A pet rooster named Paquita Fred stands next to a replica of the World Cup trophy in front of Maracana stadium, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The 11 year old rooster wearing a cape with the colors of the Brazilian national soccer team gets his name from Fred, the Brazilian footballer who is one of the members of the national soccer team. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)
It’s finally here – today marks the start of the 2014 World Cup! The tournament kicks off with the opening ceremony at 6 PM UTC, followed by the first match at 8 PM UTC: Croatia against the host nation, Brazil.
All eyes will be on Brazil in the coming weeks, but not just the country. Brazil’s national team is considered a favorite to win it all – after all, they are on their home turf (literally). But there are many other good teams that could make a run at the title: Germany, Argentina, Portugal, and Spain, the 2010 World Cup winners. Or perhaps an underdog like Nigeria or Ghana will make it out of the group stage and have a chance at advancing.
Who’s your favorite to win the World Cup? Comment below to tell us who you want to win, who you think will win, and which matches you’re looking forward to. And of course, keep up with all the latest World Cup news here at VOAFootball.com, and on Facebook and Twitter.
UPDATE: Late Wednesday, Sao Paulo transit workers ended their three day strike, meaning the city’s transit system will be up and running for the start of the World Cup. But as VOA reports, although the strike is over, lingering effects could make it difficult to get around.
The World Cup is only a day away, but despite all the preparation and planning, a transit strike could have a major impact on the tournament.
As VOA reports, transit protests in Sao Paulo – the site of tomorrow’s opening match – have caused numerous traffic problems. But transit workers have agreed to meet today to possibly end the strike, which would open the city’s public transportation system just in time.
Will the strike be resolved? Or will it impact the start of the tournament? Follow VOA Football on Facebook and Twitter to see.
Photos by Nicolas Pinault
Just hours before the World Cup begins, the Arena de São Paulo – site of the tournament’s opening match – is still being constructed:
The top of the stadium is still being completed. It’s estimated that the stadium’s roof may not be finished until after the World Cup ends.
Turf surrounding the stadium has yet to be laid out.
Workers inside the stadium race to complete their work before the events start.
Street art in Sao Paulo, Brazil celebrates the Brazilian National Football Team prior to the start of the 2014 World Cup. (VOA/Nicolas Pinault)