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  • Stephen R A'Barrow


Well the first few matches have kicked off without a stadium collapsing or the world ending, therefore so far so good.

The opening ceremony, presented some comic moments but was more like watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on acid than Danny Boyle’s London 2012, with attendant ‘Umpa Lumpas’ and blue zombies from Omega man. Whoever decided to blow US$ 9 million on J-Lo and Pitbull, pissed that up the wall, as not only did the lift-thing that was supposed elevate them to the stage not work properly, you couldn`t make out the words or the music to Brazil`s 2014 World Cup anthem ‘We Are One (Ole, Ola)’. A good thing some commentators have been heard to say. :-)

My highlight of the opening ceremony was watching Claudia Leitte and J-Lo look as though there were about to get it on in those tight fitting shorts of theirs until they obviously thought the better of it. Pity, as for US$9 million you`d have expected more of a show, but then I guess it was on before the kids bedtime watershed. That and everyone loved the uproarious reception Brazil`s President, Dilma Rousseff, received, when she got a huge `BOOO` from the crowd when her picture came up on the big screen. No doubt she thought better of making an opening ceremony speech, as media reports had speculated that many in the crowd would turn their backs on her if she dared.

As for the rest; so far it’s the usual violence and mayhem, as well as police omni-shambles with police allegedly attempting to break up demonstrations with maximum violence using tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets. Just about enough to put one of the UK`s commentators at ease when protesters managed to crack the screen of the ITV commentary booth. Even they don’t like Adrian Chiles. It will be interesting to see what happens in protests continue to escalate.

I watched the opening game between Brazil and Croatia in the midst of a crowd of Anglo men and Brazilian wives and girlfriends. It was a nerve wracking event for the ladies, not helped by the piss-taking of the men, but Brazil managed to grind out a good result, with the help of some piss poor refereeing.

I`m also keenly waiting to see what both the foreign visitor totals turn out to be and what if any economic benefit hosting the World Cup will bring to an economy that once again currently has rising inflation and near zero growth.

A month is a long time in politics and even longer in a World Cup, so there`s all to play for and plenty to watch out for in the coming days and weeks.

With referendums in Germany and Switzerland both saying `Nein` to hosting another winter Olympics any time soon, FIFA in a stew over awarding Qatar the 2022 World Cup and ongoing protests at the current tournament in Brazil, this event could prove to be a turning point for both developed and developing nations wanting to host such major and painfully expensive spectacles in the future.

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