Brazil 2014: One thousand days

January 1, 2000

With all that happens on the domestic scene early season, it has been some time since I have clicked on to the official FIFA web site. To keep tab on things international, I did so following our game against Aldershot. The World’s governing body are almost preoccupied with their flagship tournament and I was stuck with a leader headline ‘1000 days to go until Brazil 2014.’

I think it’s good that the World Cup Finals are to be played in Brazil, because that fine footballing nation have given us so much to admire over the years. Brazilian football fans deserve the opportunity to see their team in action against the World’s best, and on their own soil.

According to FIFA, Brazil is already starting to look like a country that is ready to host a FIFA World Cup. Stadiums that are either modernised or brand new are set to play host to Planet Football’s most spectacular performers spanning 12 Host Cities. I assume that the final will be played in Brasilia at the ‘Estadio National.’ Work on the stadiums continues to progress apace and even those venues that were experiencing difficulties at the start of this year, such as the Arena das Dunas and the Arena de Sao Paulo, are getting back on track in terms of the time frame established.

The Local organising Committee in Brazil, which was founded in January 2009, has been working hard for some time to ensure everything is in place come 2014. What is more, there have been a number of studies carried out on the match calendar, which will be announced in next month. The selection process for the Official Training Pitches is in its final phase. Across the country, a number of locations that could host National Team Training Centres are also undergoing thorough inspections, with an initial list of approved facilities to be unveiled later this year.

So it’s all looking very good then, but then there is the small matter of the Euro qualifiers and Finals between now and then.

How are we doing in Europe, and how are the national sides faring at this time? The FIFA site did help to answer this one with another leading headline, ‘Spain Regain Top amid Significant Movement.’ After just one month, the Netherlands (2nd, down 1 place) had to relinquish first place to Spain (1st place, up 1) on the September edition of the FIFA/Coca Cola World Ranking. With England having taken a tumble (8th, down 4), Cerrnany (3rd, unchanged) now sit directly above Uruguay (4th, up 1), who occupy their highest ever position on the global ladder. Other movers towards the summit were Portugal (5th, up 3), Italy (6th, up 1) and Brazil (7th, down 1); Brazil slipping a bit then but would you bet against them in 2014, especially on their own patch?

I can’t say that I have ever really understood the points ranking system but anyway, elsewhere in the top 50, Switzerland (18th, up 12), Bosnia-Herzegovina (22nd, up 17), Hungary (27th, up 18) and Armenia (44th, up 27) have all made good progress. Well done to them and outside the top fifty it is pleasing for all true Brits to see Wales also leap no less than 27 places to make the top 100 in 90th. The high level of movement in this latest ranking list is the result of 170 ‘A’ international matches, of which 109 were FIFA World Cup or continental qualifiers and 61 were friendlies. So there you have it but don’t ask me how it works. All I know is that the top four nations are very same top four as per the last World Cup in South Africa.

Thinking of South Africa, do you remember the United States coach? We are talking Bob Bradley and I think a lot of football people were impressed with the way that he prepared his team for the finals in 2010. On 15th September FIFA report that Bob put pen to paper on a deal to coach Egypt with the aim of taking the Pharoahs to the 2014 finals. Bradley was dismissed as USA coach in July this year after more than four years in charge and was replaced by Jurgen Klinsmann. I must say that I missed that! What odds on Egypt meeting the US in Brazil then? We shall see but of course they both have to get there first as do England et al.

Finally, on the FIFA site you will find ‘The Week in Quotes’ and how about this one from Sir Alex:

“[Rooney] has great courage, wants to play all the time and has incredible stamina. These are added extras to the talent he has. In terms of a Brazilian, you’d [liken him to] Pele. He was a very aggressive attacker also who could look after himself. So can Rooney. They have similarities that way: strength, speed, determination.”

There you are then, so what do they think of that in Brazil and further more what will they think of that in 2014? Time will tell but for the moment I for one, and thinking of South Africa, remain to be convinced.

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