticketing Centres in ten of the twelve host cities will open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays only. The Porto Alegre centre is scheduled to open on 2 May, and the Brasilia centre will open in the same month. From Friday, 2 May until the day after the last game in each respective host city, the centres will open seven days a week between the following times: 

In April and May:
Monday to Friday: 12:00 - 20:00
Saturday and Sunday: 10:00 to 18:00

From June 1:
Monday to Sunday: 9:00 - 21:00

For further information about opening times and locations of the FIFA Venue Ticketing Centres, visit 

http://www.fifa.com/worldcup/organisation/ticketing/ticket-information/ticket-collection/index.html

Additional useful ticket information for fans can be found here: http://www.fifa.com/worldcup/news/y=2014/m=4/news=a-guide-to-2014-fifa-world-cup-brazil-tickets-2320660.html