With the 2014 World Cup being awarded to Brazil, it could be easily argued that football is going home. Ok, so football originated in Britain and we invented the game but the Brazilians have perfected it. They’ve taken the game to their hearts and elevated it to the extent that it is a religion to the people. The blue and yellow clad players of Brazil have given us some memorable moments and play the game with a style and rhythm that no other nation on earth seems capable of. The game is played to a samba beat that runs through the heart and soul of the entire country. When they are on song, they are unstoppable and people the world over clamour to see them play. Chances are, if you asked people to name the team they want to see win aside from their own it would be the magicians from Brazil.
Over the years, the Brazilians have given us players that are routinely rated as the best in the world and of course given the game arguably the greatest player ever to have lived, Edson Arantes du Nascimento or Pele as we know him best. If you look through the annals of Brazilian Internationals it reads like a who’s who of footballing greats. From Gerson, Garrincha, Rivelino and Jarzinho in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, to Socrates and Zico in the 80’s. In more recent times we have enjoyed the skill of Romario, Ronaldo, Rivaldo and of late Ronaldinho, Kaka and Adriano. All of these players at their peaks would waltz into a world XI. It's not as though they’ve had a few stars in the sides over the years but full squads of players that other international coaches would dream of having in their starting elevens.
Having great individuals does not always make a great side but the Brazilians have won more World Cups than any other nation. They stand at 5 wins, with Italy in 2nd place with four. But they’ve also played in a number of finals where they’ve been beaten, most recently in 1998 against the host nation France. Winning, however, isn’t the only thing, it’s winning with style that matters to Brazilians. The World Cup win in 1994 was a triumph but was not won in Brazilian attacking flair and flamboyance. The 1982 side of Zico and Socrates, that were foiled by Italy, probably bring more of a misty eyed response than the side that were victorious in the USA.
The 2014 finals will be a celebration of football. The fans will embrace it and produce a carnival of colour, noise and passion that the local people are already world famous for. It will be a fantastic world cup to travel to and see how the Brazilians party. It will have been 64 years since the last world cup was held in Brazil and those who were alive to see it will hope that it doesn’t end the same way. The hosts were beaten in the final by South American rivals Uruguay. Anything less than a win will send the country into mourning, but a victory will spark the biggest party Brazil has ever seen and that in itself would be saying something.