The 2014 FIFA World Cup got off to a controversial start with many upsets and unexpected results all-round and a below-par opening ceremony. India’s Business Times even ventured as to say that the opening ceremony could have been, “The Worst Ever.”
The FIFA World Cup opening ceremony got underway at Brazil’s Arena Corinthian’s stadium in São Paulo after a long four year wait. Brazil, being a country with rich heritage and a diverse history, displayed this partially, but failed to effectively convey this to the 60 000 people in attendance, leaving thousands disappointed, with many taking to twitter and other social media to express their feelings. With a captive television audience of over 3.2 billion viewers, the FIFA World Cup 2014 is expected to be the most watched television event in history and as such, it is no surprise that whatever occurs will receive an astounding amount of responses from viewers across the globe.
The ceremony contained various gymnasts performing feats which represented various aspects of the host country, namely being the Amazon rain forest and their passion for football. The piece holding centre stage was the massive LED globe, displaying various patterns while the performances were occurring and then the flags of the 32 competing nations. Controversy struck when the Brazilian’s displayed the flag of African nation, Niger, who are not competing, instead of the green and white flag of Nigeria.
As far as the much-anticipated opening game was concerned, it turned out to be a thrilling encounter, which ended with a 3-1 result in the host nation’s favour and Croatia feeling very hard done-by. In a start that nobody would have expected, Brazil’s own Marcelo Vieira scored a stunning own-goal. The Real Madrid defender’s worst nightmare came about at the start of the 11th minute when Croatian Ivica Olic sent a low and hard cross through which ended up coming off Marcelo and straight into his own goals. To add to the defender’s woes, this occurred in São Paulo, a city known for its volatile supporters and intimidating atmosphere in the stadiums. The match, however tuned starkly in Brazil’s favour, with superstar Neymar scoring a brilliant goal and a very disputed penalty, and Chelsea’s Oscar scoring a break-away goal to see the result end 3-1.
In another result which undoubtedly shocked millions worldwide, Netherlands sank current world champions, Spain 5-1 in a one-sided repeat of the 2010 World Cup final. A Xabi Alonso penalty got the men from Spain ahead early on, but it was not long before a superb lofted header from Manchester United striker, Robben Van Persie, found the back of the net, over Casillas’s head. The match ended with one more from Van Persie, two from Arjen Robben and another nail in the coffin by means of a superb De Vrij header. The result: 5-1 in favour of the Oranje.
In other results, Mexico beat Cameroon 1-0 and Chile beat Australia 3-1.