October 23, 2020

World Cup Soccer/Football Qualifiers to date/ To play in Brazil June 2014

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2224977_full-lndNORTH AND CENTRAL AMERICA AND CARIBBEAN — Costa Rica, Honduras, United States

EUROPE — Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, England, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Russia, Spain, Switzerland

SOUTH AMERICA — Argentina, Brazil (host), Chile, Colombia, Ecuador

ASIA — Australia, Iran, Japan, South Korea

AFRICA — Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Cameroon

Host Country

Brazil

Founded in 1914 and affiliated to FIFA since 1923, the Confederaçao Brasileira de Futebol (CBF) boasts a staggering list of honours: five FIFA World Cups™, eight Copa Americas, four FIFA Under-20 World Cups, three FIFA Under-17 World Cups, two FIFA Confederations Cups, four FIFA Futsal World Cups, three FIFA Beach Soccer World Cups and dozens of continental trophies. Few federations have left anything like the same mark on international football.

In fact, the only sour note for the country that produced Pele came in the final of ‘their’ 1950 FIFA World Cup. Watched by 174,000 stunned supporters packed into the mythical Maracana stadium, the Seleçao let the fourth edition of the Jules Rimet Cup slip from their grasp in a 2-1 defeat to Uruguay.

Football occupies pride of place in Brazil, and although Brazilians are also passionate about volleyball, basketball, tennis, formula-one and other motor sports, only the legendary Ayrton Senna is revered in quite the same way as the country’s most famous exponents of ‘the beautiful game’.

Chief among them is O Rei, Pele, whose name is almost synonymous with Brazilian sport itself, but a whole raft of unique talents have worn the Seleção shirt with distinction down the years: Leonidas, Garrincha, Didi, Vava, Zagallo, Tostão, Zico, Jairzinho, Carlos Alberto, Socrates, Bebeto, Romario, Cafu, Ronaldo and Roberto Carlos. The list of players who have etched their names into the collective memory is quite literally breathtaking.

Brazilian football continues to produce exceptional new talents, and these days it is superstars Ronaldinho (Ronaldo de Assis Moreira) and Kaka (Ricardo Izecson Santos Leite) who are thrilling football-lovers the world over.

History

It is often said that the first European explorer to set foot in the country was Spaniard Vicente Yanez Pinzon, who supposedly landed near the site of modern-day Recife on 26 January 1500. Officially, however, it is Portuguese Pedro Alvares Cabral who is regarded as the discoverer of Brazil. His fleet, in search of the Indias, sailed into the South of modern-day Bahia on 22 April 1500. Since 1530, the Portuguese Crown implemented a colonising policy that lasted centuries and ended when Dom Pedro I declared the country’s independence on 7 September 1822.

After 1822, Brazil was governed by an imperial dynasty until a military revolt led by Marshal Manuel Deodoro da Fonseca forced Emperor Dom Pedro II to abdicate in November 1889. The country became a republic and, despite a long period of instability and even military dictatorship between 1964 and 1985, it now enjoys the fruits of democracy.

Current President Dilma Rousseff  has held the post since her inauguration on 1 January 2011.

Economy

Predominantly agrarian until recently, Brazil underwent rapid industrial growth throughout the 1960s and 1970s, and by the 1980s possessed a fundamentally modern, diversified economy. This development went hand in hand with heavy exploitation of its natural resources, in particular coal and iron ore.

Nearly a quarter of the world’s coffee comes from Brazil, with its plantations spread around the states of Sao Paulo, Parana, Espiríto Santo and Minas Gerais. Likewise, Brazil is one of the foremost producers of sugar cane, used not only to make sugar but also the alcohol that fuels 2.5 million specially-designed vehicles. Production levels of ricin, cocoa, corn and oranges are among the highest in the world as well, while soy, tobacco, potato, cotton, rice, wheat, manioc and bananas are also produced in large quantities. In addition, sheep and cattle are reared in almost every state.

The Brazilian rainforest is another source of natural riches, including tung oil, rubber, carnauba oil, caroa fibre, medicinal plants, vegetable oils, resins, timber for construction and various woods used in furniture-making. Brazil has also begun mining fairly recently, again taking advantage of its abundant natural resources.

Geography

The largest country in South America, Brazil stretches over almost half of the continent. With the Atlantic Ocean on its eastern coastline, Brazil shares frontiers with Venezuela, Guyana, French Guyana and Surinam to the north. Its neighbours to the west are Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia and Peru, while Colombia is to the north-west and Uruguay directly south. Of all the countries in South America, only Chile and Ecuador do not border Brazil.

With a surface area of 8,547,404 km², Brazil is the fifth largest country on the planet behind Russia, China, Canada and the United States. It covers 4,345 km from north to south between its furthest points and 4,330 km from east to west. The highest population concentrations are along the Atlantic coastlines, most notably in the two largest cities, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. The capital Brasilia has a population of 2,094,000, according to 2003 estimates, and it is situated over 1,000 km inland.

Facts and Figures

Brazil has roughly 190 million inhabitants, making it the fifth most populated country on Earth. Almost 75 per cent of them are Catholics, whilst another 26 million are Protestants. Brazil’s Jewish community is very small by comparison.

The country is divided into five regions (Centre-West, North, Northeast, South and Southeast), which are themselves divided into 26 states plus the Federal District that houses Brazilian capital Brasília.

Known for its enormous hydroelectric potential, the Southeast region is the most heavily-populated in Brazil with almost 80 million inhabitants, roughly 40 per cent of the total. It is also the most densely-populated (84.21 inhabitants per km²) and has the highest urbanisation rate at 90 per cent.

The official language is Portuguese, however many Brazilians speak other languages according to their origins. German and Italian, for example, are fairly prevalent in the cities of the South.

For the latest news go to:

http://www.fifa.com/worldcup/news/index.html

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France in trouble 2224578_FULL-LNDFrance in trouble, Ukraine at the double

(AFP) Friday 15 November 2013

© AFP

France are in serious danger of missing out on the FIFA World Cup™ finals for the first time in two decades after losing 2-0 to Ukraine in Kiev in their play-off first leg.

Roman Zozulia gave the home side a deserved lead in the 61st minute and Andriy Yarmolenko made it 2-0 from the penalty spot with eight minutes left after Laurent Koscielny had brought down Zozulia inside the area.

Arsenal defender Koscielny was then sent off following a clash with Oleksandr Kucher at the death, before the Ukrainian defender was also dismissed as tensions between the two teams spilled over. Nevertheless, Ukraine were worthy of their win and, having denied France an away goal, can now consider themselves strong favourites to go through to their second World Cup finals.

France, meanwhile, run the very real risk of missing a major tournament finals for the first time since the 1994 World Cup in USA unless they can turn the tie around at home next Tuesday.

It was a hostile environment for France, in front of a boisterous home crowd at the 70,000-seat Olympic Stadium in Kiev and in temperatures as low as two degrees. Didier Deschamps’ side showed just one change to the team that had beaten Finland 3-0 in the final game in their qualifying group last month, with Mathieu Valbuena being replaced by Loic Remy in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

Meanwhile, there were no surprises in Ukraine coach Mikhail Fomenko’s team, with all eyes on the trickery of Yarmolenko and Yevhen Konoplyanka on the wings.

Defensive dominance

France won 2-0 when the countries last met in Donetsk during UEFA EURO 2012, but a repeat scoreline always appeared unlikely with Ukraine having improved considerably since Fomenko took over as coach at the end of last year. That saw them finish just one point behind England in their qualifying group, which they came through conceding only four goals.

Such defensive solidity was evident in this game, as Ukraine strangled the life out of a France side fresh from scoring 13 goals in their last three outings. The visitors started well enough, but the closest they came to scoring in the opening period was when a Franck Ribery cutback was turned behind by Kucher before Olivier Giroud could get to it.

Ukraine defended in numbers and sought to hit France on the break, and they needed almost half an hour to create a chance of note, Brazilian-born midfielder Edmar throwing himself at a cross from the right by captain Ruslan Rotan but heading wide.

Konoplyanka then had an effort deflected behind by Mathieu Debuchy following lovely build-up play between Yarmolenko and Edmar, but the warning signs were there for France and they eventually fell behind just after the hour mark.

Ukraine built the play neatly cutting in from the left flank before Edmar laid the ball off for Zozulia, the Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk forward holding Debuchy at bay before getting enough on his shot to beat Hugo Lloris.

France might have drawn level when Ribery played in Samir Nasri shortly after, but the Manchester City man’s shot was saved by Andriy Pyatov, and Ukraine then felt they should have had a penalty when Zozulia tangled with Eric Abidal inside the area.

That one wasn’t given by the Turkish referee, but he did point to the spot when Koscielny clumsily brought down Zozulia nine minutes from time. Yarmolenko stepped up, his penalty just crossing the line after being touched up and onto the bar by Lloris.

But that was not the end of the nightmare for France, with Koscielny seeing red after raising his hands.

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