2014 fifa world cup

This year’s World Cup final will be played at Brazil’s iconic Maracana stadium, a venue that is in many ways a beacon of power, strength, and an illustrious history. But it’s also a reminder of darkness, disappointment and failure. Lying in the imposing shadow of the Maracana is the slum area of Favela do Metro.

While 2013 [was] an incredibly interesting year for Brazil, 2014 promises to be even more fascinating. Beyond the World Cup, which promises to occupy much of the year's headlines, here are some of the big issues to watch.

Germany's national soccer club, favored by many to win this year's World Cup, is not messing around with their accommodations for next June's tournament. Dissatisfied with Brazil's hotel inventory, the team has decided to instead build a new beach resort as their home base. Financed by a Munich entrepreneur, "Campo Bahia" will have 14 two-story homes for players and team officials, a soccer field, and a media center by the time it finishes construction this spring. It'll be the first time the squad will have its own World Cup facility built from scratch, according to Der Spiegel.

The 2014 World Cup draw that grouped Iran with heavyweights Argentina has provoked thousands of Iranians to trash the Facebook page of Argentine superstar Lionel Messi. Iran was drawn in Group F alongside Argentina, reigning African champions Nigeria and newcomers Bosnia-Herzegovina, and will open their fourth campaign in the final stages of the World Cup on June 16.

Brazil's government tourism authority Embratur took advantage of today's live World Cup draw to start targeting online videos at potential visitors to Brazil from key tourism markets. The draw, eagerly awaited by soccer fans around the world, places the 32 national teams in 8 groups and determines which teams will play each other first, and in which of the 12 Brazilian cities that will host World Cup games starting in June 2014.

The bumpy ride in the rickety van heads up the steep hill into Morro da Providência, this city’s oldest favela. Last stop: a small, silent square with a hardware shop, bar and pair of young policemen in armored gear toting machine guns, patrolling the still-unopened cable-car station that the city has recently built. The port spreads out below. Spurred by two looming mega-events — the World Cup next year and the Summer Olympics in 2016 — local officials are struggling to reinvent this onetime third-world city with a first-world economy.

The head of the Olympic Public Authority (APO), Marcio Fortes, delivered his letter of resignation, raising concerns about Brazil’s handling of the preparations for the upcoming Games. The resignation of one of the most senior figures involved in planning of the 2016 Olympics comes just two weeks before a team of inspectors from the International Olympic Committee were scheduled to visit Rio.