World Cup 2014 – How did it go?


So long, and thanks for all the football…


Well, that’s that then. The World Cup 2014 is over. All the worries and concerns about whether the tournament would be a success can be laid to rest because this thing is over.

How do you think it went? Sadly, through an overabundance of work, I didn’t get to attend any of the matches in any of the stadiums, but I was out and about on the streets of Rio throughout the tournament and also met a huge number of tourists who were in town specifically for the World Cup. Here’s my take on the tournament:

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World Cup 2014: What to do if you don’t have tickets for a Brazil World Cup game…


The Rio Metro on World Cup game day.


Well, it’s World Cup 2014 game day again and the nerves are jangling here at Eat Rio HQ. Personally I’ve been fairly confident on Brazil’s behalf for all of the preceding games, but Mrs Eat Rio has been a bag of nerves from day 1. But going up against Germany in the semi-final of the World Cup? Well, let’s just say I have some painful memories

The game today will be played in Belo Horizonte in Minas Gerais, but what should you do if you’re in Rio and want to get the big game atmosphere? How about walking through Cardeal Arcoverde metro station on the way to the Fanfest in Copacabana? Here’s how it went down in Brazil’s most recent game against Colombia:

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World Cup 2014 – Penalties on the beach



Phew! I’ve finally managed to find time to write a new post. I would like to post more often, but things have been ridiculously busy over the last month – I’ve been working 7 days a week with a mixture of food tours and writing assignments. So far my new career as freelance writer and food guide is going well and although I’m looking forward to having a little break, it feels good to be this busy.

Eat Rio Food Tours have been going really well and I am now up to number 38 in TripAdvisor’s list of Activities in Rio – take a look at some of the lovely things people have been saying.

Anyway, enough random talk, let’s get back to the football shall we? Last Saturday Brazil took on Chile in their first knock-out game and I decided to go out on assignment to capture the drama of the occasion (of course I had no idea quite how dramatic things would be). In the photo above you can see that the bar near Eat Rio HQ was taking things very seriously.

I hopped on the metro and was almost immediately absorbed into a group of Brazilians on their way to the big screens on Copacabana beach:

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Watching Brazil vs Mexico


Casa Alto Vidigal is a hostel and bar sitting right at the top of the Vidigal favela.


Well, Brazil have played 2 games now and I think it’s fair to say that most people have been pretty underwhelmed. So far there have been no dominant displays and no goleadas – just a feeling that something isn’t quite clicking when the team get out on the field.

I have a few Mexican friends living here in Rio, and they had all decided to watch the game at Casa Alto Vidigal, a hostel/bar at the very top of Vidigal favela. The journey would normally take a little over an hour, so I gave myself a little over 2 hours and set off on my journey. Within minutes I received messages from other friends who were also trying to get to Vidigal – everyone was telling me that the traffic was the worst they’d ever seen in Rio.

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World Cup 2014 day 1: post-match


On my way to the game, I saw that even the dogs were getting in on the act.


Well, things didn’t quite go as scripted for Brazil: an underwhelming performance, an own goal, a very dubious penalty decision and many people saying that Neymar should have received a red card. However, the score finished 3-1 and Brazil have the expected 3 points.

I was planning to watch the game at the FIFA Fanfest on the beach in Copacabana, so I hopped on the bus. I decided to stop off in Ipanema first to see what the World Cup atmosphere was like. With just a couple of hours to kick off, the beaches were eerily empty.


Where is everybody? Getting comfortable in front of a TV somewhere…

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World Cup 2014 – Day 1


This was the scene on the beach in Ipanema yesterday. Mostly cloudy with the beaches fairly quiet. Was this a bad omen?


Well, after all the anticipation, speculation, worry and protest, the day has finally dawned. Day 1 of the World Cup 2014. Yesterday was my first chance to get out of the house and wander the streets of Ipanema to see how things looked and I have to say it didn’t look great.

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Are Brazilians capable of organising a Mega-Event?


Yesterday I stumbled across an article in the New York Times, Brazil Is Tired of Being Scolded, which takes issue with the criticism that FIFA and the IOC have been directing at Brazil recently. The article’s author, Vanessa Barbara, is upset with what she sees as the condescending tone from ‘Mummy’ (FIFA) and ‘Daddy’ (IOC), and quips that Brazil may soon be grounded by its ‘parents’.

Well, I guess patriotism can make us all say strange things from time to time, but for me, this article is not only incoherent, but also rather depressing.



Barbara appears to be taking all this criticism very personally, while at the same time listing all the failings and injustices that the people of Brazil have suffered at the hands of their incompetent government. Now I’m no fan of FIFA or the IOC, but the criticism they are making is not of the Brazilian nation/people – it’s of the organisers of these events, in other words the government.

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Protests in Brazil: What Pelé has to say

Ah FIFA – if anyone in Brazil (or any other nation for that matter) is undecided on how they feel toward the international governing body of football, I’d like to ask where you’ve been hiding for the past 5 years. From levels of corruption that would make even the Sarney family blush, to the aggressive imposition of exclusive sponsorship deals that are completely at odds with both the local culture and also the spirit of the game they purport to represent, this is one organisation that it is tough not to despise.

From a thoroughly dislikeable institution to a well-loved legend of Brazilian football – Pelé.


Edson Arantes do Nascimento – Pelé. One of the greatest footballers of all time and still Brazil’s the top scorer.


Since his retirement, Pelé he has been involved in all kinds of projects, from adverts for erectile dysfunction treatments to UNESCO Goodwill ambassador. However, most of us know Pelé because he was an unbelievable footballer, and as such he brings with him an enormous amount of goodwill.

Being such a popular figure he was an obvious choice to represent the CBF (Brazilian Football Confederation) and FIFA in promoting the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. And it seems that his ties with FIFA and CBF run deep. Whilst even players in the current Brazil team (such as Hulk and Dani Alves) have admirably spoken up in support of the protesters and their causes, Pelé came out with this:

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