FIFA World Cup 2014 in Brazil

As the majority of people know in the world of football, Brazil is the country that has been selected to host the FIFA World Cup in 2014, so the focus is now on Brazil as a country and we thought it useful for football fans and the world population to know exactly which cities and states in Brazil have been chosen to host the games as well as providing an insight into the top football teams and stadia in the various cities throughout this country.

Belo Horizonte - MG

The main question when people meet up in Belo Horizonte is - Atlético Mineiro or Cruzeiro? The city adores football and two of the top contending teams in Brazilian football: Clube Atlético Mineiro and Esporte Clube Cruzeiro. América Futebol Clube, is also a traditional rival in the state and has experienced success thoughout the years.

Atlético Mineiro was the winner of the maiden edition of the Campeonato Brasileiro in 1971, and has been graced by the talents of Reinaldo, Toninho Cerezo and Éder, among others, while Cruzeiro's silverware collection goes from one Brasileiro in 2003 to four Copa do Brasil titles, two Copa Libertadores crowns (1976 and 1997). The 'Raposa' were the first stage in the career of such big names as Tostão and Ronaldo.

The ultimate stage for the Atlético vs. Cruzeiro derbies and for the big matches held in the state of Minas Gerais is Governor Magalhães Pinto stadium, famously known as the Mineirão - a 72,000-seater that has once housed over 100,000 fans and is one of the best and most charismatic football grounds in Brazil.

Brasília - DF

The Federal District of which Brasília is the capital is home to two clubs that have had recent successful surges in Brazil's elite: Sociedade Esportiva do Gama and Brasiliense Futebol Clube - the surprising runners-up of the Copa do Brasil in 2002.

Brasília has a recognized tradition in hosting first-rate sporting events and was one of the host cities of the FIFA Futsal World Cup 2008, which was played at the Nilson Nelson - a sports hall situated right in front of the 45,000-seater Mané Garrincha Stadium. The city also boasts two other important football grounds in the Serejão, where Brasiliense plays its home matches, and the Bezerrão - which was completely redesigned and inaugurated in November 2008 with the presence of the Seleção in a 6-2 blow out win over Portugal.

Cuiabá - MT

Mixto Esporte Clube, from Cuiabá, is the most important club within the state of Mato Grosso and holds one of the biggest fan bases in the Centre-western region of Brazil. The Tigre (Tiger) hold the record for most state titles, and played in the first division of the Campeonato Brasileiro for 11 straight seasons from 1976. However, Mixto have not rejoined the elite since. Their main city rivals are Cuiabá Esporte Clube and Clube Esportivo Dom Bosco, besides Operário Futebol Clube, from the neighbouring city of Várzea Grande.

The José Fragelli stadium, also known as the Verdão (Big Green), is the temple of football in Mato Grosso. The 45,000-seater ground was built in 1976, and has hosted four of Brazil's friendlies; the most recent one a 6-1 win over Iceland in March 2002.

Curitiba - PR

Curitiba is home to two traditional clubs of Brazilian football: Coritiba Foot Ball Club and Clube Atlético Paranaense, who meet for one of the most exciting derbies in the country, the Atletiba - a reason for frenzy in Curitiba since the two teams' very first meeting in 1924.

Coritiba, nicknamed Coxa, conquered the Campeonato Brasileiro title in 1985 and own the Couto Pereira stadium, while rivals Atlético Paranaense, the Furacão (Hurricane), were national champions in 2001 and are proud owners of the Joaquim Américo stadium, popularly known as Arena da Baixada, which was demolished and rebuilt from the scratch in 1999 and is now considered one of the best and most modern football grounds in Brazil

The city's third representative in Brazil's main football scene are Paraná Clube, founded in 1989 as a fusion of two other teams; Colorado and Pinheiros. The Tricolor plays its home matches at the Durival de Britto e Silva stadium, which was one of the venues of the 1950 FIFA World Cup Brazil™.

Fortaleza - CE

Two of the most popular clubs from the north-east of Brazil come from Fortaleza: Ceará Sporting Club and Fortaleza Esporte Clube. Both teams have historically shared the attention of the fans throughout the whole state of Ceará, as well as the state titles.

The two sides have also played memorable roles in national competitions: Ceará were the runner-ups in the Copa do Brasil in 1994, when they lost to Grêmio, and they reached the semi finals in 2005, while Fortaleza finished runners-up twice in the Taça Brasil (a predecessor to the Campeonato Brasileiro), in 1960 and 1968.

The city of Fortaleza offers two main stadiums for the matches involving Ceará, Fortaleza and Ferroviário Esporte Clube: the 58,000-seater, state-owned Plácido Castelo, also known as the Castelão, and the city-owned Presidente Vargas.

Manaus - AM

The city of Manaus is home to a majority of football clubs in the state of Amazonas and, therefore, several rivalries. Nacional Futebol Clube hold the record for most state titles, but over the last few years São Raimundo Esporte Clube have been drawing national attention with good performances in the Copa do Brasil. Other traditional contenders are Atletico Rio Negro Clube, Nacional Fast Club and America Futebol Clube.

Vivaldo Lima stadium, also known as the Vivaldão, is the most important football ground in Amazonas and has been hosting the state's decisive matches since its inauguration on 5 April 1970, when the Brazilian national team stopped by Manaus a few days before travelling to Mexico for the FIFA World Cup™. Brazil defeated an Amazonas State Team 4-1 in a match that was witnessed by such dignitaries as then-FIFA President Stanley Rous.

Natal - RN

The top three teams in the state of Rio Grande do Norte are from Natal: Alecrim Futebol Clube and the city's two powerhouses and eternal rivals, América Futebol Clube and ABC Futebol Clube. Both teams have shared the vast majority of trophies of the Campeonato Potiguar (‘Potiguar' being one who comes from Rio Grande do Norte) and were regulars in the Campeonato Brasileiro's elite until the mid-1980s. ABC have not competed in the top tier since, meanwhile América have had their share of successful spurts and even won the regional title of the North-East Cup in 1998.

ABC's home ground is the Maria Lamas Farache stadium, popularly known as the Frasqueirão, while both América and Alecrim normally play their home matches at the city-owned João Machado stadium, or the Machadão.

Porto Alegre - RS

The football scene in the city of Porto Alegre is divided in two halves: the black and blue one from Grêmio Foot-Ball Porto Alegrense and the red and white from Sport Club Internacional. The two teams share the passion of the porto-alegrenses and are two of the most important clubs in the history of Brazilian football.

Besides dominating the history books of Rio Grande do Sul, Grêmio and Inter also combine for a number of national and international titles: while the Tricolor have conquered the Campeonato Brasileiro title twice (1981 and 1996), the Copa do Brasil four times (1989, 1994, 1997 and 2001), the Copa Libertadores twice (1983 and 1995) and the Toyota Cup once (1983), Inter have keep their silverware gallery packed with three Brasileiro titles (1975, 1976 and 1979), one Copa do Brasil (1992), one Libertadores (2006) and one FIFA Club World Cup (2006), among many others.

Both Grêmio and Internacional own traditional and highly regarded stadiums for over 50,000 spectators, separated some 2.5 km from each other: the Olímpico Monumental and the Beira-Rio, respectively. Their youth divisions are also among the most prolific in Brazil, having produced the likes of Ronaldinho Gaúcho, Emerson, Renato Gaúcho (Grêmio), Falcão, Taffarel and Alexandre Pato (Internacional).

Recife - PE

You will hardly find another city in Brazil as football-mad as Recife. It is a tough task to determine which of the three top clubs of the state of Pernambuco relies on a more passionate fan base; Sport Club do Recife, Santa Cruz Futebol Clube or Clube Náutico Capibaribe.

All three teams have had glorious moments in Brazilian football, although Sport stand slightly apart from their competitors thanks to two major titles: the Campeonato Brasileiro in 1987 and the Copa do Brasil in 2008.

Each Sport, Santa Cruz and Náutico have their own private stadium - Ilha do Retiro, Arrudão and Aflitos respectively - but the state government of Pernambuco has plans to build yet another brand new one.

Rio de Janeiro - RJ

Rio de Janeiro is the very depiction of Brazilian football with all forms of kick abouts taking on its streets, public parks and vast beaches. It comes as no surprise, then, that the city is the birthplace of such world-renowned footballers as Jairzinho, Zico, Ronaldo and Romario, to name but a few.

Four of Brazil's biggest and most popular clubs are based in the Cidade Maravilhosa: Botafogo, Fluminense, Vasco da Gama and Flamengo, the club with the country's biggest fan base, of over 30 million aficionados.

Football is like a religion for the cariocas, and its temple is undoubtedly the mythical state-owned Maracanã, arguably the most famous and once the largest stadium in the world. Officially named Mário Filho Stadium, after a famous sports journalist, the Maracanã was inaugurated shortly before the 1950 FIFA World Cup in Brazil and hosted five of the home country's six matches in that competition, including the fateful 1-2 loss to Uruguay in the final match of the tournament. The resounding defeat on 16 July 1950 - dubbed Maracanazo by world champions Uruguay -- was to be forever remembered as a national disaster in Brazil.

Salvador - BA

It comes as a surprise to no-one after an edition of the Campeonato Brasileiro when the figures show that a team from Salvador - either Esporte Clube Bahia or Esporte Clube Vitória - topped the attendance average charts. The soteropolitanos are as mad about football as anyone else in Brazil.

The two rivals comfortably dominate the football scene within the state of Bahia, and have an important national background as well: Bahia, the Tricolor, won the Campeonato Brasileiro in 1988 and the Taça Brasil in 1959 (a predecessor of the national championships), while Vitória have collected three North-east Cup titles and were runners-up in the Brasileiro in 1993. The Leão are also famous for housing one of the best youth academies in the country, having produced the likes of FIFA World Cup™ champions Bebeto and Dida.

One of the most fantastic moments for one to be in Salvador - only comparable to the city's vivacious Carnival celebrations - is during a Ba-Vi, the famous derby between the two rivals. These regularly took place at the Fonte Nova, a stadium that is closed and being completely rebuilt.

São Paulo - SP

São Paulo is the very birthplace of Brazilian football, as it was the home of Charles Miller, the British descendent who presented the beautiful game to the city in 1894 and helped its swift propagation throughout the country.

Three of Brazil's most powerful clubs are from São Paulo: old-time rivals Corinthians, Palmeiras and São Paulo, who combine for an impressive 14 Campeonato Brasileiro titles. Both Corinthians and São Paulo have lifted the FIFA Club World Cup trophy, in 2000 and 2005 respectively. Other traditional clubs like Portuguesa de Desportos and Juventus complete the football-mad panorama of the metropolis.

São Paulo's home ground, the Morumbi, is the city's biggest stadium and was one of the venues of the maiden FIFA Club World Cup, in 2000, while the city-owned Pacaembu, which also houses a phenomenal Football Museum, hosted six matches at the 1950 FIFA World Cup Brazil™.

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