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World Cup 2014: Brazil’s century?

Will hosting the tournament make or break this emerging power, asks Michael Reid

By Michael Reid  

Crowds on Paulista Avenue, June 2013. ©AP Photo/Nelson Antoine (São Paulo protests)

The only previous time that Brazil hosted the football World Cup, in 1950, it proved to be a national humiliation. On paper, Brazil had the best team in the world. The government of what was then the Federal District built the  Maracanã stadium for the big occasion. Brazil duly reached the final, where it faced Uruguay. On Sunday, 16th July the Maracanã was packed to overflowing: the official attendance of 173,850 paying spectators was a world…

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