There is nothing like Samba football: attacking flare, style, and grace and let’s not forget that Brazil is the birthplace of the great Pele. I have always been a fan of Brazil. My father’s infectious enthusiasm after seeing a young Pele play in the late 1960s definitely contributed to this. My first recollection of Brazil is the great World Cup side of 1970 – I’m itching to see them in action again.Even if you are not a football fan you have to acknowledge the World Cup. World Cup fever even crosses the pond to America, despite the USA having a limited national identity when it comes to soccer. What is it about this beautiful game that has such a power over us all? Why is it so important?Football is not going to cure cancer, but it may just help bring nations together for better mutual understanding. There is nothing like a great sporting competition to bring out the greatness of individuals. Picture the scenes across the globe later tonight – bars will be packed out, living rooms will be full with the entire family crowded around the TV. Where else do we get that kind of unity? That collective sense of purpose?No other sporting event has the same impact as the World Cup. Entire countries come to a halt to watch games, classes are halted, board meetings are rearranged, and even politicians jump on the bandwagon. This tournament attracts hundreds of millions of fans and there is enormous interest in sponsorship, which has a strong impact on the world economy.There is a misconception that the World Cup has a positive impact on the host nation’s economy, but this is just not true. The fact is host nations will be lucky to break even. However FIFA do very well, they made $1.9 billion from the World Cup held in South Africa.In my opinion, whether the World Cup improves the host nation’s economy or not is irrelevant. What matters is that for at least a month, the people of Brazil will be at the center of the football world and as a result, essentially the “center of the world”. You can’t buy that kind of awareness and publicity. Brazil have taken center stage and if they use this exposure wisely it could be inordinately beneficial for them in the long run.
“The rules of soccer are very simple: if it moves, kick it. If it doesn’t move, kick it until it does.”