Football Fever Grips the World

The most controversial World Cup in football’s modern history began amidst a bevy of protests from the host country’s deprived masses
Sandeep Kumar Delhi

Amidst protests, issues and questions, the FIFA World Cup 2014 got off to a flying start under the blue skies at the new Arena de Sao Paulo — also known as Corinthians, as Brazil kicked off its home World Cup football carnival, aspiring to extend its record to six World Cup wins. The show kicked off with a giant LED ball centrepiece flashing welcome messages in the languages of the 23 qualifying countries. Jennifer Lopez took to the stage to sing the official FIFA song ‘We Are One (Ole Ola)’, and was joined by US rapper Pitbull and Brazilian pop star Cláudia Leitte. J-Lo, dressed in a low-cut sparkling green outfit, turned up for the performance despite earlier reports that she wouldn’t be able to attend. However, the fans throughout the globe were disappointed by the lackluster sound at the event and chose Twitter, the social networking and microblogging service site, to complain and criticize about the sound levels.

After a sizzling opening ceremony, the World Cup 2014 officially began with the releasing of three doves by the kids standing in the centre. The deafening crowd at the new Arena de Sao Paulo, roaring in a sea of yellow, sang in one voice for the home team. To the shock of nearly everyone inside the stadium, it was Croatia that grabbed the lead first as an Olic cross was first touched by Jelavic before getting redirected into the Brazilian net by Marcelo in the 10th minute. Brazil found out the leveler in the 28th minute, when Neymar, the 22-year-old spiky-haired Brazilian heartthrob cashed out on Croatian midfield dispossession and fired in a left-footer that bounced off the post and landed inside.

Brazil needed a bit of luck to overcome a stubborn Croatian defense and it came in the 69th minute when the referee whistled for a penalty on a supposed foul on Fred in the area. Neymar was lucky to slot home the penalty with Pletikosa guessing correctly but somehow the ball found its way in to give Brazil their first lead, 2-1. Oscar scored with a hard right-footed shot to give the home side their third goal in the injury time to cap things off for the five-time champions.