World Cup StuffEvery four years, I try to like soccer a little more.
The games so far in this World Cup seem substantially more entertaining than last time, and having the World Cup in Brazil gives everything a special feel.
If you'd like a highly readable introduction to Brazil's history (both political and soccer), then I highly recommend this book: Brazil's Dance with the Devil: The World Cup, The Olympics, and the Fight for Democracy. Now, this recommendation comes with a few caveats:
-the book's purpose is different than mine (a readable introduction to Brazil). It's highly critical of both the World Cup and the Olympics coming to Brazil (and makes a reasonable case).
-the chapters that I recommend are Chapter 2 ("There Is No Sin Below The Equator"), Chapter 3 ("Oh, Lula"), and Chapter 4 ("Futebol: the Journey From Daring To Fear").
There is a TON of fascinating information in just those three chapters. In the "Futebol" chapter, I discovered that Pele is not even considered the best player in Brazil's history, necessarily--that honor is also claimed by Garrincha. I'd never even heard of Garrincha, but after seeing some video, I'm amazed.
In case you're curious, here are some links:
Garrincha - The Genius of Dribble ( Documentary ) Part 1
Garrincha - The Genius of Dribble ( Documentary ) Part 2
Pelé and Garrincha - Gods of Brazil (Documentary)
Something else I discovered is that Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, at one point, had a capacity of 200,000 fans. 200,000!
Even if you don't like soccer in the least, the reading and the documentaries are a very pleasant way to spend a few hours.