Brazil World Cup Update: Two Weeks Away

2014 FIFA World Cup Stadiums - Porto Alegre Stadium
Still working on the Porto Alegre Stadium – I took this photo on May 7th, 2014

With just over two weeks remaining before the 2014 FIFA World Cup, I’ve been traveling like crazy to see as much of Brazil as possible before the chaos begins on June 12th.

My goal is to return to my apartment in Rio de Janeiro to watch the games and hopefully still find a way to get involved on some level (see full World Cup Schedule here).

Over the past month I’ve had the opportunity to visit six World Cup host cities including Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia, Porto Alegre, Curitiba, Sao Paulo and Manaus. It’s been very interesting to see the stadiums and hear what locals have to say about the upcoming event.

Each city I’ve been to still has work to do before the World Cup begins.

2014 FIFA World Cup Stadiums - Curitiba World Cup Stadium
Curitiba just had their first test match without all the seats installed. I took this photo on May 14th

In Porto Alegre and Brasilia, there’s still a lot to do outside the stadium as far as perimeter construction goes (parking, cosmetics, crowd flow). In Sao Paulo and Manaus, they’re working on external non-stadium construction still and traffic flow patterns for game day. In Curitiba, they haven’t finished putting in the seats yet!

I have no doubt that the World Cup will go on as scheduled, but I wonder how many planned projects won’t be finished once the group round begins.

For the most part, Rio de Janeiro is ready from a structural standpoint, but their social distractions are still a cause for concern.

Police in Rio have taken the example of the police strike in Salvador last month and have threatened to strike during the World Cup if they don’t get better working conditions and benefits.

All the social and economic factors are really too bad because as I travel around the country, there are so many mixed emotions to what should be, at its core, such an amazing sporting event.

Local friends in Curitiba pointed out that there weren’t many Brazilian flags being hung on homes around town, like there have been in past World Cups. Once I noticed this, It was evident everywhere.

The only people who are really showing their patriotic spirit are the event sponsors and commercial places like restaurants and shops.

I have a feeling that once the cup starts, this will all change and everyone will rally around the team.

2014 FIFA World Cup Stadiums - Manaus World Cup Stadium
These stadium really are impressive. Manaus most of all. I took this yesterday (May 25)

2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Tickets

Many reports have surfaced warning fans about purchasing re-sold World Cup tickets on any site other than FIFA. FIFA has told fans buying World Cup tickets from unauthorized sellers can result in getting barred from stadiums. How much of this they will actually track on game day, I’m not sure.

I actually bought my two tickets from Viagogo (non-authorized seller) and I’m still working out if I want to keep them.

Viagogo told me that they can send the tickets to my apartment in Rio but they are not liable for anything that happens to the tickets once they arrive on Brazil soil.

Basically I would just be rolling the dice for the round of 16 and a final four match.

2014 FIFA World Cup Stadiums - Brasilia World Cup Stadium
Besides some cosmetic construction to be done, Brasilia seems ready. I took this photo on April 28th, 2014

The World Cup Soccer Games

Along with all the political, social and economic factors going into the World Cup, there is also the athletic side – the side that everyone is excited about.

Brazil is still the favorite, with Argentina and Germany close behind (see odds).

In US news, the All-time USA scoring leader Landon Donovan got snubbed from the American WC Roster.

Otherwise, teams are finishing up their last “friendly” matches before arriving in Brazil within the coming days to train.

2014 FIFA World Cup Stadiums - Porto Alegre World Cup Stadium
Hopefully my World Cup plans consist of more than just sneaking into stadiums like I did in Porto Alegre (new video).

My World Cup Plans

I just found out last week that the perfect opportunity I was counting on fell through so it’s back to the drawing board on accomplishing my goal of “working at the World Cup.”

I have a few dwindling leads still, but they haven’t been easy to come by.

I’m not giving up yet because Brazil’s reputation for waiting until the last minute might work out to my advantage this time.

In a worst-case scenario, I will sell my two tickets, stay in Rio, and watch all the games from the beach or at a local bar outside the stadium. Things could be much worse.

Any contacts or information you may have regarding working at the World Cup opportunities are always appreciated!

Otherwise, stay tuned for a TON of new content coming soon from all over the country, including travel videos from many of the World Cup host cities.

And, as always, follow me on Instagram for my most up-to-date travel stories before they hit the blog.


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!


    1. Thanks Turner, I plan on visiting BH after the World Cup chaos! Enjoy the games and it will be exciting to see what happens.

    1. I understand DJ, I wasn’t a football fan either until I moved to Argentina. I love the event and the incredible global passion behind it more than the actual game. TONS more photos coming up!

  1. So interesting to see your updates and observations about readiness. My husband is Brazilian, and he’s not worried. He mentioned the same thing you did about them getting things done at the last minute. As you know, many people are upset about so many things and this is the perfect stage for them to have these issues heard. It will be interesting to see what happens during the Cup itself. I’ll be there after July 1 but not going to any games.
    Jenna recently posted..A New Indulgence: My 5 Favorite Lifestyle BlogsMy Profile

  2. Like a true Brazilian Jenna, a smile and a laugh and “it will be ready.” I am so intrigued about what will happen during the cup as well, I guess we will see in a few days!!

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