Foreign stars to have Mineirão as stage
Messi, Hazard, Aguero, Gerard and Rooney are some of the most well paid and acknowledged players on the planet
| VICTOR MARTINS |
Mineirão stadium, one of the main stadiums of 2014 World Cup, is to host six matches of the championship. Undoubtedly, the semifinal, scheduled to the 8th of July at 5 p.m., is going to be the most important one to be played in Belo Horizonte. And the city has also other matches which are going to produce gees. An indication of that is the number of football stars that are going to perform on the field of Pampulha's Giant.
Messi, Hazard, Aguero, Gerard and Rooney are some of the most well paid and acknowledged players on the planet. Expectations are that each one of them will be into action when their respective squads plays at Mineirão. The only remaining doubt is Garcia, who is still recovering from a surgery.
It's a quite different scenario from Confederations Cup, last year. During the world championship's preview, always held one year before the World Cup, Belo Horizonte has received two matches of the first phase, not causing much excitement. Nigeria vs Tahiti and Japan vs Mexico were the two battles. Historical and traditional duel between Brazil and Uruguay has enriched the presence of Minas' stadium at the competition.
The contestants have played the semifinal in BH and have given quite a show, with a penalty defended by Brazilian goalkeeper Júlio César and a turnaround at scores at the end of the match with a goal scored by Paulinho. All that besides the show off of a legion of international aces such as Thiago Silva, David Luiz and Neymar on the Brazilian side, and Forlán, Cavani and Luis Suárez at the Uruguayan squad.
Having the opportunity to see live the athletes that perform in Europe is the big differential of the matches in Belo Horizonte. Rádio Globo commenter Marcelo Bechler summed well this opportunity. "Argentina's match will be worth for its players. It may be a historical moment seeing Messi on the field on a World Cup match".
England is another traditional squad which will perform on Minas Gerais grounds. Even having only one title and a history of many disappointments in big tournaments, the English are a good bet in 2014. At least, that's what says CBN radio station Mário Marra. "Coach Roy Hodgson was clever and put Liverpool main players as the squad’s basis. He spares some time, because the players are already acquainted on the field, and spares some disagreement. It's a squad that might surprise us on this Cup".
If on one hand Belgium and Colombia don't hold the same tradition as Argentina and England, on the other hand they are both squads that arrive at the Cup with high spirits and well prepared to perform a show and overwhelm the public. This is good news for Minas Gerais' supporters who have bought tickets for the matches, as they may rest reassured that Mineirão will only host great matches. A proof of that is that on Fifa's website it is only possible to buy tickets for Belgium vs Algeria match, and the option is only available for wheelchair users. For the other five matches all tickets are already sold out, no matter the price.
Translated by Raquel Sodré