A lot of Brazilians are excited for the World Cup… to be over


Civil police personnel gather and cheer in front of their headquarters while conducting a one-day strike last week in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Thousands of civil police across Brazil carried out the 24-hour strike to call for salary increases. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Brazilians are not looking forward to the World Cup, it seems. In response to an article outlining five sad and shocking Brazil World Cup corruption stories, one woman who identified herself as a resident of Brazil sent in a video clip of a “celebration” during a local soccer game in Rio, adding the warning, “The world needs to know that we are living in a war zone. The people live with fear.”

Another man wrote, “The corruption here in Brazil is out if control, we don’t have transportation or hospitals, the roads are horrible, crime is higher than ever.”

These e-mails aren’t anomalies. They’re accompanied by thousands of tweets tagged with #ImaginaNaCopa, or, “Imagine during the World Cup,” a sarcastic hashtag denouncing Brazil’s attempt to far to host the competition, which is set to begin in less than three weeks. Here are three samples.

The list of complaints goes on and on for the majority of Brazilians — a population that has grown less enthusiastic about the World Cup as the June 12 kick-off date grows closer.

A poll last month by Datafolha found 55 percent of Brazilian survey respondents believed the World Cup will bring “more losses than benefits…to Brazilians in general,” according to the Wall Street Journal. That is up from 44 percent in its previous survey last year.

The same poll found that the number of Brazilians who support the World Cup being held in their homeland dropped to 48 percent compared with 79 percent in late 2008.

USA Today offers up another anecdote about why:

“We’re going to receive even more people (during the tournament) than we do in high tourist season,” Kelly Farias, 30, an administrative assistant in an accounting office, said as she waited for her afternoon bus back home. Her morning bus, which usually comes every 10 minutes in the blue-collar Bangu neighborhood on Rio’s outskirts, had taken an hour that day.

“Those who come to see just Copacabana and the Christ statue think it’s great. They don’t see this,” she said as she waited in the stuffy underground terminal in Rio’s downtown. “It’s pretty, yes, but the structure is just not plausible to receive so many visitors.”

And now some Brazilians are just waiting for the World Cup to be over. USA Today writes:

“I hope Brazil loses in the first round,” said Maria de Lourdes, 39, a street vendor who participated in a recent anti-World Cup demonstration. She said the Brazilian team falling early would make locals lose their nationalistic goodwill toward the event. “Brazil, with all its problems, Rio with all its problems — many people still die from hunger while others are spending money on these games,” she said.

FIFA, meanwhile, is still trying to make the best of the increasingly concerning situation. Last week, the organization launched Football for Hope in Rio Favela. The program aims to support social development while promoting the sport.

If that doesn’t get locals excited for the competition, FIFA president Sepp Blatter thinks perhaps the sheer excitement of the game will. Via USA Today Blatter said: 

“I am sure now that, from the first kick of the ball at the opening match in Sao Paulo, Brazil will take on this atmosphere of soccer, samba, music and rhythm.”

Hopefully that rhythm isn’t accompanied by the ratatat of automatic gunfire…

Marissa Payne writes for The Early Lead, a fast-breaking sports blog, where she focuses on what she calls the “cultural anthropological” side of sports, aka “mostly the fun stuff.” She is also an avid WWE fan.
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