One of the world’s most passionate footballing nations, Brazil is set to host the FIFA U-17 World Cup for the first time in its history. The country's love for the game is known around the world, thanks to its passionate supporters and the many Brazilian teams who have provided such entertainment over the decades.
The Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) was founded in 1914, joined FIFA in 1923, and boasts one of the best records in the history of the game: five FIFA World Cups, nine Copa America titles, five FIFA U-20 World Cups, three FIFA U-17 World Cups, four FIFA Confederations Cups, five FIFA Futsal World Cups and five FIFA Beach Soccer World Cups.
The list of star players who have pulled on the famous Brazil jersey is endless: Pele, Leonidas, Garrincha, Didi, Vava, Zagallo, Tostao, Zico, Jairzinho, Carlos Alberto, Socrates, Bebeto, Romario, Cafu, Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos, and Neymar, to name but a few.
Away from football, however, there's a lot to know about Brazil:
- The Portuguese explorer Pedro Alvares Cabral is officially recognised as the man who discovered Brazil, on his arrival in the south of the modern-day state of Bahia on 22 April 1500.
- Between 1530 and 1822, Brazil was a colony of the Portuguese crown. Dom Pedro I declared the country’s independence on 7 September 1822.
- Brazil was governed by an imperial dynasty from that date until the abdication of Dom Pedro II in November 1889.
- The country then became a republic. From 1964 it endured a military dictatorship through to 1985, the year in which democracy was re-established.
- Brazil is South America’s biggest economy and the second-largest in the Americas after the USA.
- Originally based on agriculture, it experienced rapid industrial growth in the 1960s and 70s, while its natural resources were heavily exploited.
- For the last 150 years, Brazil has been the world’s biggest producer of coffee and one of the leading producers of sugar cane.
- The country’s currency is the real.
- With a surface area of 8,547,404km² and approximately 209 million inhabitants, Brazil is the fifth-largest country in the world and the biggest in South America. It accounts for nearly half of the continent’s land mass.
- Its Atlantic coastline is the most densely populated part of the country and is home to its two biggest cities: Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
- The country is divided into five regions: Centre-West, North, Northeast, South and Southeast, which are sub-divided into 26 states and the Distrito Federal, where the country’s capital, Brasilia, is located.
- Because of its size, Brazil has a widely varying climate, with factors such as altitude, proximity to the sea and the Amazon rainforest all playing key parts in its diversity.
- The FIFA U-17 World Cup will be held in the Brazilian spring, with average temperatures of 26ºC in Vitoria and 24ºC in Brasilia and Goiania.
- The country’s official language is Portuguese.