The 2014 World Cup will be the 20th FIFA World Cup, an international soccer tournament that is expected to take place between June and July 2014 in Brazil.
After 36 years, the competition will return to South America. While, it has been 64 years since it last visited what is known internationally as 'the soccer nation'.
It is the first time the World Cup is being held in South America since Argentina hosted, and won, the 1978 tournament.
Brazil will become the fifth country to have hosted the FIFA World Cup twice, after Mexico, Italy, France and Germany.
Brazil have won the tournament a record five times and hosted the World Cup once before, in 1950, when they lost 2-1 in the final to Uruguay.
The twelve host cities chosen for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil are: Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Manaus, Belo Horizonte, Natal, Fortaleza, Curitiba, Salvador, Brasilia, Cuiaba, Recife and Porto Alegre. FIFA agreed to increase the number of host cities from 10 to 12 because of the size of Brazil.
All the stadiums are required to hold at least 40,000 spectators, with the final of the 2014 World Cup to be staged in the famous Maracana Stadium which was refurbished in 2006 and reopened in January 2007 with an all-seated capacity of 88,992.
Rio's legendary Maracana Stadium is to get a $500 million dollar facelift for the FIFA 2014 World Cup. The end of work on the stadium, the largest in the world when it was inaugurated in 1950 for the FIFA World Cup, is planned for December 2012.
The Maracana is classified as a historic monument so the facade will be maintained but a roof will be added to the five-storey oval stadium.
On July 8th, 2010, the 2014 World Cup Organizing Committee began the countdown to the 20th World Cup in history.
The 2014 World Cup will be played from June 13 to July 13, 2014 in 12 venues across Brazil. The country will also stage the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2015 Copa America as well as the 2016 Olympics Rio de Janeiro.
The Official FIFA 2014 World Cup Logo
The World Cup logo is called "Inspiration", and was created by Brazilian agency "Africa". The design stems from an iconic photograph of three victorious hands together raising the world's most famous trophy. As well as depicting the humanitarian notion of hands interlinking, the portrayal of the hands is also symbolic of the yellow and green of Brazil warmly welcoming the world to their country. The 2014 World Cup logo was unveiled at a ceremony held in Johannesburg, South Africa on July 8, 2010.
The Brazilian football legend Pele was not in Johannesburg to support the launch. The official explanation given by FIFA for his absence was that he had a prior commitment.
The largest country in South America, Brazil stretches over almost half of the continent. With the Atlantic Ocean on its eastern coastline, Brazil shares frontiers with Venezuela, Guyana, French Guyana and Surinam to the north. Its neighbours to the west are Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia and Peru, while Colombia is to the north-west and Uruguay directly south. Of all the countries in South America, only Chile and Ecuador do not border Brazil.
With a surface area of 8,547,404 km², Brazil is the fifth largest country on the planet behind Russia, China, Canada and the United States. It covers 4,345 km from north to south between its furthest points and 4,330 km from east to west. The highest population concentrations are along the Atlantic coastlines, most notably in the two largest cities, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
Sao Paulo is the largest city in Brazil, the largest city of the southern hemisphere and the richest city of the latin america, the world's 7th largest metropolitan area, and the most populous city proper in the Western World.
The capital Brasilia has a population of 2,094,000, according to 2003 estimates, and it is situated over 1,000 km inland.
Brazil has roughly 190 million inhabitants, making it the fifth most populated country on Earth. Almost 75 per cent of them are Catholics, whilst another 26 million are Protestants. Brazil's Jewish community is very small by comparison.
The country is divided into five regions (Centre-West, North, Northeast, South and Southeast), which are themselves divided into 26 states plus the Federal District that houses Brazilian capital Brasilia.
Known for its enormous hydroelectric potential, the Southeast region is the most heavily-populated in Brazil with almost 80 million inhabitants, roughly 40 per cent of the total. It is also the most densely-populated (84.21 inhabitants per km²) and has the highest urbanisation rate at 90 per cent.
The official language in Brazil is Portuguese.
"Football is a religion in Brazil, everybody is into it, it's the country of football. In Brazil everybody is a footballer. You have written the history of football because you are five times the world champions." - Sepp Blatter (FIFA president)
"One hundred and ninety million people will turn the World Cup into the greatest party in the world, a party of much joy and good organisation. The world should prepare itself to become more Brazilian as of 2014. "Brazilianize" will be the new verb conjugated by the planet. I can assure you the FIFA 2014 World Cup in Brazil will be a perfect and unforgettable celebration. All of the world is already invited." - Ricardo Teixeira (CBF president)
For further information about football and Brazil, check these posts: Brazilian Soccer and Brazilian Soccer Team.
More on Brazil:
2016 Olympics Rio de Janeiro
Flights to Brazil - Airports in Brazil
Flights to Brazil - Brazilian Airlines
Flights to Brazil - Passenger Guide
Five star hotels in Salvador Bahia
United States Embassy and Consulates in Brazil
Flag of Brazil
Aparecida do Norte - Sao Paulo
Petropolis - Rio de Janeiro
Balneario Camboriu - Santa Catarina
Sao Francisco do Sul - Santa Catarina
Angra dos Reis - Rio de Janeiro