4 December 2023

10 Surprising World Cup Facts

By usamerica_us

Did you know that Brazil is hosting the FIFA World Cup for the second time? Their first hosting was in 1950 when they lost to Uruguay in the finals. But this time around, it’s a whole new ball game with the controversies and the money being poured into the event.

If you’ve been keeping up with the latest World Cup news, you probably know about the protests in Brazil against the extravagant spending by the government for the tournament.

But there are some interesting facts that you might have missed, like…

1. The First World Cup with Goal-Line Technology

Do you remember when Frank Lampard’s goal in the previous World Cup didn’t get counted? It was such a mess! But don’t worry, starting with this year’s World Cup, that won’t be a problem anymore. We have goal-line technology to thank for that. This technology uses electronic devices to determine whether the ball has actually crossed the goal line or not.

In this World Cup, there will be 14 high-speed cameras on the field, with seven positioned at each of the two goalmouths. When the ball crosses the goal line, the referee will receive a signal on a special watch they wear. If you’re skeptical about whether this technology will work, rest assured that it was tested in the 2013 Confederation Cup and approved by FIFA themselves.

10 Surprising World Cup Facts

2. Security: Trusting our faithful robotic allies

Given the recent surge of protests and alarming crime rates in Brazil, the authorities are prioritizing security measures. Alongside the deployment of 15,000 troops and police, as well as 20,000 security guards, the Brazilian government has made the decision to enlist the support of military robots known as PackBots. A total of 30 PackBots have been acquired for $7.2 million from the renowned manufacturer, iRobot.

These extraordinary robots, equipped with cutting-edge technology, have been specially programmed to scrutinize any objects that raise suspicion. They are equipped with an impressive array of features, including GPS, video capabilities, thermal detection systems, an electronic compass, and system diagnostics to ensure peak performance. Built to endure hostile environments, they can withstand a fall from a height of two meters onto solid concrete. With their remarkable 360-degree rotation range, they possess unmatched versatility. Remarkably, PackBots can be conveniently packed away in a backpack when not in use, thanks to their compact design.

10 Surprising World Cup Facts

3. “Darth Vader” Police

When it comes to beefing up security, the police force decided to give themselves a makeover – a Darth Vader makeover, that is. In order to handle the anticipated protests during the games, the anti-riot police patrolling the 12 stadiums will be donning masks inspired by the iconic Star Wars villain.

But don’t be put off by the intimidating appearance of these masks. They’re not just for show. These masks are actually built to protect the police officers from gas attacks and high temperatures. Thanks to a special visor that doesn’t fog up, they’ll be able to see clearly in any situation. And as an added bonus, the masks come with a voice amplifier that alters the wearer’s voice. Imagine the surprise of hearing the police say, “I am your father!”

10 Surprising World Cup Facts

(Image source: Latino News)

4. A Remarkable First Kick by a Paraplegic Teenager

Usually, it’s a famous person who has the privilege of performing the ceremonial first kick to initiate the start of the World Cup. But this year, something truly extraordinary will happen – a teenage girl who is paralyzed from the waist down will take on that role! And the most amazing part? She will do it using a mind-controlled robotic exoskeleton.

This exoskeleton, which was developed by the brilliant Brazilian neuroscientist Miguel Nicolelis, is made of lightweight metal and uses hydraulic power. The teen will be able to stand up and walk despite her paralysis, thanks to this incredible technology. How does it work, you ask? Well, she will be wearing a suit and a cap fitted with electrodes that can pick up signals from her brain and transfer them to the exoskeleton. It’s like something out of a sci-fi movie!

Just think about it – a future where wheelchairs are no longer necessary could be right around the corner. This opening ceremony is not only a celebration of soccer but also a testament to human ingenuity and the power of technology. I can’t wait to see this historic moment unfold!

10 Surprising World Cup Facts

5. The Stadiums Getting Ready (or Not)

As I write this, I can’t help but feel concerned about the World Cup because not all 12 stadiums will be finished on time. Can you believe it? Three of them are still under construction, and only two out of these three have gone through testing, but they still need some fixing here and there. Funny enough, the last stadium to be tested is the one hosting the opening match.

Out of the 12 stadiums, the Mineirão Stadium in the city of Belo Horizonte has made it to the finish line first and even boasts having the first-ever solar-powered roof. This stadium can seat up to 62,000 spectators, and it will be the venue for six out of the 64 games in the upcoming World Cup. And that’s not all! The Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro and the Pernambuco Stadium in Recife also feature solar-powered technology. How cool is that?

10 Surprising World Cup Facts

6. Iranian Footballers Find Their Voice on Twitter

Even though Twitter is officially blocked in Iran, that hasn’t stopped the social media platform from becoming an important tool for Iranian football players. With the assistance of freelance journalist Negar Mortazavi, Hossein Mahini, an Iranian defender, has become the first footballer from the country to join Twitter.

Prior to this, Mahini had a Twitter account, but there wasn’t much activity. However, as the World Cup draws near, Mahini has managed to convince two other players, Sardar Azmoun and Mohammad Reza Khalatbari, to sign up as well. Now, all three Iranian players have verified Twitter accounts.

7. World Cup Glory: A Privilege of a Select Few

Out of the 19 World Cup tournaments held since 1930, only eight countries have managed to clinch the championship. These include Brazil, who is hosting this year’s event, as well as last year’s champions Spain, Italy, Germany, England, Argentina, France, and the inaugural winners Uruguay.

Of these eight nations, Brazil boasts the highest number of victories, having won the tournament five times. Italy closely follows with four wins, while Germany secures the third position with three victories. Argentina and Uruguay have both claimed the title twice, while England, France, and Spain have managed to win only once. It’s not surprising that these countries are seen as strong contenders for this year’s championship.

10 Surprising World Cup Facts

8. Japan: I Choose you, Pikachu!

The World Cup is an exciting event that brings together teams from all over the world to compete. And when it comes to choosing a mascot to represent the team, Japan has gone above and beyond. They have teamed up with Adidas and The Pokemon Company to select none other than the adorable yellow pocket monster Pikachu.

But Japan didn’t stop there. They have created an entire football squad made up of Pokemon characters, with Pikachu leading the way as the team captain. The squad includes familiar faces like Meowth, Bulbasaur, Charmander, Squirtle, Froakie, Chespin, Pancham, Fennekin, Helioptile, and Litleo. And to show their support, all the Pokemon players are proudly wearing Japan’s World Cup kit.

10 Surprising World Cup Facts

To Drink or Not to Drink?

When it comes to sports events like the FIFA World Cup, there’s always a question of whether or not alcohol should be allowed. The World Cup, being sponsored by Budweiser, has a long-standing tradition of serving beer outside the stadiums. However, this tradition clashes with Brazil’s ban on alcoholic drinks near sports venues.

Since 2003, Brazil has prohibited the sale of alcohol at football matches in an effort to reduce violence between rival fans. This ban has posed a problem for FIFA, who strongly believes that beer should be available at World Cup events and even wants it to be part of the tournament’s constitution. As a compromise, Brazil has temporarily lifted its ban on alcohol to accommodate the World Cup.

10 Surprising World Cup Facts

10. The teams that cost the most

Can you believe that the champions of the tournament will take home a whopping $567 million in prize money? It’s no wonder that the winning team will also become the most expensive squad. As the reigning champions, Spain is currently the priciest team on the field.

According to what I read, three of Spain’s players – Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas, and Sergio Busquets – are valued at $75.39 million, $67.99 million, and $61.42 million respectively. When you add in the rest of the players, the total cost of Spain’s team is a staggering $1029.37 million. Right behind Spain, we have Germany in second place with a total cost of $844.43 million, while Brazil comes in third with a price tag of $640.81 million.

10 Surprising World Cup Facts

Here’s More Football Team Quirks!

Weird Demands by Soccer Teams

If you thought famous athletes had odd requests, wait until you hear what soccer teams ask for in their hotel rooms during the World Cup. Some of their demands make sense, like Algeria’s request for a Quran in each room. Others, though, are a bit more out there. Take Ecuador, who wants a basket of bananas from Ecuador in every room.

Here are some other requests made by the teams (excluding the usual ask for video game consoles):

  • Japan wants a hot tub in every room.
  • Chile wants each room to have new beds and flat screen TVs.
  • Uruguay has asked for silent air conditioning in all rooms.
  • Switzerland would like high-speed Internet and six TV channels in every room.

I want to tell you about some interesting requests made by different countries. Honduras wants to have six Spanish TV stations added to their channel guide, including two channels from Honduras. Isn’t that cool? In Australia, people asked for a variety of newspapers from all over the world, delivered to them every day. I guess they really love to stay informed! Meanwhile, in Colombia, they are looking for 15 lucky kids to participate in their training sessions. How exciting for those kids! Over in France, they prefer liquid soap over soap bars, and they also want kosher meat. That’s interesting, isn’t it? Lastly, in Portugal, they have a unique demand for six bodyguards, and get this, four of them will be assigned to Cristiano Ronaldo. I guess he’s a pretty important person there! And just to switch gears a bit, did you know that Brazil’s weather is so hot that it can make it difficult to function? Can you imagine? It must be really hot there!

If you imagine the scorching Brazilian sun and its lush rainforests, you’re on the right track. Brazil is a very humid country, with certain areas being even more humid than others. Some cities, like Manaus, Recife, Fortazela, Natal, and Salvador, experience particularly high humidity levels. Since these cities are among the 12 where matches will be held, players who aren’t used to this kind of weather might find it challenging to play.