Brazil 2014 World Cup

Anticipation is an emotion involving excitement, pleasure and sometimes anxiety for an expected or longed-for event…so says Wodepedia…errr Wikipedia.  This is definitely a great word for World Cup 2014 in Brazil…or is it Brasil??  Hold that thought, we’ll address in a minute.  Since FIFA officially announced on October 30th, 2007 that Brazil would be the hosts, myself and millions of people worldwide have been eagerly anticipating this summers blockbuster event.  England may have invented the game, but the heart, soul and life-blood of futebol is home to Brazil and its people…well most of them.  This is the 2nd time they will host the world’s biggest event, the last being in 1950 when Uruguay shocked everyone and defeated the Seleção in the famous Maracana Stadium (we’ll see 2 games there).  This sent the host nation into a period of darkness and misery that Brazilians felt for years…they even refer to the debacle as the Maracanazo, which means the Maracana blow.  Brazil was so favored their federation had already made winning medals for the players, the FIFA President had learned the trophy presentation in Portuguese,  journalists didnt want to write about the loss, the players were vilified and the team actually changed their now jinxed national team jerseys forever from white to the now iconic yellow.

While this is truly interesting and amazing we cant really feel too sorry for them.  Brazil would go on to win multiple World Cup titles and lead all countries with 5.  Though they have been a bit on a downtrend the last few years, for Brazil, the team seems to be rising to a crescendo thats needed to win it all.  They have superstar players like Neymar, who will shoulder the weight of an entire nation expecting to win the trophy at home…plus some other great players like Hulk, Luiz Gustavo, Paulinho, Ramirez, Thiago Silva, Dani Alves, Dante, Marchelo, Julio Cesar and my boy Fernandinho.  The Seleção kick off the tournament on June 12th vs Croatia, while nearly 200 million Brazilians will be watching and hoping its the beginning of their sweet, Samba dance to World Cup title number 6.

In regards to Brasil vs Brazil…that actually would be a great soccer game, they have enough quality players…in English it is spelled with a “z” while in Portuguese its with an “s”.  However it has been used both ways even there and its so much more fun to use a “z”…so thats how I’ll continue.

So after attending the last 2 World Cups and both being amazing trips all around, it was a given that Brazil 2014 would be in the works for me and many friends.  This time my travelling party has exploded as there will up to 18 of us all together sharing a house.  So lets start by introducing the crew, which is tripulação in Portuguese.  A core of 14 will be together all 2 weeks and we’ll start with the Proano clan…led by patriarch Fabian who has played soccer for Fram for quite a few years on my same team and the older team.  He’s been to every World Cup since “1982 or ’86 I believe.  All 3 of his kids will be with us.  Alex is the oldest and has been playing with Fram mens teams for quite some time now, his daughter Lauren who recently graduated from Santa Clara and the youngest Marky.  Erik and I met up with them in Germany 2006 in Nuremberg for the USA vs Ghana game.  Then of course Super Smart guy Erik Mikkelsen is back after skipping South Africa but will be armed with countless jerseys as he is a bandwagon fan.  Duncan Wain, also another longtime Fram player who has been a part of the Open, O40s and now O50s team.  Brian “Ayoba” Mackerer goes back-to-back after being my travel partner for South Africa 2010 and is another Fram teammate.  The lovely and talented Joe-Anna Ledesma will be making her debut World Cup trip and we shall see if she can survive hanging out with me and my soccer buddies for 2 weeks straight.  But she has help in her good friend as well as mine Tara Weldon who used to work with us at Chivas USA.  The Dempsey clan led by Brendan who used to play with us at Fram as well along with his girlfriend Aubrey, his son Brian (who turns 22 on the flight down) and his friend Michael.  Another long-time Fram guy, goalkeeper Brad Wolf, will be joining us for the 1st week in Salvador as is fellow South Floridian Fred Velez making it 16 of us in Salvador.  And then for the 2nd week in Rio, Lauren and her 3 friends will be with us to make 18 for that week…all in 1 house!  There will be other friends we will be seeing and meeting up with including Dave Schifrin, you may remember him from South Africa, and another Fram player & fellow Manchester City fan, Tim Bramley.

The Itinerary:

June 12th the tournament kicks off.  June 13th leave LA thru Panama City into Rio de Janiero early on the 14th…but jump on a plane to Salvador to stay there until the 21st.  While in Salvador we’ll be going to Germany vs Portugal on the 16th and meeting up with Schif and his crew so I believe we have over 20 people going to what will be an awesome game.  Then we go to Switzerland vs France on the 20th.  The 21st EARLY in the morning we fly back to Rio and have a house in Joa which is basically in the town of Barra da Tijuca just a few miles east of Copacabana beach.  We hit Belgium vs Russia on the 22nd in what should be an exciting game at the Maracana.  Then we’ll drive to Buzios which is called the St Tropez of Brazil for 2 days there.  Then back to Rio for the Ecuador vs France game on the 25th.  And finally we’ll head home on the 27th at 1:30am.




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