Category Archives: Sports

Belo Horizonte - 2014 World Cup

2014 World Cup Cities: Belo Horizonte

Belo Horizonte (Beautiful Horizon in English) is the capital city of Minas Gerais, a Brazilian state situated in the southeastern region of the South American country. With a population of 2,479,175 as of 2013, Belo is not only Gerais’ most populous city, but is also the 6th most populous city in Brazil. The city was inaugurated on December 12th, 1897, when it was known as the Minas City (Cidade de Minas). The current name was definitively adopted in 1901.

 

All-round city

 

Surrounded by the Serra do Curral mountain range, Belo Horizonte is nicknamed “Garden City” for its status as one of Brazil’s most arboreal cities. The city is a stage for major cultural spectacles and its calendar is always filled with excellent events offering programming for different tastes. There are 3 universities, numerous libraries, and a historical museum. It is also a reference in both business & health tourism and according to the International Congress and Conference Association’s (ICCA), ranks 7th among the Brazilian cities that receive the most international events.

 

Belo Horizonte serves as the distribution & processing center of an endowed agricultural and mining region as well as the nucleus of a fast growing industrial complex. The chief manufactures here are steel, steel products and textiles, but gem stones, gold and manganese mined from the surrounding regions are processed in Belo. When it comes to tourism, this Brazilian city attracts people both from Brazil and around the world. Moreover, the climate is cool and refreshing since it sits at 850m above sea level.

 

Food options

 

Belo preserves the traditional mineira culinary tradition that features simple ingredients and great creativity with some historical aspect in it. One can find typical food options, regional drinks and excellent international cuisine ranging from Italian, Japanese, and French to Spanish Cuisine. All these are available in the diverse restaurants that maintain high standards in customer service. For those who prefer the local gastronomy, they can pick from tasty coffee, artisanal beers, a sugarcane alcohol called cachga or Minas cheese known as queijo minas. In fact, Belo is known as pao de queijo (The Land of Cheese Bread).

 

Things to do in Belo Horizonte

 

While the city is mainly associated with sports (in particular soccer), it has more to offer visitors in terms of nightlife, sightseeing and outdoor activities. Below are some of the top things to do in Belo.Visit the Sao Francisco de Assis Church (Igreja Sao Francisco de Assis). For a small fee, visitors can get to see this unique church which boasts of a bold and authentic design. Its beauty is further enhanced by the stunning paintings on the external & internal panels by Portinari as well as the surrounding gardens that were designed by Burle Max.

 

Visit the Zoo-Botanical Foundation of Belo Horizon (Zoologico – Fundagao Zoobotanica de Belo Horizonte).

 

One of Latin America’s most extensive zoos, the Zoo-Botanical Foundation is home to the first ever butterfly sanctuary in the region. There’s also a center in the zoo that’s dedicated toward the conservation & preservation of species under threat of extinction.

 

Go shopping at Shazam

 

For comic fans or those looking for a souvenir to take back home, Shazam offers a unique and shopping experience and is a must visit! It’s a shop located at the Maleta building and has several vintage book shops in addition to its bars.

 

Estadio Governador Magalhaes Pinto (Mineirao).

 

Mineirao - 2014 World Cup

By Copa2014.gov.br (Brazilian Government) (Copa2014.gov.br Link da imagem [1]) [CC-BY-3.0-br (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/br/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons

With about 72,000-seater capacity, Mineirao is one of the largest stadiums in Brazil and is mostly used for soccer matches. The full name of the stadium is Estadio Governador Magalhaes Pinto which originates from Jose de Magalhes Pinto, the Governor of Minas Gerais between 1961 & 1966 when the stadium was built. It will play host to 6 matches of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, including a semi-final match. At its opening, Mineirao had almost double its current capacity and in fact it recorded a 132,834 attendance during a 1997 match between local club Cruzeiro and Villa Nova. Its capacity has been gradually cut down for safety reasons.

 

Venue for concerts

 

Since its construction, Mineirao has hosted several music events albeit just a few of them. They include the performances by Black Eyed Peas, Beyonce, Paul McCartney, Black Sabbath and Alex Brasil.

 

Getting to Mineirao

 

The stadium is just 6.5-miles from the center of Belo Horizonte which will provide the proper match day feel. There are buses or taxis that provide transport to the stadium, although these may sometimes be congested!

 

What to eat

 

Minas Gerais offers both locals and visitors a rich cuisine to choose from. Mineiros really love their food and it’s therefore little wonder that traditional dishes are a main feature in most of the excellent restaurants. They include cheese bread (pao de queijo), roasted young lamb (Leitao a pururuca), a combination of beans and vegetables (feijao a tropeira) and tutu a mineira, but you can also choose from a variety of foreign cuisine.

 

 

Chile - 2014 World Cup

Chile Defeats Australia

Chile found the back of the net early and never trailed. They scored their first 12 minutes into the match and then their second only 70 seconds later.

 

Australia scored their first in the 35th minute, and used the momentum they built to keep pressure on the Chileans well into the second half.

 

Chile finally put it out of reach with another goal in injury time.

 

 

Rio de Janeiro - 2014 World Cup

2014 World Cup Cities: Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro is probably the most popular tourist destination in Brazil. It’s the capital city of a state by the same name and one of the largest cities in The Americas. It has a population of more than six million. More than that, it’s got a variety of popular destinations including the beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana and the modern world wonder, Christ the Redeemer. There are a lot of amazing things to see here, making it a favored place to see the World Cup 2014 games live.

 

Christ the Redeemer - 2014 World Cup

 

 

Fun fact: Brazil lost the first World Cup in 1950 on its home turf in a 2-1 upset against Uruguay in a match known ever since as “The Maracanazo.”

 

Rio de Janeiro - 2014 World CupYou’ll be able to see Christ the Redeemer from various spots throughout the city. If you have a chance, though, you should really hike up the mountain and see its impressive majesty up close. You’ll be rewarded with amazing views of the city below when you reach the top. Christ the Redeemer is located on Corcovado Mountain in Tijuca National Park. The park is also home to Cascatinha Waterfall, the Mayrink Chapel with beautiful mural artwork and several other attractions. However, if you just want to get great views of the city with less of a workout then head over to Sugarloaf Mountain where you can ride a cable car up to the small village of Morro da Urca at the top.

 

Acai Berry Drink - 2014 World CupSome of the other attractions that you’ll want to hit on your Rio de Janeiro trip include the many museums (especially the modern art museum), the zoo and botanical gardens, and the Ilha Fiscal castle. Samba is the local dance and there are plenty of opportunities to take lessons or see shows. You can get around by taxi, bus, subway and scooter. Rental cars aren’t generally recommended unless you plan to take day trips out of the city. You can also take a ferry out to the island of Paqueta in Guanabara Bay to enjoy some relaxing sunshine away from the hustle and bustle of the city center.

 

A nice treat to enjoy on a hot day in Rio de Janeiro is a frozen acai berry drink topped with guarana syrup. You can find this at various stands throughout the city, especially at the beaches. Chilled coconut water is another good alternative. As for food, you’ll be able to get a range of different meals at restaurants for all budgets here in this large city. Go to at least one churrasco to enjoy the grilled meat that Brazil and Argentina are both famous for!

 

Brazil’s stadium, Estádio do Maracanã, is a famous World Cup stadium since it was the first to host the inaugural games in 1950. Back then, the stadium accommodated almost 200,000 people, making it the world’s largest stadium. Since then it’s been revamped, though, and brought down to a more modern size. Renovations began after the 50th anniversary and new renovations took place more recently before the World Cup.

 

Maracana Stadium - 2014 World Cup

 

Nevertheless, it still seats more than 78,000 people, making it the largest stadium in Brazil and the largest host stadium for World Cup 2014. The stadium will also host the 2016 Summer Olympics. The historic façade of the building remains intact but the inside is all brand new with a massive array of LED lights, 360 cameras for video display and a new fiberglass roof with water sustainability features.

 

The Maracanã stadium, which is officially named Estádio Jornalista Mário Filho, but is always called by its nickname, is located within walking distance of the Rio de Janeiro Zoo and the National Museum of Brazil. The stadium itself is considered a major tourist attraction of the city as well.

 

 

Jennifer Lopez - 2014 World Cup

Will Jennifer Lopez Perform In Brazil?

At first, it was reported that Jennifer Lopez had to cancel her appearance at the opening ceremonies at the 2014 World Cup due to unspecified production issues.

A rep later reached out to PEOPLE and stated that these reports were premature.

With the World Cup only 2 days away, we hope that she can work out any scheduling conflicts. She will perform alongside Pitbull and Claudia Leitte.

 

 

Sao Paulo - 2014 World Cup

2014 World Cup Cities: Sao Paulo

Sao Paulo is not only the largest city in Brazil, but is one of the seven largest cities in the entire world by population. It has more than 11 million people in the city proper and nearly double that in the larger metropolitan area. This means that you’ll find plenty to do here from exploring historic architecture to enjoying contemporary culinary treats.

 

Like many large cities, Sao Paulo is divided up into districts and some of them are a particular draw for tourists. Mooca is this city’s version of a Little Italy. Liberdade is the Asian district. Brooklin is the financial district and Praca de Se is the large city center square. There are more than 12,000 restaurants in Sao Paulo, including lots of ethnic cuisine in each neighborhood, so there are lots of places for you to eat your heart out!

 

Se Cathedral - 2014 World CupIf you want to check some of the most famous landmarks off of your list then start with the famous Catedral da Se, which is the largest church in the city and one of its notable attractions. Other important buildings are the Banespa Building skyscraper, modeled after the Empire State Building, and the Edificio Italia skyscraper, which offers great views from an observation deck. You’ll also want to visit the famous Sao Paulo Municipal Theatre, an opera house where you can still see performances today.

 

For more contemporary attractions, start at the Sao Paulo Aquarium, the largest aquarium in all of Latin America. Then head over to the zoo, which is the largest zoo in Brazil. There are also dozens of beautiful parks throughout the city, including some that preserve the Atlantic forest, so plan to enjoy a lot of nature even in this terrific urban space.

 

When you get ready to head indoors, museums are a top best. For a rich understanding of the area’s history, check out the Massive Latin America Memorial and the monumental Paulista Museum, each of which recognize different aspects of the area’s culture from the past. Visit Museu de Arte de Sao Paulo if you’d like to see European art in South America or Oca do Ibirapuera for native Brazilian art.

 

 

Fun Fact: Sao Paulo is also called “Sampa” for short. The people who live in the city proper are known as Paulistanos, while the people from the surrounding metropolitan area are known simply as Paulistas.

 

 

Arena Corinthians - 2014 World CupSao Paulo’s stadium is called Arena Corinthians, although many are calling it simply Arena de São Paulo for World Cup. The stadium’s construction pushed really close to the deadline to be ready before the games begin. It hosts the opening match of the World Cup with Brazil facing Croatia.

 

The history of this stadium has been marked with problems. The initial plans for a new stadium date back to 1978. A series of financial issues postponed that development. Funding was finally approved for building to begin in 2010, specifically in order to host the World Cup. The construction of the new stadium has cost about $430 million.

 

If all goes as planned, Arena Corinthians will open with 68,000 seats, making it one of the largest stadiums to host World Cup 2014. Almost 20,000 of those seats are actually temporary seats that will be removed after the World Cup. The stadium will be retrofitted after the games are done and is expected to actually be truly complete in 2015. It will also be one of the arenas for the 2016 Summer Olympics.

 

 

Mexico - 2014 World Cup

Mexico Tops Cameroon

Mexico leaves Natal with a 1-0 victory over Cameroon. It could’ve been worse for Cameroon, if not for 2 goals being called back on offsides.

 

Oribe Peralta scored on a rebound in the 61st minute to give Mexico the lead which they never relinquished.

 

Javier Hernandez had an excellent opportunity to put his squad up 2-0 in injury time, but failed to convert on a cross.

 

Mexico demonstrated great patience, passing and ball possession throughout this game.

 

 

Natal - 2014 World Cup

2014 World Cup Cities: Natal

Natal is one of the most beautiful host cities for the 2014 World Cup. It’s a beach city with lots of opportunities to enjoy sand, sun and surf. Its nickname is the City of the Dunes (and its new stadium is named after that as well) because of the amazingly beautiful sand dunes located all up and down the coast here. Buggy rides on the dunes are one of the area’s most popular activities.

 

Sand Dunes, Natal - 2014 World Cup

 

 

BEACHES

 

There are lots of different beach tourist attractions here. One of the most popular beaches is Maracajaú, an area of crystal clear water with stunning coral formations. It’s a must-see if you’re interested in Brazil’s natural beauty. There’s also a water park near that beach so it’s a family-friendly destination with fun for all ages.

 

This is only one of more than one dozen beaches. You can visit Gracandu for jet skiing, Tabatinga to see dolphins, Buzios to ride sand dune buggies, or Sibauma to see traditional fishing villages, and make sure to go to Porto de Galinhas, often called the best tourist beach in Brazil.

 

ATTRACTIONS

 

Cashews - 2014 World CupOne of the most unique tourist attractions in Natal is the World’s Largest Cashew Tree. It’s 1600 feet in circumference, making it seventy times larger than the average cashew tree! It’s called Cajueiro de Pirangi. It’s a magical forest land in the midst of Brazil. You can also enjoy the magic of nature in the city at the Dunas State Park, the second-largest city park in all of Brazil.

 

Natal is really kind of like the relaxing resort area as far as cities go in Brazil. It has a population of less than 1 million. It’s more affluent than many of the other 2014 World Cup host cities, and it’s considered one of the safest, quietest urban areas to travel in Brazil.

 

Beyond the beaches and parks, there are some key tourist attractions in Natal. One is the Forte dos Reis Mago, a historic fort built in the 16th century. Other attractions not to miss include the Ponte Newton Navarro bridge, the 19th century Teatro Alberto Maranhao theatre, and the Igreja do Galo church and museum. For more ideas, visit the Centro de Turismo de Natal, which is an attraction in itself since it was built in the 19th century and houses an art gallery, restaurant and artisan craft shops.

 

Fun fact: A new airport was constructed in Natal to make sure that 2014 World Cup visitors would find traveling here to be comfortable and convenient.

 

WHERE THE ACTION WILL BE

 

Brazil spent billions preparing for the 2014 World Cup and much of that money was spent on demolishing outdated stadiums and replacing them with new up-to-date buildings. This is the case in Natal, where the Machadao Stadium was taken down a few years ago and the Arena das Dunas started going up in its place.

By Portal da Copa/ME (Portal da Copa do Mundo de 2014) [CC-BY-3.0-br (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/br/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Portal da Copa/ME (Portal da Copa do Mundo de 2014) [CC-BY-3.0-br (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/br/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons

The stadium’s plans received some of the highest praise when construction first began. It’s a beautifully-shaped round building with a manmade lake surrounding it. It is designed to seat 45,000 people. The stadium is located right off of a main highway for convenient travel and is situated about halfway between the beaches of the Atlantic coast and the Old Town center of the city. Substantial lodging, shopping and dining options have all been built as part of the project.

 

 

Ridiculous 90 Degree Push Ups

We hope you had the same reaction when we say, “Are you kidding me???”
 
The little kid is Claudio Stroe and his 90 degree push ups are utterly ridiculous. There’s people out there who get tired doing regular push ups – and then there’s Claudio who does push ups without ever letting his feet touch the ground.
 
If you’re feeling inspired, maybe you can add this to your next workout!
 
And here’s the kicker – he’s only 5-years old in the video. Seriously? Just watch it again.

 

 

Brazil - 2014 World Cup

Brazil Wins Opener

Brazil came back from 1-0 down to win 3-1 in the opening game of the World Cup.

 

The excitement was apparent from the start, but it was Croatia who got on the board first with an own goal by Brazil’s Marcelo.

 

Neymar was able to tie up the match in the 29th minute, just minutes after receiving a yellow card from the referee.

 

This match was not without controversy though, as a penalty kick was awarded to Brazil on a very light foul in the box.

 

Neymar put away his second goal of the match on the penalty, just off the fingertips of goalkeeper, Stipe Pletikosa.

 

With Croatia pressing hard in the final minutes, Oscar turned the momentum and put the game away for good with another goal on a great individual effort.

 

 

FUN FACT – Brazil scored all of the goals in the match (1 own goal, 3 goals).

 

 

Netherlands - 2014 World Cup

Netherlands – Preview

Can The Netherlands Win?

 

For several decades now, the Dutch have been a regular participant in the World Cup and have  always been considered one of the strongest teams in the competition. Despite managing to reach the final on three occasions, they have yet to secure a World Cup trophy. They lost to West Germany in 1974, Argentina in 1978 and most recently to Spain in 2010.

 

Even when featuring remarkable players such as Ruud Gullit, Marco van Basten and Frank Rijkard, they have failed to deliver. In several tournaments, the team simply imploded due to unexplained dissent within its ranks.

 

People have enjoyed the team’s fluid, attacking brand of football in the past, but a change in coaching philosophy has the team lining up in a new formation this year. It’s uncertain whether this decision will help or hinder the team overall. Under the guidance of enigmatic coach Louis van Gaal, a strong proponent of attacking football, the team performed well in the qualifying competition winning all but one game, scoring 34 goals while conceding only five.

 

The squad for the 2014 tournament includes established, top class players like Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder and Robin van Persie. They also have up and coming players who are full of promise such as Bruno Martins-lndi and Jordy Clasie. If they can eliminate the historical internal bickering, the Oranje will have the opportunity to go deep in the tournament once again.