Brazil is set for a familiar national standstill at the football World Cup, with the national heroes expected to deliver a sixth title in South Africa.
Brazil opens their campaign on June 15 against North Korea, and if they go all the way to the July 11 final the nation of 190 million will be glued to the television seven times.
“There is a complete standstill when the Selecao plays,” says local taxi driver Ronildo.
The cab man reveals that he is not really a football fan, but he then discusses the game for the next 30 minutes.
This is no surprise as there is arguably no country on the planet which can match Brazil for its football passion (and its unrivalled success at the showcase event).
“We are a people of 190 million football coaches,” said Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who will also travel to South Africa for the World Cup.
The real Brazil coach Carlos Dunga will have to live with the fact that every decision he makes will undergo a collective analysis, and so will the players’ moves.
Brazilian companies are set to give their employees the afternoons off on Brazil game days, fully aware that work is impossible when Luis Fabiano, Kaka, Robinho and company take to the pitch.
The World Cup is the main topic at parties, in bars and restaurants. Brazilian flags hang from the balconies of Sao Paulo and have been fitted to cars there and across the country. Fireworks are a top seller as well, the traditional way to celebrate goals and victories.
There is no escape as the World Cup also features prominently in television ads from credit card and drinks makers, and ministries as well.
If Brazil really manages to lift the trophy on July 11 then it would also maintain its perfect track record of having won the title on every continent the event has been played so far.
The date of the final also means a lot to Brazilians because it’s then just four years until it is their turn to welcome the world for the next edition in 2014.
Keywords: 2010 FIFA World Cup