Marcos, goalkeeper of 2002, retires

January 7th, 2012

Marcos, goalkeeper of the Brazilian team who won the World Cup 2002, announced his retirement, at age 38. He retires after a career of 20 years, playing only for one team: Palmeiras; the team informed that no other player will wear jacket #12, the one Marcos used to wear; also, there plans of building an statue of Marcos to be planted at the stadium of Palmeiras.

That Brazilian team of 2002 had a few stars, mostly Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Rivaldo.

However, I dare to say that Brazil would not be champion if Marcos weren’t there.

He didn’t appear much in the first games, because Brazil had a good defense (this is the specialty of the then Brazilian coach, Felipão), with Lucio and Juan in the back, Gilberto Silva, Kléberson and Edmílson in the middle defense.

However, in the tough moments, Marcos was there. Brazil won Belgium (see here and here), but when the match was 0 x 0, Marcos made spectacular defenses. And, most important, in the final match against Germany, also when the match was 0 x 0, again Marcos was there; had the Germans scored first, they would probably win.

Winning a World Cup depends on details; in 2002, the winning detail of Brazil was Marcos.

Marcos was never a media star, CBF won’t organize a farewell match, like it did for Ronaldo; but Marcos had the recognition of all Brazilians, for being a good goalkeeper with and excellent character.


Brazil wins Sub 20 South America

February 21st, 2011

This blog has been a little abandoned lately, and the reason for such had been forewarned by FIFA’s General Secretary almost a year ago: Brazil only starts to work after Carnival (and in 2011 the Carnival will be from 5th through 8th March).

Little happened these past few months (this latest status is still up to date). The news about the World Cup 2014 are more in the negative side than the positive one. To mention a few: Sao Paulo is still struggling to define which stadium will host matches in the city; the new President Dilma Rousseff announced a R$ 50 billion cut in the federal budget, and the effects on the World Cup works are still to be known.

But there is a good news: Brazil was the champion of the South America Cup for players Under 20; Brazil won Uruguay by 6×0 on February 13th. Below, the goals.

By winning, the team guaranteed a place in the Olympic Games of 2012 in London; there, they will be joined by other more experienced players, for the limit age to participate in the Olympics is 23.

What was the champion team? Actually, I looked around the internet for the line-up of the team, but I couldn’t find. There is a consensus, though, that the main Brazilian players were Lucas, from Sao Paulo FC, and Neymar, from Santos FC, both aged 18.

Neymar wasn’t a surprise; in 2010, there was a clamour in favour of  the participation of Neymar and his co-player Ganso in the South Africa Cup.

Lucas, on the other hand, was unknown to most until recently; his good performances earned him the privilege of getting more attention from coach Mano Menezes.

Brazil will not play Qualifying for the World Cup 2014, so the team must take advantage of tournaments to assess its potential. So far, the principal team lost the only two important matches played, namely against Argentina and against France.

Things are not looking very bright.


World Cup 2014 – current status

December 2nd, 2010

Today, FIFA announced the countries which will host the World Cup of 2018 (Russia) and of 2022 (Qatar).

Inspired by that event, many people are searching for information about the World Cup 2014 in Brazil.

So, follows a  brief description of the situation as of today, December 2nd 2010:

The host cities were announced in May of 2009. FIFA and the Brazilian Federation chose 12 cities as hosts: Rio de JaneiroSao Paulo, Brasília, Belo Horizonte, Curitiba, Porto Alegre, Salvador, Recife, Fortaleza, Natal, Manaus and Cuiaba.

The first match of the Cup should be on June 13th 2014 (a Friday), and the final match on July 13th 2014 (a Sunday). It will be winter in Brazil, but weather will be fine in most of the cities.

Qualifyings haven’t started yet. Brazil is the only country with a secured place in 2014.

Nothing has been officially said about how tickets will be sold.

None of the twelve stadiums is not even close to being ready. It is not official yet, but it is certain that the final match of the Cup will be in Maracanã. São Paulo, the city with the best infrastructure in Brazil, will probably host the opening match (this assuming that this stadium will be ready by then; Morumbi is definitively ruled out).

While stadiums are delayed, the biggest concern is with the infrastructure, particularly the aiports; several organizations have issued warnings about the bottlenecks in Brazilian airports – see here, here and here.

FIFA and the Brazilian LOC say that they are confident that everything will be ready for 2014.


Charming Hotels in Brazil

September 30th, 2010

With the fast growth of tourism in Brazil, the number of people looking for accommodation with high levels of comfort, personalized services, unique decoration, discrete location (the so called Charming Hotels) is also growing.

Roteiros de Charme (Tours of Charm) is the private association which congregates the Charming Hotels in Brazil. The past year alone, more than one hundred hotels applied to join the group; however, only two of them were approved.

Hotel Villa Bahia (photo) is located in Pelourinho, heart of the Historic Center of Salvador (itself a charming World Heritage Site), in the State of Bahia; two old mansions of the 17th and 19th Century were refurbished to give place to the hotel. There are only 17 suites (with acoustic insulation), swimming pool and a terrace with a view to the Pelourinho.

The other new member of the Charming Hotels is Pousada do Engenho (Pousada = Inn; Engenho = old farm), in the city of São Francisco de Paula, about 120 km distant from Porto Alegre, in the State of Rio Grande do Sul.

The Charming Hotels are spread across 13 States of Brazil; there is at least one hotel in 10 of the 12 cities which will host matches of the World Cup 2014. Salvador and Porto Alegre, mentioned above, are two of the host cities; Brasilia and Cuiaba are the two host cities with no hotels.

Below, a sample of other Charming Hotels in Brazil.

Hotel Rosa dos Ventos, Teresopolis, Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro. None of the hotels is in the capital city. Hotel Rosa dos Ventos (photo above), in the Imperial city of Teresópolis, is the oldest member of the club (Teresópolis is where the Brazilian Confederation maintains a training center). See more hotels in Rio de Janeiro.

Sao Paulo. Likewise, no hotel in the capital city. Chateau La Villette, up the mountains of Campos do Jordão (120 km from the capital) has been Charmful since 2000. See more hotels in Sao Paulo.

Belo Horizonte. No hotel in the city. Solar da Ponte, in the Historic city of Tiradentes, is a good option. Check out hotels in Belo Horizonte.

Curitiba. Only one hotel: La Dolce Vitta, less than half an hour drive from Arena da Baixada, the stadium which will stage matches in the city. See other hotels in Curitiba.

Recife. There are three hotels near Recife, and all deserve mention. Pousada do Amparo is located in Olinda, which exhalates History, culture, music and party in every corner. Pousada Zé Maria and Pousada Teju-Açu are the best accommodation options in Fernando de Noronha, a paradisiac island off the Brazilian coast, still unknown to foreign tourists, but a favorite among Brazilians. See other hotels in Recife and other hotels in Noronha.

Natal. Two hotels. Manary is in the capital, Natal, and Toca da Coruja is in Pipa beach. See other hotels in Natal and hotels in Pipa.

Fortaleza. The only charming hotel in the state of Ceara is Orixás Hotel, about 120 km from the capital Fortaleza. See other hotels in Fortaleza.

Manaus. Anavilhanas Lodge, right in the middle of the jungle, about 180 km down the river from the capital Manaus. See other hotels in Manaus.


How much FIFA pays to volunteers who work in the World Cup

September 27th, 2010

Several people have been coming to this website looking for information about volunteer work in the World Cup 2014; unfortunately, there is little to be said (when applications will start, what criteria will be used, which skills will be demanded, etc), because neither FIFA nor the Brazilian Local Committee have published any information about the topic yet.

However, it may be of interest for potential volunteer to read this post about the experiences of Lilian Oliveria, a Brazilian architect who worked as a volunteer in the FIFA World Cup 2010. According to her, there was a lack organization in planning and executing the work of volunteers.

Lilian starts by informing that FIFA sends a Letter to International Volunteers, which would be a kind of contract between FIFA, the volunteers and the Local Committee. The image below shows a piece of such Letter.

According to this part of the Letter, all international volunteers would receive an uniform. “The Programme request you to please adherence to the uniform policy as it is imperative. The Policy will be available in the Volunteer Training Manual.”

According to the Brazilian volunteer, because of the lack of organization of the World Cup 2010, some volunteers didn’t receive a complete set of uniforms; besides, none of the volunteers received gloves, despite the intense cold.

Matters were even worse when it comes to the payment of the compensation. The Letter stated that international volunteers would receive an stipend of RSA 100 per day on duty, to be paid at the end of the event; that amount converts to about US$ 15 or € 11.

However, until September 24th, more than two months after the end of the World Cup 2010, Lilian had not received her payment.

Some volunteers were paid still in South Africa, but the payment method varied according to the location (some were paid by debit card, some had direct deposits, some were paid in cash). Those who were paid in Johannesburg complained that they were deducted income tax (even though the law determines events related to the World Cup should not be taxed). Some people also complained that even the food was charged.

Lilian informs that not even the Certificate of Participation had been sent; according to the Organization, “certificates had already been posted”.


WC 2014 Qualifying Draw will be in Rio de Janeiro

September 10th, 2010

FIFA officials are visiting Brazil this week; Secretary General Jerome Valcke has met with members of the Local Organising Committee and Government officials to get updates on the World Cup 2014.

CBF has announced that the draw which will define the qualifying groups for the World Cup 2014 will be held in July of 2011 in the city of Rio de Janeiro (which was the only candidate city to host the event). This is one of the most visited events of the World Cup, as it is attended by representatives and journalists from more than 202 countries which participate in the Qualifying.

Rio’s Mayor wanted to host the draw at the yet to be finished Cidade da Música (City of Music), but FIFA vetoed the place; a new place is yet to be defined.

According to sources, FIFA would be considering to establish the International Broadcasting Center of the World Cup 2014 also in Rio, more specifically at the Centro de Convenções Sul America (South America Convention Center), which is located just 2 km from Maracanã.

Still according to sources, FIFA and the Government of Rio would have decided to setup one of the bigger TV centers of the Cup in the Aterro do Flamengo, so that the images of Pão de Açúcar and the Guanabara Bay would appear in the background images of the reports.

However, other cities also have interested in hosting the IBC and the TV Center, as these centers attract a lot of professionals involved with the Cup (hence, generating a lot of business in infrastructure and in services, such as hotels). The main rival of Rio is São Paulo, but Brasilia, Salvador and Belo Horizonte are also interested.

And it is to Sao Paulo that Valcke and staff are heading next. Among several other business decisions, FIFA has yet to confirm whether the new Corinthians Itaquera Arena will host the opening of the Cup (or even if Sao Paulo will continue a host city at all).


Neymar stays in Brazil

August 23rd, 2010

A few weeks ago, Neymar, player of Santos FC and a rising star of the Brazilian team, had offers to move to Chelsea; a few days ago, Neymar declared that he would decline Chelsea’s offer and would stay in Brazil.

Was Neymar naive? Far from it.

According to rumours (leaks?), Chelsea offered to pay £55,000 per week, which converts to about R$ 600,000 per month. While Neymar was carefully thinking over it, Santos FC was looking for sponsors who would help pay his salary.

Neymar had a raise, and now his salary will be R$ 600,000 per month (only Ronaldo, in Corinthians, has a higher salary in Brazil – R$ 1 million per month); in January 2010, his salary had been raised to R$ 125,000; in March 2009, he had had a raise to R$ 80,000. Probably the quickest raise in Brazilian football, ever.

Besides, Santos will now provide assistance to his family (Neymar’s sister was promised a job). And, of course, in the near future, Neymar will appear in the National Team, with all the merchandising fruits that it bears; even being ruled out from the World Cup 2010, Neymar starred several commercials in Brazil – including giants Nike (movie below), Seara (food processor, one of the FIFA partners) and Telefónica, among others.

What would he get by going to Chelsea? Salary would be the same. Merchandising opportunities would be fewer. And worse of all, Neymar doesn’t speak any English, he never left the country, he never had contact with the formality, the punctuality, the food of Britain, and would face serious troubles to adapt to Chelsea; for these same reasons, Neymar’s friend, Robinho, was not nearly as successful in England as he was in Brazil (by the way, Robinho declared that he wished to stay in Santos, and only returned to Manchester City to comply with his contract).

It was a clever decision.


Members of the Local Organising Committee LOC of the World Cup Brazil 2014

August 20th, 2010

Lancenet, one of the most influential sports website in Brazil, published yesterday a report about the Local Organising Committee of the World Cup 2014.

The members of the LOC were all chosen by the President of CBF, Ricardo Teixeira: Joana Havelange, Teixeira’s daughter (Teixeira is son in law of Joao Havelange, who was President of FIFA from 1974 to 1998); Francisco Mussnich, Teixeira’s lawyer; Mario Rosa, Teixeira’s advisor in Brasilia, helped Teixeira while he was responding to a Probing Comission before the Brazilian Senate, in 2001); Rodrigo Paiva, spokesman of CBF; and economist Carlos Langoni, former President of the Central Bank of Brazil.

The report informs that, due to attrition, Rosa and Langoni have quit, and were not replaced; still according to the report, other partners of Mussnich report to the LOC, including an architect, who would be consultant on stadiums matters.

In the World Cup 2010, the LOC was composed by the members of the South Africa Government and of National and Regional Football Federations; in Germany 2006, the LOC was composed primarily by members of the German Government (Franz Backenbauer was appointed by the Government to head the German LOC), with some participation of the Federations; in 2002 Japan and Korea, the LOC had members from the Governments, the Federations and some big corporations (LG and Hyundai) – the Japanese LOC confronted FIFA over ticket prices and accommodation matters.

Lancenet conducted a survey asking Brazilians whether they agreed with this method of managing the World Cup 2014; 33% said that they would prefer a 3-parties (Government, Federations and the Civil Society); most didn’t know or didn’t care.

Fact is that few Brazilians know who is going to pay for the Cup, and who is going to profit. Most Brazilians only care about the result of the matches of the Brazilian team.

CBF is a private entity and, as such, is not obliged to open its financial records to the public. According to this Federal Representative, CBF will receive US$ 420 million from FIFA (let alone the proceedings it will collect from marketing partnres), and nobody knows what is going to happen with that money. On the other hand, it is well known that the Brazilian Government will spend lots of cash to fund the World Cup.


Taxis in Brazil

August 6th, 2010

The buses systems of the main Brazilian cities are not reliable. In most cities, urban trains barely exist. The metro is the most reliable means of transportation, but the grid is not as comprehensive as they should.

Foreing tourists will probably have to resort to taxis. Brazilian taxi systems in the large cities are usually reasonably organized (much better organized than in South Africa).

Taxis are uniformly painted (in Rio, they are yellow with a blue band – see photo, but that isn’t a norm), and a (usually expensive) license is required – and the legal drivers don’t hesitate to weed out the illegal taxis.

Taxi Fares (in Portuguese, Tarifas de Taxi) have three components: a starting fare, a fare per kilometer and a fare per idle time (the latter starts counting as soon as the speed falls below a certain treshold); values vary from city to city.

A site was created to estimate Taxi Fares in the major Brazilian cities (including all host cities of the WC 2014). According to the authors, effort is made to keep the values updated.

Notice that during the night, weekends and, in most cities, all through the month of December, a special fare applies (in Portuguese, it is called Bandeira 2).

Notice also that in certain places, particularly airports and interstate bus terminals, the fare is fixed (depending only on the destination) and paid before boarding the vehicle.

Finding English speaking taxi drivers is an exception, rather than the norm. If you come across a driver who looks helpful and speaks languages, grab his card.


Arena Corinthians Itaquera

August 5th, 2010

The site Copa 2014 published today information about the new Arena Corinthians Itaquera. The idea of building this arena is not new; there were notes about it a year ago and again a few months ago.

The difference now is that an actual project was presented to the President of Corinthians, by Architecture Office Castro Mello (who also projected the National Stadium in Brasilia).

Credit of Images: Castro Mello Arquitetos.

The venue of the World Cup in Sao Paulo is still undefined. Morumbi was supposed to be the venue, but Sao Paulo FC is not willing to make the necessary investments.

This new Arena would be built in the neighbourhood of Itaquera, in the Eastern end of the city of Sao Paulo, where Corinthians owns a large area. The stadium would have connection to the Corinthians station of the Metro, which would  help solve many accessibility problems faced by other stadia.

The stadium would have capacity of 55,000 seats. By installing retractable modules, the capacity could be expanded to 65,000, which would permit the stadium to host the opening match of the Cup.

Estimated cost is R$ 400 million (the estimated cost for renovation of Morumbi was R$ 650 million). The projects (including licenses) would take eight months, and the works would take two years.

According to Copa 2014, Grupo Advento would find the necessary fundings. In return, the group would have a share of the revenues from the stadium for a period of ten years – and after that, Corinthians would still receive R$ 200 million in cash.

If Corinthians can really obtain fundings, the project has very good chances to be approved by CBF.