Is 2014 World Cup going to be the best-ever?

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The stadiums might not be ready. The Brazilians may be protesting against the World Cup.

But FIFA is hopeful that each of the 12 iconic venues that will host the matches of the World Cup will be ready in time.

And the organisers hope that the people protesting against the costs incurred due to Brazil hosting the World Cup will be backing the Selecao once the finals kick off in the football-mad country in 11 days time.

It’s being dubbed as the tournament which will see the World Cup coming to the land of ‘Joga Bonito’ — which translates into ‘beautiful football’.

That alone is enough to make this World Cup the best ever.

Back in February, Ronaldo — the man who inspired Brazil to a record fifth World Cup in 2002, predicted that this year’s FIFA showpiece will be the best ever.

“For sure the stadiums are going to be ready, and you will see the best World Cup ever,” declared the former Barcelona, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and AC Milan striker, who is a member of the local organising committee.

“I’m totally convinced that this will be the best World Cup finals of all time.”

In that interview with Radio Montecarlo, Ronaldo compared the World Cup’s situation with the Winter Olympics in Sochi held earlier this year.

“It’s normal to have doubts in the month leading up to the tournament,” said Ronaldo. “Look what happened with the Winter Olympics in Sochi — in the end, it was a fantastic, well-organised event.”

Brazil hasn’t hosted the World Cup since 1950 when in the Maracanazo — the tragedy of the Maracana, they lost the final 2-1 to Uruguay.

Now, 64 years later, a more modern and expanded version of the World Cup will come to Brazil.

“The rhythm of football is now different, the competition is now different,” FIFA president Sepp Blatter told Fifa.com back in January. “We have 32 teams now and back then [in 1950] there wasn’t even 16.

“Despite all the criticism, this will be the best-ever World Cup.”
The colour and the carnival in Brazil might as well make it the best ever but what certainly would make it the greatest is the array of superstars — fighting it out for glory.

For many, it was the 1986 World Cup in Mexico which saw Diego Maradona lead Argentina to the title as the greatest ever in terms of the superstars on display and its stunning story-line.

It had, along with Maradona, players like Zico, Michel Platini, Hugo Sanchez and Michael Laudrup.

The one in Brazil might as well edge that one.

Brazil have Neymar, Argentina have Lionel Messi and Portugal will be led by Cristiano Ronaldo.

England’s hopes rest on Wayne Rooney, Bastian Schweinsteiger will be Germany’s engine-room and Andres Iniesta, like four years ago, will again look to be Spain’s inspiration while Italy have the temperamental Mario Balotelli.

Similarly, Uruguay have Luis Suarez — England’s Footballer of the Year, Colombia possess the talents of Radamel Falcao, Ivory Coast will be powered by Yaya Toure and the Belgians have Eden Hazard.

Rarely before has a World Cup began with so many stellar names.

And that adds to the intrigue as to who will lift the World Cup trophy come the final at the Maracana on July 13.

This edition has no clear favourites because more than half of the teams possess a player who can change a game with one kick of the ball.

While Brazil go in as favourites to lift their sixth title — and the first at home — any participating team can fancy their chances at the World Cup.

This edition might also see a side from Europe win the World Cup for the first time in the Americas.

And some of Europe’s most distinguished elder statesmen would be hoping for exactly that.

This will be the last World Cup for Italian veterans Gianluigi Buffon and Andrea Pirlo, England’s midfield duo of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard while Spain’s evergreen playmaker Xavi Hernandez would also be making his last bow at the greatest stage in international football.

Germany marksman Miroslav Klose too will be looking to end his international career on a high while one of Africa’s greatest players Didier Drogba would be making his final appearance at FIFA’s showpiece event.

Apart from the star power on show, the passion for the game, the colour and the atmosphere in the host country is most certainly going to make this the best ever World Cup.

This is one spectacle not to be missed!

Source: dawn

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