World Cup

As far as I’m concerned, one of the year’s most important Latin American stories happened this week in China.

Yep, communist China. On Monday the government’s Internet watchdragon, known as the Great Firewall, pulled the plug on Gmail because it's a subversive instrument of free speech and dissent.

In the process, Beijing affirmed President Obama’s historic decision this month to pursue a policy of engagement with communist Cuba.



All right, we're introducing you to a new word today. It's Portunol. It's a language - well, sort of. It's a mixture of Spanish and Portuguese and it is how many Spanish-speaking fans at the World Cup are communicating with their Portuguese-speaking, Brazilian cousins. The results are not always pretty. NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro has this reporter's notebook on South America's great language divide.

Jimmy Baikovicius / Flickr

From Chile to China, soccer fans like to think their teams reflect their national characters.

That’s a delusion, of course. These are jocks, not exchange students. But if international fútbol really is the continuation of war by other means, you at least want to believe your soccer soldiers share your values.

Which is why Uruguay – a nation whose progressive values are so often applauded these days – should follow this advice: Lose Luis.

CW Griffin / Miami Herald

To see Brazil for the first time is to see the New World for the first time.

That’s not a travel brochure cliché. If you’re in Rio de Janeiro, standing atop the Pão de Açúcar and surveying the Baía de Guanabara, it’s easy to recall what F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote about the way any European must have felt upon arriving in the Americas five centuries ago: “…face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity to wonder.”

Julia Duba / WLRN

Do Brazilians still care about soccer?

I know, that seems as dumb a question as "Does the Vatican still care about Jesus?" Brazilians are arguably the most soccer-passionate people on Earth.

But check out this poll result just before the World Cup started last week in Brazil: A majority of Brazilians said they were not happy about hosting international soccer’s biggest event.

That’s because Brazil’s World Cup preparations were such an embarrassment. And because the Cup’s billion-dollar cost overruns are such a source of anger for Brazilians right now.

Talk To Us: What Are You Thinking About The FIFA World Cup?

Jun 18, 2014
Celso Flores / Creative Commons

From across the pond in England to just south of us in Mexico, passionate soccer fans are spotted in local bars, restaurants or watch parties. 

Here in South Florida, we want to hear your World Cup thoughts. Who are you rooting for? What are you wearing to show your support? What does your country do to celebrate the victories? 

Join the conversation with the hashtag #WorldCupSoFla and tell us what makes your team unique. 

For South Floridian Soccer Fans, The World Cup Is About Unity

Jun 16, 2014
Constanza Gallardo / WLRN


For Silvina Di Pietro cheering for her national team is one of the best ways to support her country.  

Di Pietro was born in Argentina but moved to South Florida 14 years ago. She still supports her birth country's team, especially during the World Cup.

“Argentina is one of the most beloved, devoted people that love soccer,” she says. “For us it's like a religion."

She says soccer is the world’s No. 1 sport, and the best thing about it is it brings people together.  

International Tweeters Use Hashtag To Protest The World Cup

Jun 12, 2014

Tweeters, mainly in Spain and Latin America, are using the hashtag #NoVoyABrasilPorque to state why they're not going to -- and some boycotting -- Brazil for the World Cup. The users are mainly protesting Brazil’s economic preference toward the tournament than many of its social issues.

Bonnie Berman/WLRN

06-/11/14 - The FIFA 2014 World Cup kicks off Thursday in Sao Paulo Brazil.  Please join us for Wednesday’s Topical Currents when our resident soccer enthusiast, Andy Wagner speaks about the British origins of the sport in the late 1800’s and its spread across the globe to become a part of everyday life in Latin America.  He visits with Joshua Nadel,

Gabriel Smith / Flickr

The line between confident and conceited was pretty thin in Brazil in October of 2007.

The South American giant was in the midst of a boom that would make it the world’s sixth largest economy. Massive new oil reserves were being discovered off its coast. It considered itself a global player that deserved a permanent seat on the ultra-exclusive U.N. Security Council.

And it had just been awarded the 2014 soccer World Cup.

“God,” then President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva declared, “is Brazilian.”