Sexy football and pretty cities: watching the World Cup in Brazil

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Brazilian soccer player holding football wears 2014 shirt in Brazil colors Rio de Janeiro

Brazilian football player wears 2014 shirt

Did you hear the news? The World Cup is coming. That’s right, the greatest sporting event in the universe, a phenomenon so special it only happens every four years, and it’s coming this summer to a television near you. But why watch the world’s top footballers through a 50” screen when you could watch them in the glorious technicolour that is real life? No stupid 3D glasses, no craning your neck to glimpse the action across a crowded bar: just you and 70,000 others witnessing the action live from Brazil.

The magnificence of the World Cup needs no overstating. Hyperbole’s not required. It’s the World Cup and it’s being held in Brazil, the home of football. What more do you need to know? Well, a guide to which cities to visit might be in order – and perhaps some information regarding fixtures and scheduling. Here we go then: your essential guide to watching the World Cup in Brazil.

World Cup 2014 in Manaus

Amazon River and the City of Manaus Brazil

Amazon River and the City of Manaus

All of Brazil’s major cities have distinct identities, complete with unique quirks, attractions and natural phenomena. Manaus is best known for the curious effect caused by the River Negro meeting the Solimões, causing the dark waters of one to clash with the muddy waters of the latter. The two rivers intermingle for miles without mixing together, almost like oil and water. For World Cup fans, the key match in Manaus is England v Italy on 14 June. With any luck, the opposing fans will mix more fluently than Manaus’ incongruous rivers.

World Cup 2014 in Belo Horizonte

Belo Horizonte Brasil Brazil.14

Belo Horizonte stadium

If you’re travelling to Brazil from the UK, Belo Horizonte will almost certainly be on your itinerary. Two and a half million people live in this sprawling city, but don’t let its scale overwhelm you. The city is easy to navigate and is famed for its broad avenues and green spaces. It’s a pretty city too – the clue’s in the name, which literally means Beautiful Horizon. The key World Cup match here, as far as most Brits are concerned, will be Costa Rica v England on 24 June. Get here a few days early and soak up the atmosphere.

World Cup 2014 in Rio de Janeiro

Mike Vondran, Ipanema Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil January 3 2009 Photo: Mike Vondran

Ipanema Beach, Rio de Janeiro. Photo: Mike Vondran

Visiting Brazil’s most famous city during World Cup time isn’t mandatory, but it is recommended. The nightlife, the beach life and every other form of life within this teeming metropolis make Rio the country’s carnival capital. Add in an international cross-section of football fans and the stage is set for the mother of all parties. Amidst all the dancing, singing and drinking, there’ll also be some football happening. Spain v Chile on 18 June should be a tasty affair, though the main event unfolds on 13 July when the World Cup final is hosted in Rio. Didn’t get tickets? Watch the matches from your Rio de Janeiro holiday rental.

World Cup 2014 in Sao Paulo

Se Cathedral in sao paulo

Se Cathedral in Sao Paulo

Crammed with culture, a great culinary scene and an insane amount of people (11 million to be precise), Sao Paulo makes London look like a village. There are numerous reasons why Sao Paulo is a great holiday destination, but this summer, there’s only one reason why you’ll be booking a flight to its international airport. Take your pick from six World Cup matches including Brazil v Croatia on 12 June and Uruguay v England on June 19. Find your perfect Sao Paulo holiday home for the World Cup, and you’re all set.

World Cup 2014 in Natal

Ponta Negra beach with buildings in Natal city - Brazil

Ponta Negra beach in Natal city

The key ingredients for a successful World Cup holiday are football (of course), sunshine (of course) and beer – naturally. Natal supplies all three of these essentials in spades. This sun-kissed beach city, with average annual temperatures of 28ºC, boasts a string of pristine beaches that are perfect for bathing, lazing and kicking a ball around. Four World Cup matches will be held here in June including Mexico v Cameroon on June 13 and Italy v Uruguay on June 24.

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KaiSexy football and pretty cities: watching the World Cup in Brazil

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