Monocolumn

A daily bulletin of news & opinion

27 June 2014

I don’t want to sound smug about it – but we did it. After an incredible barrage of negative coverage, everybody was expecting carnage during the World Cup in Brazil including many of my fellow Brazilians. But what we’ve seen so far is possibly one of the most exciting World Cup competitions of recent times.

From what I hear from tourists and my friends in Brazil there have been, of course, some infrastructural problems here and there but reaching the stadiums has not been an endurance test. Certainly there are those complaining about high prices but this is a lesser concern than the alternatives many feared – major protests in the streets and crime, too.

I’m counting down the days until I head to Brazil to join the party. I’m going there in a week, ready for the final stages of the event and I have a feeling I will not be disappointed. Every time I see the crowds on TV I feel excited and want to be there as soon as possible.

Brazil is proving to be a good host. Even with a lack of English speakers in many places, a willingness to help combined with inviting body language seems to be working just fine. In fact, when it comes to body language things are going very well indeed. With 600,000 foreigners arriving in the country, the dating app Tinder has increased its coverage in the country by 50 per cent. Some of my friends have found love already.

In that sense the World Cup is more than just a football event organised by an allegedly somewhat corrupt organisation. I really hope FIFA sorts out its problems but for Brazil itself we can’t deny the positive soft-power impact that the event is having.

It’s interesting how the World Cup has not become a political football in Brazil like many expected. Yes, there was some booing for president Dilma during the opening match but that was in São Paulo where usually the middle classes and rich direct antipathy towards the Worker’s Party anyway. I dare say that whether Brazil wins or loses the World Cup, its effects on October’s presidential elections will be minimal. But if the event continues with this run of positive stories it certainly won’t hurt the President's chances.

Fernando Augusto Pacheco is a researcher for Monocle 24.

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