My World Cup Wrap Up

World Cup 2014 Brazil - Curitiba Stadium - Australia vs Spain
World Cup 2014 Brazil – Curitiba Stadium – Australia vs Spain

It took me a few days after the final to kick my World Cup hangover, but I’m finally back online after almost a month hiatus to report that my Brazilian World Cup experience has officially come and gone.

It has been one wild and crazy month filled with emotionally highs and lows for teams and fans from all over the globe, and I’m so happy to have been a part of it all.

From following the Australian fans and celebrating with Brazilians to cheering alongside Americans, Colombians and Argentines, this was one moment in time that I will never forget.

Here’s how the World Cup played out for Tourist 2 Townie.

The Storylines:

  • As predicted, Germany took home the trophy.
  • The “underdogs” of Latin America were well represented thanks to a great run by Chile, Costa Rica and especially Colombia.
  • The United States survived their “group of death” and gave Belgium a run for their money in the Round of 16 thanks to Tim Howard.
  • Soccer powerhouses Spain, Italy, Portugal and England couldn’t get past their groups.
  • Uruguay’s Luis Suárez bit a guy.
  • The 2014 World Cup saw the most goals (171) in the history of the tournament and fewest red cards (8) since 1986.
  • And perhaps the biggest news… Brazil’s 7-1 loss to Germany was the biggest losing margin by a host nation at a World Cup.
  • For more interesting World Cup stats check out this article from the Guardian.

The Host:

I had my doubts about the stadiums being ready after visiting many of the host cities before the games, but somehow, someway, they pulled it off.

Not all were perfect, or 100% complete, but every game was played as scheduled.

The protests and internal issues that were a major concern leading up to June 12th were overshadowed by the great distraction happening on the streets and in everyone’s living room.

Although protests still continued in Sao Paulo and Rio, most of the 3 million plus visitors weren’t affected or even aware of the unrest. With that as their primary goal, Brazil managed to avoid any major (internationally newsworthy) disasters that would taint the World Cup and/or Brazil for the general public watching abroad.

I think that will be considered a big success.

Despite the social interests and controversies surrounding the cup, it’s not to say that Brazilians didn’t enjoy the games or weren’t gracious hosts. On the ground level, it was an incredible scene for both locals and foreigners alike.

On the days Brazil played, it was deemed a national holiday and you couldn’t walk two blocks without stumbling past a party pouring into the streets from a local bar or restaurant.

World Cup 2014 Brazil - Brazilians watching the games on decorated streets
World Cup 2014 Brazil – Brazilians watching the games from a TV outside on the decorated streets

At each game, no matter who it was, everyone picked a side and cheered, laughed and celebrated together within the stadiums and on the streets all across the country.

Outside the stadiums, the public “Fan Fests” around Brazil attracted hug crowds who watched the games and enjoyed the live concerts before and after many games.

World Cup 2014 in Brazil - Argentines walking to Fan Fest on Copacabana Beach
World Cup 2014 in Brazil – Argentines walking to Fan Fest on Copacabana Beach

As the tournament unfolded, Rio de Janeiro saw a huge influx of something like 100,000 Argentine fans who quickly over took Colombia as the most noticeable foreign supporters in the city.

Despite a humiliating loss to Germany, most Brazil fans were relieved Argentina didn’t win. Things would have been real bad here if they did. *

*If you don’t know, Argentina and Brazil have a tremendous rivalry with everything, especially soccer.

My World Cup Journey

When I initially though of the goal “work at the World Cup,” I couldn’t have laid a better plan than how everything unfolded. I was truly blessed with this opportunity. I take that back, I worked my ass off to get it. : )

Besides maybe me holding up the trophy with the Brazil team after the final, this was beyond a perfect dream come true.

On June 11th I grabbed my camera gear and made my way to Copacabana beach to meet The Fanatics, an Australian tour company leading almost 2,000 fans around to each of the Aussie matches. For 17 days I shot, edited and posted daily video journals on their facebook page as we traveled to different Brazilian cities.

I worked all day, edited all night and loved the experience. I even made some time to cheer on the boys from down under against Chile, Spain and the Netherlands (which was almost a win).

After the crazy schedule, I returned to Rio de Janeiro and went to the Colombia vs. Uruguay match on the following day. I have a special place in my heart for Colombia and Colombians so it was amazing to see them get the big win.

Two days later, an amazing friend invited me to Salvador to watch the USA against Belgium.

Despite the loss, it was unbelievable to watch my countrymen in action and a great 24 hours back up north. *Tips hat to Tim Howard*

World Cup 2014 in Brazil - Salvador Stadium Entrance
World Cup 2014 in Brazil – The incredible view approaching the stadium in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil

After all the travel, I stayed put back in Rio to watch the quarters, semis and final match at the Fan Fest in Copacabana.

It was crowded and such a rollercoaster of emotions. First, Brazil beat Colombia, which was bittersweet but epic for Brazilians and then they got absolutely embarrassed by Germany.

I left after the first half.

World Cup 2014 Brazil - Fan Fest Copacabana
The excitement before the storm, literally. The Brazilian crowd before the Germany game… ouch.

Then, as I mentioned before, Argentines took over the city and ran wild until Germany silenced them as well in the final.

Things got heated after the finals match as Argentines and Brazilians continued to go at each other, but it was a small blemish in an otherwise tremendous experience.

All in all, it was an absolutely beautiful thing to be a part of.

What’s Next?

Time to go explore more of Brazil and more of Rio. Maybe now I will finally have time for my other Brazilian goal… learn Jiu Jitsu!

Also, I’ll be shooting lots and lots more videos so subscribe to the T2T YouTube channel for a huge influx of my experiences from all around the country.

Next Posts:

  • My World Cup Experience in Photos
  • My World Cup Highlight Video

My name is Gareth Leonard, a Marketing Director turned World Traveler with a passion for slow, meaningful travel. I have been traveling the world full-time for the past 9+ years and document it all on Instagram and YouTube. Come join me!


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