The A to Z of the 2014 Fifa World Cup in Brazil

A is for absentees.

At any Fifa World Cup there are always a number of top quality players and teams whose home nations did not qualify for the showpiece events. Football fans will be a little bit sad to know that players like Gareth Bale (Wales) and Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden) will be missing in action in Brazil and with Bafana Bafana not qualifying for Brazil many South Africans will have to spread their allegiances elsewhere.

Gareth Bale

Gareth Bale

B is for Brazuca.

The most important part of football is indeed the football and the Brazuca (manufactured by Adidas) will be in action in every game. Technology will get a new meaning at the Fifa World Cup in Brazil as the Brazuca balls to be used in the world’s biggest sporting event will be equipped with six in-built HD cameras capturing a 360 degree view of the on-field action. The Brazuca ball has shades of blue, orange and green, and stars on it reflecting the vibrancy and flair associated with the game of football in the land where football is life.

Brazuca, the official match ball of the 2014 Fifa World Cup.

Brazuca, the official match ball of the 2014 Fifa World Cup.

C is for cost.

The total cost of creating and going through with infrastructure projects at the 2014 Fifa World was initially earmarked to see funding investment of about US$11-billion, however, rising costs since the announcement that Brazil would host the tournament have risen to US$14-bn. The table below indicates the nation’s total cost to host the FIFA World Cup compared to past tournaments:

Host nation Year Total cost (US$)
Brazil 2014 14-bn
Germany 2006 6-bn
Korea/Japan 2002 5-bn
South Africa 2010 4-bn
France 1998 340-mn
United States of America 1994 30-mn

D is for death.

Well, “Groups of Death” actually and at any Fifa Football World Cup the group stage draw inevitably throws out a group or two that would appear to be perilously difficult. Football fans’ mouths will be watering at some of these groups where titans of the football world will do battle. At the 2014 Fifa World Cup there are a number of these groups. Group B contains the 2010 finalists in the Netherlands and Spain, while Group D sees Uruguay, Italy and England in action. Of all the groups though, it looks like Group G (containing Germany, Portugal, the United States and Ghana) will be the true “Group of Death”.

E is for Estádio do Maracanã.

The Estádio do Maracanã or Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro is not only Brazil’s largest stadium but also the largest on the South American continent. A full house of 78,838 spectators is expected to witness the World Cup final on July 13.

The Estádio do Maracanã

The Estádio do Maracanã

F is for Fuleco.

Fuleco the Armadillo is the official mascot of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. He is a Brazilian three-banded armadillo, a species native to Brazil. The armadillo is an endangered species and it is hoped that his popularity will be a major part in the environmental drive to protect the animal.

F - Fuleco

G is for glory.

Did you know that Uruguay was the first nation to win the World Cup way back at the inaugural tournament in 1930 when only 13 countries took part? Did you know that no African team has ever lifted the World Cup trophy? Did you know that current holders Spain have only won the tournament once in their history? Did you know that Brazil have won the World Cup more than other country?

G - glory

H is for host nation.

In 2007 Fifa officially announced that the 2014 World Cup would be heading to the football obsessed nation of Brazil for a second time in the country’s history. Twelve cities will host matches and the tournament is expected to bring big jobs, increase the touristic flow, promote the revitalization of urban areas, and ensure substantial investments in the country, however, many citizens are adamant that it would be better to spend public money on other services like healthcare.

Brazil hosts the World Cup for the second time in

Brazil hosts the World Cup for the second time in history. The country’s hopes rest on striker Neymar Jnr (left).

I is for instrument.

Each World Cup has an official instrument and the 2014 World Cup’s is called the caxirola. Brazilian musician Carlinhos Brown created the caxirola which has been labeled as a better alternative to the unpopular vuvuzelas of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, however, unlike the vuvuzela it will not be allowed inside stadiums of the World Cup as the government considers it a security risk.

J is for J-Lo and Pitbull.

Yep, that’s right I said it. An official song has been created for every World Cup since 1962 and this year’s song was created by “We Are One (Ole Ola)” by Pitbull, Jennifer Lopez and Claudia Leitte.

K is for kick-off.

The 2014 Fifa World Cup will officially get underway with a 25 minute opening ceremony at the Arena de São Paulo that will set the tone for the opening match between the hosts Brazil and Croatia on Thursday, June 12. South Africans can watch the opening game at 10pm.

L is for logo.

The official logo of the competition is entitled “Inspiration”. The design is based around a photograph of three victorious hands together raising the World Cup trophy. The logo’s yellow and green colouring is meant to represent Brazil warmly welcoming the world to their country.

The Brazil 2014 World Cup logo.

The Brazil 2014 World Cup logo.

M is for managers.

One thing that the World Cup always guarantees is mind games between some of the best managers in the world of football. For most managers a poor performance at the tournament will ultimately see them losing their jobs while others’ names will go down in football history.

Dutch manager Louis van Gaal is hopingh to lead the Netherlands to glory in Brazil for the first time in history.

Dutch manager Louis van Gaal is hoping to lead the Netherlands to glory in Brazil for the first time in history.


N is for next World Cup.

As soon as one World Cup comes to an end football supporters and the media will instantly turn their attention to next edition of football’s showpiece. The 2018 edition of the event will be hosted in Russia and will be the first tournament played in two continents (Europe and Asia).

Fifa President Sepp Blatter announces Russia as the 2018 hosts for the Fifa World Cup.

Fifa President Sepp Blatter announces Russia as the 2018 hosts for the Fifa World Cup.

O is for Oranje

One thing that the World Cup is certain to promise is an array of colours and a mixed bag of supporters. The Netherlands nicknamed the Oranje always bring their die-hard orange-attired fans. They will certainly brighten up the World Cup despite their country holding the record for playing the most World Cup finals without ever winning the tournament. They finished second in the 1974, 1978 and 2010 World Cups.

P is for players.

Football would not be possible without the 11 men on each side of the pitch. With the best of the best players in action in Brazil (except the notable absentees mentioned in A) fans are in for a real treat. Can Fifa’s Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo lead Portugal to victory for the first time or can Lionel Messi add a World Cup winner’s medal to his impressive club football collection.

Q is for qualifiers.

Thirty-two teams will battle it out at the Fifa World Cup but qualification for the event started in earnest in July 2011 among Fifa’s confederations. Two-hundred teams across the six Fifa confederations played 820 matches on the road to Brazil.

South African fans will miss Bafana Bafana at the World Cup after failing to qualify.

South African fans will miss Bafana Bafana at the World Cup after failing to qualify.

R is for red cards.

It would not be a Fifa World Cup if there weren’t a few infamous incidents where referees dish out the dreaded red card to a player. Some red cards have proved to be costly for teams while some like Luis Suarez’s famous handball that prevented a winning goal for Ghana at the 2014 Fifa World Cup kept their nations in the tournament. Incidents like David Beckham’s red card for kicking out at Argentina’s Diego Simeone at France 1998 or Zinedine Zidane’s crazy head butt on Marco Materazzi in the 2006 World Cup final will forever be etched in history.

S is for Sepp Blatter.

Yep, it would not be the Fifa World Cup if it wasn’t for the head honcho of Fifa, President Sepp Blatter. He was praised for bringing the World Cup to Africa in 2010 but allegations of corruption and mismanagement regarding the 2022 Qatar World Cup have plagued his current reign.

T is for technology.

For the first time in history at a World Cup tournament, the officials will be assisted by goal-line technology. The 2010 World Cup served as a catalyst for the decision to adopt technology after England were wrongly denied a goal in their Round of 16 tie against Germany.

U is for unity.

It was evident in South Africa in 2010 and it will certainly happen again in Brazil this year. Football is a sport that brings people together from all walks of life. It has a power to unite nations and bring friends together. Nearly a billion viewers tuned in to watch the 2010 final between Spain and the Netherlands highlighting this unity that football brings.

V is for victories.

Most of the “big-name” teams at the World Cup have their sights set on reaching the final and lifting the famous trophy, however, the smaller nations sometimes pull off the biggest shocks at the tournament with unfathomable wins. Cameroon’s Roger Milla’s brace of goals against Colombia in the second round of the 1990 World Cup was one of these surprise moments and helped put his side through to the last eight – becoming the first African team ever to reach the quarter-finals of a World Cup. Italian fans won’t like to be reminded of the golden goal from South Korea in the last 16 that knocked their team out of the 2002 World Cup.

W is for women.

While female viewers will be eying out some of the good-looking stars at the World Cup the male viewers are always treated to some eye candy in the crowd. Brazil is well-known for its beautiful women and one thing is certain, there will definitely be some stunners in the crowds.

Beautiful fans are guaranteed at Brazil 2014.

Beautiful fans are guaranteed at Brazil 2014.

X is for x-rays and injuries.

Injuries are commonplace in football and there are always those players whose injuries before the kick-off of the event cause concern. David Beckham’s injured right foot before the 2002 World Cup attracted more media attention than the actual event. Luis Suarez is one of the players who face a battle against time to be fit for World Cup 2014.

Will Luis Suarez's knee injury force him out of the majority of Uruguay's matches.

Will Luis Suarez’s knee injury force him out of the majority of Uruguay’s matches?

Y is for youngsters.

At any World Cup event there are always football newcomers who set the world ablaze and who catch the eye of club managers across Europe. The Brazilian legend Pele was 17 years and 239 days old when he scored his debut World Cup goal. Players that could standout at Brazil 2014 include Belgian teenager Adnan Januzaj, England’s Luke Shaw or Germany’s Julian Draxler.

Z is for zoom.

Some of the fittest and fastest athletes in the world will be in action at Brazil 2014 and lightening fast players are guaranteed to be in action. Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo is an obvious choice to be one of the fastest in Brazil as is Mexican striker Javier Hernandez who was the fastest player at the 2010 World Cup, clocking a top speed of 32.1 km/h. Ecuador’s Antonio Valencia is touted by many to be the fastest player on Brazilian soil.

Antonio Valencia is expected to be one of the quickest players at the World Cup.

Antonio Valencia is expected to be one of the quickest players at the World Cup.




Logan Green

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