It’s finally here, folks! Let’s forget all the controversies, the protests and the social problems in Brazil for now, and enjoy the World Cup as it should be — a pure sporting spectacle where teams battle for pride and glory as if their life depended on it.
As the countdown begins for the greatest show on earth, let’s give the host country a break and not judge it too harshly for its various sins of omission and commission. Instead, let’s savor the coming-out party and allow the football-crazy nation to have its moment under the sun.
The opening ceremony on Thursday in Sao Paulo promises to be a scorcher, with a cast of more than 600, including dancers, gymnasts, stilt-walkers and capoeira performers, set to show off their skills.
Also, performing at the Arena Corinthians will be Jennifer Lopez, who has apparently reversed an earlier decision to skip the opening concert.
Lopez will render the official song of the World Cup, ‘We Are One’ (Ole Ola), which also features vocals by Pitbull and the Brazilian pop star Claudia Leitte, according to The Guardian newspaper.
Adding to the excitement, a total of 21 world leaders, including Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Germany’s Angela Merkel, have confirmed they will travel to Brazil for the World Cup.
Among those attending the opening match between Brazil and Croatia on Thursday will be UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and 11 heads of state and government.
Meanwhile, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has asserted that her country is ready and eager to welcome the world.
“The pessimists said we were not going to have the [World] Cup because we would not have the stadiums, but the stadiums are there and they are ready,” Rousseff said on Tuesday, dismissing criticism of the massive cost — said to be over US$11 billion — of staging the event.
Brazil will continue to reap the benefits of the infrastructure projects long after the World Cup competition ends in mid-July, she said.
Ok, let’s give her the benefit of the doubt for now, and focus on the big show. After all, one cannot dispute that no one knows how to throw a party better than the Brazilians.
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