Thursday, June 12, 2014

Full 90: Countdown to Kickoff

Today is the day: kickoff to the 2014 World Cup in Rio de Janiero. After years of planning, construction, numerous protests, and unfortunately, lives taken, everything is in place for a seamless World Cup hosted inside the mecca of soccer. Not quite.

Yesterday, the day before the tournament would commence, employees of Rio de Janeiro’s two airports have declared a 24-hour strike beginning at midnight Wednesday. Unions representing these workers are demanding a 5.6% increase in wages. If not resolved soon, traveling fans will face serious delays in arriving to Rio.

What was poised to be a pleasant prelude to the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil, poor preparation and scandal relating to the 2014 World Cup has done more to tarnish Brazil’s image than it has to done to revive it. At the time Brazil was awarded both the World Cup and the Summer Games, there was great optimism that its economy would continue surge through each of these global events.

This is not a good time for Brazil from a political standpoint. Already riddled with corruption and daunting levels of poverty, Brazil appears it has only further exposed its wounds to the rest of the world. Brazil has one last hope at staging a successful World Cup: the tournament itself.

There is no bolder way for Brazil, its politicians, businesses, and citizens, to reverse all negative connotations about hosting the World Cup, than through a successful campaign by its nation’s team. All the hard work, sacrifice, and setbacks will magically be erased if the host country reclaims the World Cup Trophy. For Brazil, the World Cup is more their name being etched in history, it’s about a celebration of culture in the present.


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