The 2014 FIFA World Cup starts on Thursday, June 12 in Sao Paolo with Brazil facing off against Croatia. The final takes place on July 13, who could go all the way? Brazil are the favorites, with Argentina and Spain also in the reckoning.
Here’s what you need to know about the biggest sporting event in the world:
1. It’s The 20th FIFA World Cup
The first FIFA World Cup took place in Uruguay in 1930. The World Cup takes place every four years in the same model as the Olympic Games. Spain is the current World Cup champion and Brazil has won five World Cups, the most of any team.
2. It’s The First World Cup To Use Goal-Line Technology
After a series of controversial calls made in the Premier League, World Cup 2010 and Euro 2012, FIFA announced it would be installing goal-line technology in all 12 of Brazil’s world cup stadiums. According to FIFA, goal-line technology will be used to determine whether or not the entire ball has crossed over the goal line in a match. Referees will wear watches that indicate whether the ball has crossed the entire goal line in order to make up for what the human eye can’t see. According to ESPN UK, officials at FIFA have selected the German company GoalControl GmbH as the goal-line technology provider for this year’s World Cup.
3. Brazil’s Predicted to Win
Call it a home-team advantage, but according to Bleacher Report, Brazil’s strong defense puts it in a strong position to take home a sixth title, in spite of the team’s weak transitions from defense to forward players. Spain and Germany are poised to be semi-finalists while Argentina will most likely make it to the finals, according to Bleacher Report.
4. World Cup Preparations Have Created Tension Across Brazil
According to The Guardian, protests have broken out across Brazil as a result of World Cup preparations, with teachers, museum workers and bus drivers walking off the job and raising concerns about public safety and infrastructure. Reuters reports eight people have died building or refurbishing the 12 World Cup venues across Brazil, starting in 2012 with the most recent death occurring on May 8.
5. The Official Instrument Is the Caxirola
Each World Cup has an official instrument and 2014’s is called the caxirola. Brazilian musician Carlinhos Brown created the caxirola which has been labeled a better alternative to the unpopular vuvuzelas of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, according to The Independent. The caxirola emits a sound similar to a rattle, according to The Daily Mail.