It looks like World Cups in football’s traditional nations are going to be few and far between.
The next eight years will see the build-up to Russia 2018 and Qatar 2022, both nations that are a little unknown in their football culture by the everyday man on the street.
Brazil, however, is a nation that we all recognise for it’s footballing prowess on the pitch, and the religious like status the country gives to the beautiful game. It is also on the other side of the World and currently costs around £2300 to get to from Heathrow. It’s certainly a stones throw away from packing up the car and heading across the Channel as many of us did during France ‘98.
So if you want to bring a touch of the classic Brazilian culture into your living room this summer as you watch the football carnival commence, here are five pretty easy tips and tricks to do so.
1) Put down the beer and pick up the Cachaca.
While FIFA may be desperate to get Budweiser into the stands of the World Cup’s stadia, the locals watching in the bars of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo may be sipping on something else, so maybe you should too.
Brahma Brazilian beer is nice, but to get you through those nervous penalty shootouts something a little stronger may be needed. Bring on the sugarcane rum, ice, lime and sugar, put them all together and you’ve got yourself a Caipirinha. The lime juice will refresh you and keep you cool in those tense moments, the sugar will give you the energy to get through those 2am kick-offs, and the rum will either put you in the party spirit for the evening, or will take the edge of the bitterness of defeat.
Learn to make them here and please drink responsibly.
2) Grab some yellow.
It’s wont come as a shock when Thursday night finally arrives and we see the Maracanå bathed in a sea of yellow shirts. The traditional colours of the Brazilian national team will be seen at every camera pan throughout the four and a half weeks of the tournament so get used to it. In fact, get some of your own.
No one has a problem with someone turning up to his or her 5-a-side game on a Thursday night in the Verde-Amarela, although it does put a little pressure on the wearer to do it justice. Cheap, classic and beautiful, Brazil shirts, t-shirts, jackets and the rest can be found on any high street so grab some to fit in with the locals in Rio.
3) Meat………lots of meat.
Anyone who has been to a Brazilian restaurant will know just how good it tastes, so rather than getting the Pizza’s in for the Italy game, or stocking up on the sauerkraut for Germany’s group games, grab some large chunks of meat and get the BBQ fired up.
Cooking guides can be found all over the Internet, while traditional finger food for mid-game snacking can be either the delicious Coxinhas (fried balls of chicken an cheese), or Acaraje (fried black eyed pea balls stuffed with shrimp).
It may take a little longer to prepare but if you want the South American feel it’s worth it.
4) Allow those who don’t enjoy football to protest in the other room.
This summer’s tournament will be given a backdrop of political strife and protest as much of the host nation exercise their right to protest the financial implications hosting the world cup is having on their country.
The tax breaks for FIFA, the billion pound investment and the cost of new stadiums that have no future after July, are all being called into question as many parts of the country struggle for job, healthcare and public transportation and the last 18-months have already seen plenty of violent protests against those in charge of hosting the tournament.
While the political movement in Brazil against the organization of the tournament is not something to be taken lightly, it is an atmosphere that can be recreated in the home by banishing those who are likely to complain that the TV is showing nothing but live football and highlight shows to another room and allowing them to complain away from the screen without interrupting the viewing pleasure of others.
5) Wake up everyday to Mas Que Nada by Sergio Mendes and Brazil ’66.
A piece of music that will always conjure up images of ‘that Nike advert’ from the mid-90s and has since been used as the unofficial anthem for Brazilian football in the media.
Easily found on digital download (just try to avoid the version that features the Black Eyed Peas) or on YouTube it’s the perfect way to get out of bed and immediately get your feet tapping to the samba rhythm.
Those who need to be patriotic can play ‘Three Lions’ by Baddiel and Skinner and the Lightning Seeds. Who doesn’t love the spin tingling chill that song gives to even the most apathetic England football fan.