Millions of football fans from all over the planet have made their way to Brazil this summer. Many are also flying home to Spain, Italy and England a lot earlier than they’d hoped, perhaps!
2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil
But any fans making their way to Brazil for the first time in their lives will surely be back. Once visited, Brazil leaves most tourists begging for more. But this is a huge country and one which is extremely diversified in flora, fauna and, of course, culture. So it’s essential to have a good idea of what you’re travelling to Brazil to see and experience before you depart – unless, of course, you’re lucky enough to be a gap year student or a traveller with lots of time on his / her hands with the chance to experience everything.
But what would we mean by a little of everything in Brazil?
Well of course you’d have to visit Rio de Janeiro to get a feel for the true Brazil – for better or for worse.
Then you’d have to see Sao Paolo, the southern hemisphere’s largest city. If you want to visit the capital Brasilia, you’ll see something different again; a more prosperous and more European feeling city than the others.
Korea Fans at 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil photo by Republic of Korea
Then, of course, you can’t come here without getting a feel for the Amazon rainforest. But the area covered here is absolutely vast beyond imagining – so you have to do your research and plan your trip in detail depending on just how ambitious you’re feeling.
Brazil is a country you can visit at any time. As anyone watching the World Cup will already have seen – the country’s northern climes are hot even in Brazil’s winter. Further south, you’ll experience greater variations in climate.
Brazil World Cup Souvenirs photo by viajor
But what’s all this got to do with “Strange goings-on in Brazil?” I hear you ask. Well – not much really, but the country has given us one of the most exciting World Cups of all time, which has really captured the imagination of the world. Interestingly, it’s one that has completely bucked the trend of all previous competitions yet, ultimately, has also conformed to stereotype.
To explain what we mean – consider that there have been very, very few football games in this tournament where one team has really dominated another. In fact, the only real drubbings so far have been of champions Spain by Holland (who saw that one coming?) and of Switzerland by France. Virtually all the games in the first round of the knock-out phase were very tight indeed, no matter what footballing status countries previously had. The same pattern was then repeated in the quarter-finals with lots of games being decided by penalty shoot-outs. In short, the whole competition has been far tighter in terms of teams’ quality than any previous World Cup tournament.
Brazil Fan watching the 2014 World Cup Quarterfinals photo by Bentavener
So here’s the strange part; despite all that “tightness” and hard fought 0-0 and 1-1 draws, the four teams that have made it through to the semi-finals are the same old, same olds! In fact, four of the five most successful nations in World Cup history make up the placings – Brazil, Germany, Argentina and three-time losing finalists, The Netherlands. The only member of the elite international World Cup history “club” that is missing is Italy – on an early flight home courtesy of biter Luis Suarez’s Uruguay – along with Costa Rica who beat the Italians by 1-0.
All in all – it’s been a bit like tossing a coin eight times for it to keep landing on heads. So will the trend continue form here? Well if it is to do so – we “should” see an all South American final between the hosts and their neighbours, and fierce rivals, Argentina. That’s because Brazil’s World Cup record is a little better than that of the Germans and ditto Argentina over Holland. Although that’s not what the odds say with Betfair, the world’s biggest betting exchange at the time of writing. Brazil are currently 11/4 third favourites behind Argentina and Germany both at 5/2 and Holland the laggards in the market at 7/2.
But if the strange goings-on continue, Brazil will win anyway; with or without Neymar, their talismanic striker. It’s fantastic stuff, though, as befits the home of football … Brazil, a country you just know you have to visit one day?