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Brazil 2014 – Worth It?

The World Cup is currently underway in Brazil. World champions Spain and perennial international failures England are already out of the competition whilst footballing minnows Costa Rica have upset the odds and qualified for the next round.

 

That is all very well and good but surely you are up to date with the football results? Instead we focus on Brazil itself, which has seen riots in the build-up to the tournament. So if Brazil win the World Cup, which they are favourites to do with bet365, will they manage to appease the unsettled?

Let us start with the reason for the unrest. One look at the surface of Brazil can be very deceiving. Its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) stands at over $2.422billion, placing the country in seventh place in the world for purchasing power parity, placing higher than European powerhouses France and Great Britain. On the other hand, it does not take much digging to discover Brazil is a place of polar opposites. Whilst the rich get richer the poorer, who are densely populated in numerous favelas across the country, are getting poorer.

Looking at the numbers and it becomes clear that the World Cup was the last thing Brazil needed. Without looking at the problems in the country alone it is clear that the whole construction process was handled woefully. There is running close to the wire and then there is not being ready, the stadia proposed by Brazil very nearly became the latter, despite six years of preparation.

The knock on effect of this poor planning is costs, which as a result have risen staggeringly. Brazil icon Romario, a 1994 World Cup winner and critic of the World Cup, has claimed that the actual costs of the World Cup are a staggering $46billion. By contrast, the World Cup in South Africa was done for $3billion. If Romario’s claims are correct that is 15x more than the 2010 World Cup. No wonder he is calling it the "Biggest theft in history".

In a country where tax revenues comprise 36% of the GDP (the highest in the developing world), thanks to the average Brazil citizen paying 40.5% income tax, you would expect basic provisos to be in place for the less-fortunate. They are not. Whilst the lack of transparency with the money has heightened fears of embezzlement and corruption, claims that dogged former President Lula and current President Dima Rousseff.

So the national side has never been more important. In a country where football is the second religion, only a World Cup win can ease the pain currently felt by the proletariat – that may be a Marxist term but in the current climate the ruling class in Brazil are looking ever more like the Bourgeoisie that Karl Marx feared.

Of course victory will not eradicate the problems but to a certain degree it would justify the expenses of the World Cup. Some of the outlay will be recouped by tourism but tourism is a temporary measure.

Yes the World Cup is an iconic tournament to host but when you have more pressing problems in society then the expenses are hard to justify.

In sum, Neymar and Brazil have to win the World Cup. Anything less could see problems flare to unprecedented heights.

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Are the Brits in with a sporting chance?

The Group stages of the football World Cup aren’t over just yet, but the England players already know that they’re out of the tournament. Whatever happens in their final game against Costa Rica, they can’t progress to the knockout stages of the Brazilian World Cup.

 

So what sporting events can the British public look forward to now? The Wimbledon Championships started yesterday – and this year British spectators are showing more optimism than ever before, given that Andy Murray is the current reigning champion. All hopes are on him being able to repeat last year’s triumph, when he beat Novak Djokovic in three sets in the searing heat on Centre Court, ending a 77-year period with no British men’s winner at Wimbledon. Betfair may have Djokovic as the tournament favourite at a price of around 9/2, but Andy Murray is the second favourite as it stands.

Whether Murray wins or loses, Wimbledon will be over before we know which country has won the World Cup. The men’s final at Wimbledon is on Sunday 6th July, a full week before the football final in Rio de Janeiro.

There’s another Brit to support in July, though. The Tour de France begins in Yorkshire this year, and British rider Chris Froome, who won the Tour last year, is tipped as favourite to win again. The Tour starts in Yorkshire but, as always, will finish on the Champs Elysées in Paris on Sunday 27th July.

So we’ve got a few possibilities this summer to find another British winner. Of course, if all else fails, we can pin our hopes on the British teams competing in the Rugby Union World Cup in September 2015. England play host to the event which should give some level of home advantage and they are already considered to be one of the favourites to lift the trophy, at a price of around 7/2.

Another chance may have come and gone for football World Cup glory, but there are plenty more possibilities for Team GB this summer!

 

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