Sunday, June 15, 2014

Brazil Bound

6:42 AM

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Every season, football fans have a healthy dose of competition with the abundance of the different domestic and intercontinental tournaments. However, none of these competitions could match the glory and prestige of the FIFA World Cup, which is regarded as the most elusive prize in international football, and simultaneously, the most watched sporting event in the world. For a football player, representing their country in a World Cup is a satisfying feeling, one made even better when he lifts the Jules Rimet Trophy up into the air after being crowned a world champion.

The World Cup is held in the summertime every four years, with a total of 32 teams competing for pride and glory. Since its inception in 1930, there have only been eight teams to capture the World Cup, with Brazil winning the most with five. The previous edition of the World Cup was held in 2010 in South Africa, wherein Spain emerged as the eventual champion. It was the first time the tournament was held in the African continent, and it produced some of the most magical moments in recent football history. Arguably the most poignant of these moments was Andres Iniesta's goal in the second half of extra time (and the lone goal of the match) that gave Spain its first ever World Cup trophy. Despite losing their first match against Switzerland in the group stages, the Spanish squad notched win-after-win against teams like Chile and Honduras in the group stages, Portugal in the Round of 16, Paraguay in the Quarterfinals, Germany in the Semifinals, and Netherlands in the final. The World Cup triumph capped what was an impressive run by Spain starting from their success at the UEFA Euros in 2008, and followed by another championship win at Euro 2012, before being beaten at the FIFA Confederations’ Cup in 2013 by Brazil.

This summer, all eyes will be on Brazil. Not only because of the matches, but also because of the performances of stars like Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, and Andres Iniesta in their respective teams. However, no other set of players will be scrutinized more than those on the Brazil squad. Playing on home soil, it is expected that the support for the Selecao will be felt in all the matches they will be playing in. It has been over six decades since the 1950 FIFA World Cup, the last World Cup to be held in Brazilian soil, and over six decades since Uruguay famously beat Brazil with a 2-1 score line in the iconic Maracana stadium. This team is riding on high expectations as they will be trying to erase the horrible events of years past. With strong defenders like Thiago Silva, Luiz Gustavo, Dani Alves, and Marcelo, swift midfielders in the form of Ramires, Paulinho, and Oscar, and talented strikers Neymar, Hulk, and Fred, Brazil is the strong favorite to take home the title. However, the road to the final in Rio de Janeiro will certainly not be easy given the other teams determined to make their mark, such as Spain who are itching to defend their crown, Germany, who want to win the title after seeing its domestic league peak to an all-time high, Italy and France, who both want retribution after not making it to the Round of 16 in the 2010 edition, Argentina, who want to capture the title in their biggest rival’s country, and so many other teams who wish to excel in the grandest stage of them all.

As of press time, the party that is the 2014 FIFA World Cup has already kicked off in Brazil, where the hosts Brazil beat Croatia with a 3-1 score line courtesy of goals from Neymar and Oscar in the first official match. While there are many controversies surrounding the tournament itself, there is nothing that is stopping the World Cup from happening. The next 30 days will produce some of the most exciting and nerve-wracking moments, not only for all 32 countries competing but for the rest of the world as well. At the end of it all, however, only one country can win the World Cup and notch their name onto history. Let the games begin.

Article by Jow

Jow is a 19-year old college senior to aiming to finish her Communication degree. She lives her life by three Fs: football, food, and fangirling. One day, she dreams of watching Real Madrid and Arsenal at their respective stadiums, and finishing as many ramen bowls as she can in the best ramen joints in the world.


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