For Brazil, World Cup success fuels hope for more tourists at Rio Olympics

August 22, 2014

Mimi Whitefield – Miami Herald, 8/21/2014

During the World Cup, more than 1 million international visitors flocked to Brazil — far exceeding pre-tournament expectations.

That wasn’t the only thing topsy-turvy about the world’s biggest sporting event. The Brazilian soccer team was a pre-Cup favorite and many expected Brazil would flub at organizing the June 15-July 15 event. Instead, Brazil was routed in the semifinals and got high marks for its hosting efforts.

Now it hopes to take some of the lessons it learned from organizing a successful World Cup as it barrels full-speed ahead in preparing for its next mega sporting event: the 2016 Rio Olympics.

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Brazilian national team brings in 13 new players after disastrous World Cup

August 20, 2014

Nick Schwartz – USA Today Sports, 8/19/2014

Although the host country managed to finish fourth, the World Cup was an unmitigated disaster for the Brazilian national team. After an embarrassing 7-1 loss to Germany 7-1 in the semifinal after a crucial injury to Neymar, the Brazilians bowed out with a lifeless 3-0 loss to The Netherlands in the third-place game. Manager Luiz Felipe Scolari resigned, and it was clear that changes to the squad were needed.

1994 World Cup winner Dunga took over as manager for the second time in his career — he managed Brazil from late 2006 to 2010, when he was fired after the World Cup in South Africa — and he announced a complete overhaul to the team Tuesday. Brazil will come to the United States in September for friendlies against Colombia and Ecuador, but just 10 players remain from the 23 that played in this summer’s World Cup.

Neymar, Oscar, David Luiz, Hulk, Ramires, Willian, Fernandinho, Luiz Gustavo, Maicon and Jefferson remain.

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Brazil’s World Cup Hangover: A Shrinking Economy

August 18, 2014

Meagan Clark – International Business Times, 8/15/2014

Economic activity in Brazil fell sharply in June, the latest sign indicating Latin America’s largest economy could be slipping into a light recession with a presidential election two months away.

The Brazilian central bank’s index of economic activity fell 1.5 percent in June from May after seasonal adjustments, the bank said Friday, the fifth consecutive monthly decline and the worst since summer 2013.

Brazil’s tourism ministry estimated the World Cup attracted a million foreign tourists for the soccer tournament to Brasilia in June, injected $13.2 billion into the country’s economy (about the same the country invested for preparation) and created 1 million jobs. But Brazil’s labor ministry reported the worst job creation in June since 1998. Labor Minister Manoel Dias has partially blamed the World Cup, saying it caused “a drastic drop in consumption” that led to less working days and less hiring, the Wall Street Journal reported from Brasilia.

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After World Cup, Brazil’s refugees host their own games

August 11, 2014

Jill Langlois – Fortune, 8/11/2014

The first ever Refugees World Cup took place in early August, with 200 people representing 16 countries.

Jean Katumba is sitting at a school-style chair and fold-down desk. As he leans back in his seat, he chats with the 10 or so other people who have formed a circle in the middle of a plain white room at the offices of Caritas, an organization in São Paulo that helps refugees upon their arrival in Brazil. There is a low hum of voices and sporadic laughter as the group waits for the meeting to start.

Caritas is always teeming with people who need help with things like documentation, housing, and employment, but today’s meeting has nothing to do with the necessities. This small group of refugees has gathered to discuss the organization of the first ever Refugees World Cup.

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Rio 2016 Head Says Olympics Won’t Repeat World Cup Pains

August 5, 2014

Tariq Panja – Bloomberg, 8/4/2014

After delays and cost overruns marred the buildup to the soccer World Cup in Brazil, the head of the country’s effort to host the 2016 Summer Olympics says the goal is to show a different image to the world.

Brazil hosted the month-long World Cup without any major hitches, with spectators packing stadiums to watch a tournament that featured high-scoring games and drama all the way to Germany’s 1-0 win against Argentina in the championship match at Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana stadium on July 13. What preceded the event was far less smooth, however.

Almost every one of the 12 stadiums being used for the $11 billion tournament ended up being over budget and missed deadlines for completion, including the Sao Paulo Arena that was still being painted on the day it hosted the tournament opener on June 12. That embarrassed Brazil and raised fears about what kind of event athletes and visitors will witness when Rio hosts the Olympics in exactly two years.

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Ghanaian asylum seekers granted a year stay in Brazil

August 5, 2014

Ghana Web, 8/4/2014

The Ghanaian fans seeking asylum in Brazil after the 2014 World Cup have been granted an initial one-year stay in the country.

The over 200 Ghanaian supporters applied for asylum in Brazil under the reported pretext of a religious conflict in the West African state after Ghana’s first round exit from the World Cup.

Ghana’s Sports Ministry is yet to get a response from the findings expected to be made through investigations to be carried out by the Ghanaian embassy in Brazil.

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OPINION: Brazil’s new goals

August 5, 2014
Ben Blackwell – Recharge News, 8/4/2014
The World Cup is over, but the Brazilian decade is not. Events on the football pitch meant that although the tournament was considered one of the best ever by foreigners, it will not be remembered so fondly by Brazilians.

The coming weeks are likely to see further turbulence as October’s presidential election approaches. There could be a resurgence of the pent-up dissatisfaction that came to the surface in June 2013, while the current political leadership is in for a rough ride at the polls.

But none of this will derail Brazil’s rise to prominence on the world stage, or the steady economic growth underlying this ascent. Indeed, the protests mark the arrival of an assertive, confident middle class that expects better services in exchange for its relatively high taxes. The process won’t always be pretty, but better governance and a fairer country will eventually emerge.

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