Boots n all at the Brazil World Cup

The FIFA World Cup in Brazil is just around the corner and football fans around the world are gearing up for one of the biggest sporting events on the planet.

Kicking off on June 12 and running for a month until July 13, the cup will see 32 teams from around the world go head to head in chase of the goals, the glory, and the gloating rights that come with this prestigious chalice.

Call it football or call it soccer, here are the basics for what you need to know about this epic event.

What you need to know

  • Australia has landed itself alongside fierce competitors Spain, the Netherlands and Chile in Group B. Our first match is against Chile on June 13, followed by a game with the Netherlands on June 18 and a battle with Spain on June 23.
  • Spain is currently ranked as the world’s number one team, while Chile and the Netherlands sit at 14th and 15th respectively. If nothing else, that puts Australia (currently in 62nd place) in a great spot for a surprise underdog victory.
  • The 32 teams are split into 8 groups. Within these groups, the teams play each other just once, and the top two teams from each group head to the next stage. If they win in this stage, they head to the quarter finals and the rest is history.
  • Out of 76 competing nations in the World Cup, only eight have ever won– Brazil, Italy, Germany, Argentina, Uruguay, England, France & Spain.
  • In 2014, the winning team will receive US$35 Million.
  • You can check out the full World Cup schedule here.

About to jump on a plane to Brazil?

  • Now we all know Brazil ain’t too shabby with the old football, but did you know they’re pretty good at tourism too? Rio de Janeiro (literally, the ‘January River’), is a hot choice amongst travellers these days – it’s also set to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2016, so it’s putting on a great show for anyone planning a visit.
  • Brasilia nabbed the title of the country’s capital in 1960, and is worthy of a visit. This city is hosting several FIFA games, including a quarter final and the play off for third place. Make sure you check out the Congresso Nacional, while you’re there. It’s one of the coolest government buildings you’ll ever see. It looks like a couple of contact lenses and upright dominoes – although architects might have a better description.
  • An obvious one, but one you shouldn’t miss in Rio is a visit to the Christ the Redeemer statue – one of the Seven Wonders of the World
  • Head to Ipanema Beach, Rio and experience the diversity of Brazil. Just keep in mind to be safe in the water as the word Ipanema is translated to “bad, dangerous waters” due to the rough tides.
  • If you feel like working on your fading summer tan, head to Posto (post) 9 and sit with the (already tanned) locals.
  • In Sao Paulo? Head to the Football Museum and learn about why Football is Brazil’s most popular sport.
  • Finally, fans of Barry Manilow might know all the lyrics to the Copacabana song, but only in Rio do you get to enjoy the 4.5km stretch of iconic white sand, lined with lively bars that are open as late as you can stay awake.

Virgin Money tips for Brazil

  • Brazil uses Real (plural Reais) as currency, but you pronounce it as ‘hay-ow’ and ‘hay-ice’
  • Shops with the word ‘Cambio’ on display will allow you to exchange currency
  • Plan for a 10% tip, but you can tip more
  • You’ll need anything from a minimum of R$80 – R$250 per day, depending on your activities and accommodation choices
  • If you’re heading to Brazil for the World Cup, don’t forget to pack your travel insurance. We can’t insure against your team losing, but it might be worth packing some peace of mind and considering Virgin Travel Insurance.

Are you headed to Brazil this year, or will you be living through TV coverage instead?