The beautiful game – soccer (or football for you non- North Americans, you guys are cool too) is fast approaching its once-every-four-years Battle Royale. The FIFA World Cup 2014, hosted this time around by Brazil from12th June to 13th July, is around six weeks away. The world eagerly awaits what the stars will be capable of when the descend down to Brazil. While you wait, here are a few historical facts, figures, trivia and odd tidbits about the FIFA World Cup 2014.

Guess the total number of winners of the FIFA World Cup – Eight. That’s right, out of 207 registered nations with FIFA, only eight have countries have won the FIFA world cup. The 2014 edition in Brazil will be the 20th occasion the World Cup will be held. So far, the current hosts Brazil have won it five times already. Italy has won it four times so far, perennial powerhouse Germany have won it thrice, and Uruguay have won the first two editions of the world cup. Argentina has won it twice, and France, England and Spain have all won it once. Incidentally, Brazil is considered as a favorite to win it all at home this time around, with current odds from various bookmakers averaging out at 3-1 (so, pretty sure-fire favorites in my book too).

The world watches – The final match of the 2006 World Cup, the epic clash between France and Italy which saw French legend Zinedine Zidane infamously get sent off for headbutting Italian defender Marco Materazzi, was seen by an estimated 715.1 million people on television sets the world over. The final of the 2010 edition between the Netherlands and Spain was seen by 909.6 million viewers all over the world. Here’s hoping the hit the big B (a.k.a a billion viewers) this time around.

Technological advances in the game – Goal line technology will be used during the FIFA world cup for the first time ever after partial acceptance from the soccer fraternity last year – the ever-popular English Premier League used it to great success last year, while German Football shunned it, only for the final of their cup tournament to be marred by a false-ruling on a goal-line incident. A total of seven cameras per goal will be used in this edition of the world cup. Can someone say photo-finish?

Kick about the Brazuca – This is the first time that the soccer fraternity was directly able to name the official ball to be used in the World cup. After a poll for the ball’s name was organized, Brazuca was picked by over one million voters over Bossa Nova and Carnavalesca as the name for the official ball.Adidas have been the official FIFA world cup ball manufacturer since 1970. The 32-panel leather ball was first introduced in the 1970 World Cup in Mexico (which was, incidentally, the first time the world cup was broadcast in color). The design still remains the definitive design for a soccer ball.
Costs for the hosts – Brazil has spent an estimated 3.5 billion USD just to renovate and reconstruct all their stadiums in preparation for the World Cup. The money spent on this edition of the World Cup by the Brazilian government is estimated to be 11 billion USD, more than three times the amount that was spent for the last World Cup hosted by South Africa. To put things in perspective, that’s enough money to travel around space 14,000 times. 14,000 times!!! Tell that to Neil deGrasse Tyson.

$$$ you’ll have to pay to see it live – Plan to see the World Cup live and in person? Then get ready to pay out of your pocket. A lot.The average cost for a hotel stay in Sao Paulo on opening day, i.e. on June 12th, is a whopping 282 USD. The average cost for a hotel stay in Rio de Janeiro on the night of the final, i.e., on July 13th, is 371 USD. Scratch that. The number is 514 USD if you plan to take an hour-long flight from Sao Paulo to Rio. The average ticket price you ask? Only 1,345 USD. That’s more than four times the average for an average ticket to an NCAA basketball game.

So how can you save up? Do your due research and diligence. Compare prices for everything. Every dollar saved counts. Travel with friends, and travel in a party. Save up on costs of hotel rooms, food and travel, and use KNCTR to save on phone calls.


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