This past weekend, Brazil kicked off its dress rehearsal to the World Cup with the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup. To the non-soccer fan, the relationship between Brazil and the world’s most popular sport could seem confusing, particularly given the current controversy surrounding Brazil’s preparation for hosting the World Cup. Despite this, Brazil has a long-standing and unfailing love affair with their national team, commonly referred to by Brazilians as A Selecao (The Selection), making soccer a major component of Brazil’s national identity.
Outshined by basketball, baseball, and American football, soccer has historically faced a lukewarm reception in the US. While soccer’s popularity has grown stateside in recent years, EF travelers are often surprised by its popularity worldwide. To everyone’s benefit Brazil’s deep-rooted passion for soccer will be unveiled in the coming weeks through the ongoing Confederations Cup tournament, as well as through a variety of exhibitions leading up to the 2014 World Cup. Whether or not they’re actually fans of the game itself, through these events many will come to better appreciate and understand Brazil’s passion for soccer.
Next June, it’s likely that travelers flooding into Rio de Janeiro and the other eleven World Cup host cities will quickly become enthralled with the exuberant and free-flowing culture of Brazil. The massive influx of international visitors will become immersed in a melting pot of language and culture, spanning all the way from Recife to San Paulo. In 2010 the World Cup in South Africa impressively generated over 300,000 foreign visitors. Not to be topped, however, the Brazilian government is anticipating nearly double that, estimating the arrival of 600,000 foreign travelers for the 2014 World Cup.
Off the pitch, Brazil’s Ministry of Culture is planning to hold 300 events for those who will be visiting Brazil, but not attending the matches. Through the arts, travelers will be able to take part in unique and experiential learning activities, looking to leave visitors with a stronger sense of awareness and understanding of Brazilian culture.
Meanwhile, while Brazil’s Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Culture continue to prepare to officially open its doors to the world, A Selecao will also continue to fuel the world’s greatest love story on a national level – The True Brazilian Romance.