USAC Florianópolis Resident Director, John Loveday, wrote recently about the upcoming World Cup coming to Brazil this summer. We at USAC enjoy rooting for multiple USAC nations in massive sporting events like the World Cup and the Olympics… but for students studying in Brazil this summer, “when in Rome…?”
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Brazil is a soccer-crazy nation, winner of 5 World Cups during a glorious history that has featured many stars including Pele, Socrates, and Ronaldo, and famed throughout the world for its beautiful and exciting style of play, the jogo bonito. Despite not having hosted the World Cup in 64 years, soccer is finally returning to its spiritual home this summer, and the hopes of a nation will rest on a group of players who dream of winning the tournament on home soil. In addition to this huge sense of anticipation, which should build up to a frenzy come June, the whole competition is set to be a magnificent celebration of some of the wonderful aspects of Brazilian culture: its music and dance, its diversity, its exuberance, and the passion of its supporters up and down the country.
The fact that Brazil was chosen to host the World Cup marks its emergence as a global power and growing importance on the world stage (it will also be hosting the Olympic Games in 2016, in Rio de Janeiro). Although the organization of the competition has been full of challenges, particularly with regard to infrastructure, many Brazilians see the event as an opportunity to showcase the country and welcome people from all over the world to enjoy its wonderful hospitality. The global event has also been a chance for many to highlight some of the social issues present in Brazil, and an interesting and popular social movement has used the tournament to protest about a lack of investment in public services including transport, health and education.
In terms of the soccer itself, Brazil are currently favorites to win the World Cup alongside Spain, winners four years ago in South Africa, Germany, always a tough team to beat, and Brazil`s great rivals and neighbor Argentina, who have Lionel Messi, one of the world’s greatest ever players. These teams and 28 others, including USA and Mexico, will be battling it out over a period of one month (June 13 – July 12), which coincides with both USAC summer sessions.
Although Florianópolis was not elected to be a host city for the World Cup, due to its relatively small size, it is conveniently located half-way between two other cities, Curitiba and Porto Alegre, which are both approximately 300 miles away and will be hosting several games during the competition. Curitiba, to the north, is home to the Arena da Baixada, considered one of the most modern and best-designed stadia in the country, and will see teams like Spain, Nigeria and Ecuador play. Porto Alegre, to the south, has a 50,000 capacity stadium, home to local team Internacional, will see games featuring France, the Netherlands and Argentina among others.
Florianópolis, like everywhere else in the country, will be swept along by the World Cup fever, and we at USAC look forward to welcoming you to our beautiful island and celebrating this huge event with you. We will be organizing lots of fun events connected to the tournament, and of course organizing some games of soccer, and invite you to cheer along the Seleção brasileira in their famous yellow shirts with us.
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Stay tuned this summer — you’ll see USAC students enjoying the World Cup from all over the world!