The FIFA World Cup is a global phenomenon and, next summer, it will be the competition's most successful nation, Brazil, that will play host to the tournament's latest edition.
The South American giants have not hosted since 1950, when they were stunned by Uruguay in the final at the Maracana—a game that, while now less embedded in the country's psyche than it has been in the past, will be mentioned to the point of boredom by the host nation's media next summer.
While England is the "home of football," Brazil is undoubtedly the sport's heartland. The country lives and breathes the game and produces more professional players than any other nation.
Having experienced some difficult times—by their own exceedingly high standards—over the past few years, Brazil stunned the footballing world with an unprecedented 3-0 demolition of Spain in the Confederations Cup this June.
That result and its emphatic nature has seen the Selecao replace La Roja as favourites for the competition next summer—despite Spain being the reigning champions.
Are they, though, set for a repeat of the Maracanazo, or will Brazil come good on their favourites tag? World football needs the latter to happen.
The World Cup is a festival of football that entices even many non-football fans to follow proceedings and get caught up in the positive atmosphere that sweeps round large swathes of the globe.
Just how successful the competition can be as a spectacle, though, depends much on the host nation and how they help create an atmosphere of fun and enjoyment.
Following the Confederations Cup this summer and the large-scale protests that drew much media attention away from the football, it is clear that there may be some obstacles to FIFA's dream of a joyous footballing celebration.
Only this week, the Soccerex conference in Rio de Janeiro was cancelled after the official organisers claimed the local government had withdrawn support for the event due to security fears, per BBC Sport.
While open, entertaining games like those witnessed at this year's Confederations Cup will help FIFA in its bid to keep attention on the football involved, there will be major coverage should protests blight the tournament.
Football and the World Cup can be a force for good in uniting people from around the globe and, as the protestors have discovered, it can also help highlight major issues in society—the protests stem from issues much deeper than the simple cost of hosting the World Cup.
However, Brazil will need a rallying point once more and, at the Confederations Cup, it was around its greatest export that the country united, despite the troubles. The Selecao were representing a nation fighting for a better future and, ultimately, did them proud:
Protests or not, Scolari's Brazil side have a responsibility to represent their public once more, and a disappointing performance from the host side would leave spirits dampened around the country.
FIFA, therefore, needs Brazil to be successful to justify its faith in the country holding the tournament and, also, to ensure the bright future of the World Cup.
The World Cup is immensely popular, but has not been at its inspiring best in recent tournaments, and it faces competition for the title of football's premier event from the UEFA Champions League.
For the continued importance of international football, Brazil must put on a spectacle as a nation and hope that the teams on the pitch match its efforts.
In its own side, Brazil has a perfect candidate to really set the tournament alight with skillful attacking play. After the years of possession football being dominant, football needs a World Cup that once more sees individual talents shine.
No team has more potential in that regards than Brazil, which boasts an attacking line full of creative flair, pace and individualism. At the forefront, of course, will be star man Neymar.
If, on home soil, Scolari's side can repeat their performances of this summer and once more play with the same incredible spirit and freedom, they could create a truly memorable tournament for the ages.
When it comes to the expectations of locals, only a win will be sufficient for the Selecao on home soil. However, the world game needs this Brazil side to perform to their best just as much as the hosts.
If they can, the 2014 competition will undoubtedly be the celebration of footballing excellence that the World Cup should be, and that FIFA so desperately requires.
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