This article first appeared in the May/Jun 2014 issue of World Gaming magazine.
More than just a football tournament, this is an event that brings the world together once every four years. It is a global festival transcending sport itself – a colorful expression of the many cultures taking part and those who hope to join the 32 lucky finalists sometime in the future.
Consider this: in 2010 the World Cup was viewed at one time or another during the course of the 64 matches by 3.2 billion people comprising 46.4 percent of the global population. And the final between Spain and the Netherlands reached 620 million in-home viewers based on those who watched at least 20 minutes and a staggering 910 million for those who watched at least one minute.
For a nation more known for the sports of Rugby Union and cricket, it was big, so you can imagine what the 2014 World Cup will be like given it is being held at the home of the most successful country in World Cup history – Brazil.
Rarely has a World Cup promised to be so closely fought, with up to a dozen teams holding reasonable expectations of lifting the trophy on 13 July. Incredibly, five-time winners Brazil have slipped to ninth on the FIFA World Rankings but their form in the lead-up has been irresistible and they boast the hottest young talent in the game in 22-year-old Neymar. Cup holders and current world number one Spain will again be very hard to beat with their plethora of attacking geniuses including David Silva, Cesc Fábregas, Andrés Iniesta and Xavi.
Argentina topped the South American qualifying group with 14 straight wins and have the Lionel Messi factor, while Germany’s new generation look ready to fulfil their potential. And of course we can’t ignore the claims of Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal.
There is so much to look forward to at this year’s World Cup and you can find it all here with WGM’s complete 2014 World Cup Guide. Enjoy!
The World Cup
- 32 countries
- Over 3 billion viewers
- The world’s most watched sporting event
Inside our guide
- The complete draw
- Profiles of all 32 teams and 12 venues
- Our predictions
- Betting on the world Cup
- Asia’s hopefuls
…and much more!