World Cup - Group Stage Draw
World Cup - Group Stage Draw
BAHIA, BRAZIL — With all the negativity surrounding the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, it’s easy to forget what it was that brought the tournament here in the first place: soccer.
Before the concerns about infrastructure, stadiums, transportation, government distrust and overall cost of the world’s sporting event, there was the simply the game, and the Brazilians’ undying love for it.
On Thursday afternoon in Bahia, adidas gave me the official match ball for next summer’s World Cup. Little did I know that the ball would prove to be the apple in the eye of every Brazilian I met that day.
Every few feet, someone wanted to hold it and take a picture with it. A couple of local volunteers looked like they might cry when they had to part with it. You could see the unbridled joy in just the way people looked at what adidas is calling the “brazuca” – it’s like a holy grail to Brazilians.
There was the young girl who asked me if it was the “oficial brazuca,” and her jaw nearly dropping to the floor when I told her yes. And when she held it, she jumped around like it was Christmas morning.
There were the two children so small they could barely wrap their arms around it, beaming with delight as they desperately held on tight.
There was the waitress who, after a few minutes of gesturing and attempts to explain what she wanted, gave me her email so I could send her a copy of the photograph I took of her holding it.
There was the chef who took a break to come all the way out of the kitchen to the dining area just to hold, juggle and take a picture with the ball.
There was the cheeky little boy that jokingly tried to run off with it – twice.
Despite ever-growing concern and frustration with Brazil’s World Cup, the Brazilians’ excitement and joy from something as simple as the brazuca made it clear that if there is one thing this country can find happiness in, it’s soccer.
Sights from Brazil
She’s beautiful, isn’t she?
World Cup supplier adidas officially unveiled the ball for next summer’s extravaganza in an event at Parque Lage in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday.
The brazuca is different from any other previous World Cup ball in several ways. What you notice right away is that it consists of only six polyurethane panels, down from the Jabulani’s eight panels. This follows adidas’ trend of reducing the number of seams on their balls; adidas’ first World Cup balls consisted of thirty-two panels.
The six thermal-bonded panels are irregularly shaped, almost propeller-like, and are meant to produce faster flight speed, a more stable flight path and maintain true roundness. This should be music to the ears of goalkeepers and players who lambasted the Jabulani for its unpredictable flight path.
The surface texture of the ball is also new. The Jabulani was the first ball that featured tiny, raised nubs to improve traction and control in all weather conditions. The Brazuca also features these, but are round like on a basketball. The Jabulani’s nubs were more rectangular in shape. We’re not sophisticated enough to understand why, or even if, that makes much of a difference, though.
Then there’s the name itself, of course. For the first time ever, adidas let fans of the World Cup host nation name the ball. Millions of Brazilians turned out to vote, with “brazuca,” an informal word used by Brazilians to describe national pride, taking 77.8% of the vote. “Bossa Nova” was a distant second in the voting.
When adidas hosted media outlets at its World Cup kickoff event last month, we learned that their innovation lab already started developing the ball three years ago, and began testing the prototype just six months later. The brazuca thus became adidas’ most tested ball ever, with over 600 players involved throughout the process. The ball was also secretly tested at this year’s Under-20 World Cup.
The brazuca is adidas’ most tested ball of all time
All that hard work seems to have paid off. Many of the game’s top stars have already taken a liking to it. Take a look:
If you wish, you can also follow the ball’s journey to Brazil on Twitter:
— brazuca (@brazuca)
Images courtesy of adidas.
Sounds like official World Cup supplier Adidas will be a big hit at baby showers this week. According to the Associated Press, all babies born in the World Cup host nation this coming Tuesday will receive a free soccer ball!
Tuesday, of course, is the day Adidas unveils the new official World Cup ball, and the company says that the special giveaway is part of a marketing campaign based on the notion that every Brazilian is born with a soccer ball “by its feet.”
Next year’s World Cup ball is called the Brazuca, an informal word that represents national pride.
Adidas said Friday that parents of every baby born on the designated day will be entitled to redeem a Brazuca on Dec. 6 and 7 at sites in all 12 host cities, provided they present the child’s birth certificate.
The moment every Brazilian has been waiting for is finally here: the release of the Selecao’s World Cup kit.
You’re not going to believe this, but it’s yellow and green, with blue shorts and white socks:
The only notable difference from past shirts is the subtle V-neck look, though techies can nerd out over Nike’s use of 3D body-scanning. The torsos of every member of the Brazilian squad were measured to produce custom-fit shirts. Obviously regular folk won’t receive that benefit, but Nike’s best-selling international jersey is still set to make a killing, especially within the World Cup host country.
Brazil’s manager Luiz Felipe Scolari said, “The shirt looks great, the only thing missing is a sixth star. We aim to have that on there after the World Cup.”
…and then everyone will need to buy the updated kit.
Brazil last hosted a World Cup in 1950, and it was one that ended in unmitigated disaster for El Selecao.
Facing Uruguay in the final in front of 200,000 plus at Maracana Stadium, Brazil let a 1-0 lead slip away in what is considered one of the biggest upsets in football history. The memory haunts Brazilians to this day, and Puma is apparently looking to keep it that way.
In a brilliant piece of marketing, Uruguay’s official kit sponsor sent “The Ghost of 1950” (“El Fantasma del 50”) to Rio de Janeiro to remind Brazilians of their national nightmare. In the TV spot, you’ll find a couple fantastic shots of the ghost scaring the beejezus out of beach-goers and pedestrians.
All in good fun, unless Brazil suffer another heart-breaking loss to Los Charruas.
— PUMA Football (@pumafootball)
H/T Dirty Tackle
This latest Neymar story is one we certainly didn’t see coming, but this picture from the folks over at 101GG.com pretty much tells you all you need to know:
Yep. Those reportedly are vials of cocaine bearing Neymar’s picture. The purpose of putting the Brazilian wunderkind on the containers? Why, to indicate the quality is “great” of course, according to an arrested drug dealer.
We can only imagine what types of narcotics have a Pelé or Garrincha picture on them.
Just say no.
Pornography mogul Marc Dorcel found an avalanche of users eager to cash in on his bet. (Image provided by Getty)
There are a few things we learned when France dug themselves out of a huge hole and qualified for the World Cup against Ukraine:
First on the docket, one of France’s biggest pornography producers (so we’ve heard), Marc Dorcel. Owner of website of a mature nature, Dorcel offered to remove the pay wall on his site if France managed to qualify.
Once the final whistle blew and France were through, Dorcel’s site crashed in 45 seconds. To Dorcel and his staff’s credit, they tried to protect themselves against the droves of members looking for free content, but alas, accidents happen.
Of course, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise. We all know how guys react to free porn:
Ghislain Faribeault, Dorcel’s Vice President of Media, told the French press:
"Seeing the score change in a positive way, we started to try and beef up our servers and prepare for scalability. We decided this operation in a bit in a hurry. But we did not expect such a result!"
Luckily, it seems nobody left empty-handed. Dorcel’s company quickly set up additional website to help handle the load, and users got the free media they were assured.
Now, not to be outdone, French weathercaster Doria Tillier had a lot of the web wondering if she’d come through on her promise to do the weather in the buff once Les Bleus sealed their ticket to next year’s summer bash in Brazil.
Tillier has seen some time on the silver screen as well as the TV screen. (Image: Getty)
Well, Tillier came through on her promise. Indeed, scantily glad in nothing but a pair of boots, Tillier ran around a lush green field while cheering:
You didn’t really expect to SEE anything unmentionable, did you? It might be foreign TV, but there ARE standards of decency.
Speaking of decency, our favorite part of the video? The sound of nearby church bells ringing as Tillier frolics about. We’re hoping nobody saw anything too titillating.
Diego Costa’s national team allegiance had been a topic of much debate this past year. Many couldn’t imagine Costa, a born Brazilian, to pass on an opportunity to represent the Selecao and bring World Cup glory to the host nation, immortalizing himself in the process. But to the prolific striker, who has taken the world by storm this year with a flurry of goals for Atletico Madrid, felt that Spain had become his home, that Spain had given him everything in life. On October 29th this year, after having previously featured for Brazil in a pair of exhibition games, Costa ultimately announced he would play for Spain.
After the change of heart, Brazil manager Luiz Felipe Scolari, always of the belief Costa would play for him next summer, was incensed:
A Brazilian player who refuses to wear the shirt of the Brazilian national team and compete in a World Cup in your country is automatically withdrawn. He is turning his back on a dream of millions, to represent our national team, the five-time champions in a World Cup in Brazil.
To say Brazilians have not taken kindly to Costa’s choice is a severe understatement. A new advertisement for Brazilian car dealer Ceará Motor makes that all too clear. The tagline in the advert below contains the brutal tagline, “Unlike Diego Costa, this car fills Brazilians with pride”.
And that’s just the print version.
In the campaign’s latest radio ad, Brazil are beating Spain 1-0 in the World Cup final, when Spain gets awarded a last minute penalty to draw level. Of course, it’s Costa who steps up, and of course, he misses to the delight of listeners everywhere.
As Brazil are crowned, the commentator repeatedly shouts: “Chupa, Diego Costa!” meaning “Suck on that Diego Costa”. Subsequently, #ChupaDiegoCosta ended up trending on Twitter in Brazil.