Fifteen billion Dollars, 32 nations, 736 players, one goal: to be the football world champion. These are the numbers of the 2014 Soccer World Cup, starting tomorrow in Brazil. The notorious tournament is the world’s largest sporting event and is watched by nearly one billion people around the globe.
Although Norway is not going to be playing this time, it is certain that the World Cup vibration will be felt here as well. Great matches and nice tricks are always fun to watch, even when your country is not playing.
Les også: Blir du sprek av å se fotball på TV?
Along with the regular schedule for the matches, this edition brings new features to the World Cup. Did you know that this will be the first time that referees can stop the match up to three times if “extreme weather” occurs? Heat can be very intense in many cities hosting the matches, especially in the north of Brazil where temperatures can reach up to 40 degrees Celsius…. during the winter. Heat, humidity and intense exercise is the perfect combination for dehydration, that is why the referees will be allowed to stop the matches for the players to rest a little, drink some water and run back to the field.
Read also: How to deal with extremely hot weather?
This will also be the most expensive football World Cup in history. The estimated cost of 15 billion Dollars is the sum of the three previous World Cups together. Differently from the 2002 and 2006 editions when the bill was paid mostly by private businesses, this time it is financed by the Brazilian government. This is the actual motivation for the protests occurring in Brazil, where the population advocates that this money should be used to improve education and public health, two major problems in the country.
It is also the first time the players will not be allowed to show anything hidden under their football shirts. You may think that it is all about the organization and to prevent unwanted messages, but the real reason is very clear: if the player lifts the t-shirt, the slogan of the sponsors (stamped on the shirt) will not appear on global television.
Finally, the most interesting news of this World Cup is that a paraplegic person will take the very first kick of the championship. Even though it was unimaginable a few years back, a group of scientists led by Brazilian researcher Miguel Nicolelis made it possible by developing a mind-controlled exoskeleton. A paralyzed teenager will stand up from the wheelchair, walk towards the midfield and take the first kick of the starting match Brazil vs. Croatia, tomorrow at 10pm (Norway time). It is not just a fancy machine, but a medicinal cornerstone that symbolizes new hopes for paralyzed patients.
Together with these novelties, the 2014 Football World Cup will of course bring together the very best players in the globe. Neymar, Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will be showing their tricks and historical matches will take place. So, gather your friends and enjoy some soccer time…. not just on TV !
Jose Bianco Moreira, Phd student at CERG