Moving around Rio de Janeiro you wouldn’t know there was a World Cup around the corner. There are no flags or posters celebrating Rio as a host city. Nothing. Maybe it’s just as well because any sign promoting the tournament would almost certainly become a target for the city’s prolific graffiti gangs.
Despite Brazil’s obsession with football not all the population is keen for the World Cup to be a success. A feeling felt most strongly by the 200,000 or so people who have been evicted from their homes to make way for the tournament and the millions who took to the streets to protest at the cost of it all.
They are likely to protest again during the tournament and will be dealt with forcibly by the police. It is likely the iconic Rio coastline will not be the only backdrop to Brazil’s big football moment.
The mood may change after today’s draw, when Brazil finds out who stands between it and a potential final at the Maracana. For Roy Hodgson and England, the way the balls come out today is just as important and it is almost as important where they are drawn to play as it is who they will face. There are many permutations both good and bad for England but the one they would like to avoid most of all is being drawn to play the majority of their games in the north of the country.
Apart from the fact that temperatures and humidity there will be much higher than the less severe heat experienced further south, the travelling between games, between those venues and the England base in Rio, will be extensive. Brazil is a vast country.
If England are dealt that hand, they may consider moving from Rio. It would be a reluctant decision because Hodgson in particular is very happy with the beach side hotel and training facilities in Rio. But if the team’s success was in anyway jeopardised by staying there, they would do it.