No Joy in Mudville. Or Moinho.

World Cup Party Passes By Brazil’s Poor

The World Cup — football, fans and all– is underway.

Step away from the giddy cheers and drunken revelry and hoarsely-sung national anthems, though, and peek into the favelas that ring Rio, Sao Paulo and many other major Brazilian cities.

Talk to their impoverished residents and you’ll get a very different take on the football and the festivities.

In Sao Paulo, not far from its gleaming skyscrapers and upscale buildings, kids in Moinho play soccer every day. With no toilets or running water, kids here learn early how to survive. In Moinho, there is no sign of the billions of dollars invested by the Brazilian government to organize the Cup.

VOA correspondent Nicholas Pinault reports on why not everyone in Brazil is jumping with joy over the World Cup.

 

Argentina ( 2 - 1 ) Bosnia-Herzegovina

All Eyes On Messi to Lead Argentina to Victory

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Here are the only two words you need to know in preparing for Argentina’s match-up with Group F rival Bosnia-Herzegovina, kicking off at 6 p.m. USEDT (10 p.m. GMT):

Lionel Messi.

The boy genius forward has dazzled the world for years in superlative performances for Spanish giant FC Barcelona. He’s been named the world’s greatest footballer by FIFA four times. And now, as captain of Argentina national squad, he wants to bring a World Cup trophy to his home country for the first time since 1986.

Bosnia-Herzegovina isn’t going to go without a fight, mainly on account of the fact that this is its first appearance in the World Cup since the break-up of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s. Watch Vedad Ibisevic and Sejad Salihovic closely to lead the attack.

For play-by-play, minute-by-minute coverage of every ball touch, throw-in, direct kick, indirect kick, yellow card, red card, corner kick, goal kick and every other possible football feat in every World Cup match, tap into VOA’s multilingual, multinational analysis.

Click here to follow the action live, or watch it on Twitter at #WorldCupVOA.

And for even more exclusive VOA coverage with a special focus on Africa’s national teams, check out VOA’s Francophone blog.

Honduras Looks to Take France (sans Ribery) Down a Notch

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The pugnacious Hondurans will be looking to capitalize on the absence of injured French playmaker Franck Ribery as they try to punch above their weight and bring France down a few notches. French coach Didier Deschamps gave a sober cautionary note ahead of the match, telling reporters about the Hondurans: “They are aggressive and know how to defend…”

France, meanwhile, is looking to re-invigorate its World Cup image after its tumultuous showing in South Africa in 2010, when players, including star striker Nicolas Anelka, revolted against French manager Raymond Domenech. Anelka was kicked off the team and Les Bleus ultimately left that tournament with their tails between their legs.

Group E’s other two contenders begin their opening gambits at 3 p.m. USEDT (7 p.m. GMT) today in Porto Alegre.

For play-by-play, minute-by-minute coverage of every ball touch, throw-in, direct kick, indirect kick, yellow card, red card, corner kick, goal kick and every other possible football feat in every World Cup match, tap into VOA’s multilingual, multinational analysis.

Click here to follow the action live, or watch it on Twitter at #WorldCupVOA.

And for even more exclusive VOA coverage with a special focus on Africa’s national teams, check out VOA’s Francophone blog.

Group E Is In The House!

Swiss Battle Ecuador

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Ecuador, which sits in the perennial shadow of the South American giants Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay, had its qualifying run made easier by the automatic inclusion of Brazil in the tournament (by virtue of it being the host nation). But it still had to squeak by Uruguay to make it in.

Meanwhile, Switzerland’s  23-man squad had a strong push into the tournament, though as the BBC reports, its qualifying bracket (consisting of Iceland, Slovenia, Norway, Albania and Cyprus) wasn’t exactly top tier competition. The Beeb also notes that the diversity of the Swiss squad is an interesting counterpoint to the immigration debate roiling the country in recent months. Swiss boss Ottmar Hitzfield is quoted as saying: “Without immigrants, we would not have a team.”

The two Group E contenders face off at 12 p.m. USEDT (4 p.m. GMT) today in Brasilia.

For play-by-play, minute-by-minute coverage of every ball touch, throw-in, direct kick, indirect kick, yellow card, red card, corner kick, goal kick and every other possible football feat in every World Cup match, tap into VOA’s multilingual, multinational analysis.

Click here to follow the action live, or watch it on Twitter at #WorldCupVOA.

And for even more exclusive VOA coverage with a special focus on Africa’s national teams, check out VOA’s Francophone blog.