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At the 2014 FIFA World Cup, from 12 June to 13 July, Africa's teams hope to produce better results than at the 2010 tournament in South Africa. Ghana, Algeria, Côte d'Ivoire, Nigeria and Cameroon represent the continent this year, but which of them will make it past the first round?

African teams bring life to an event that, in recent times, has appeared to be losing some of its gloss. Who can forget the youthful exuberance of the 38-year-old Roger Milla in 1990 celebrating each goal by dancing at the corner flag and wriggling his waist with a delighted grin on his face?

Can any of the African representatives in Brazil reignite such passions again? Ghana, Nigeria, Côte d'Ivoire, Cameroon and Algeria – the same countries that represented Africa in the 2010 World Cup – are again the flag bearers against the best teams in the world. This emphasises the dominance of the Western and North African teams, which has continued for the past three decades.

Four years ago, only Ghana's Black Stars made it beyond the first round, reaching the quarter-final, and the going is expected to be even tougher in Brazil. Their prospects of success depend on rigorous preparation and avoiding the internal wrangles over allowances and maladministration that often undermine teams at major tournaments. 

Ten Tourist Attractions to Visit While in Brazil For World Cup

Brazil, the host country is now a favourite destination for tourists. Why not immerse yourself in its tourist attractions while you are there? OMOLOLA ITAYEMI lists top ten tourist attractions to see and explore in Brazil.

Sprawling across half of South America, Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world. White-sand beaches, tropical islands, music-filled metropolises and charming colonial towns are dotting its 7,500 km (4,600 mi) long coastline. Inland, Brazil tourist attractions consist of imposing waterfalls, wetlands filled with wildlife, and the untouched wilderness of the Amazon rainforest where several isolated tribes still live without any contact with the rest of the world.

The top tourist attractions in Brazil:

Ouro Preto

One of Brazil’s best-preserved colonial towns, Ouro Preto, meaning “black gold”, was founded at the end of the 17th century. It quickly became the epicenter of a new gold rush in the state of Minas Gerais. The city contains well preserved Portuguese colonial architecture, while modern buildings must adhere to historical standards maintained by the city. 18th- and 19th-century churches decorated with gold and the sculptured works of Aleijadinho make Ouro Preto one of the most popular tourist attractions in Brazil.

Teatro Amazonas

Teatro Amazonas or Amazon Theatre is an opera house located in Manaus, in the heart of the Amazon Rainforest. It was built during the heyday of rubber trade using materials from all over the world, with furniture from Paris, marble from Italy, and steel from England. On the outside of the building, the dome was covered with 36,000 decorated ceramic tiles painted in the colors of the Brazilian national flag.

The first performance was given on January 7, 1897, with the Italian opera La Gioconda. The opera house was closed down soon after however, as the rubber trade declined and Manaus lost its main source of income. There wasn’t a single performance in Teatro Amazonas for 90 years until 1990 when it reopened its doors.

Fernando de Noronha

Fernando de Noronha is a beautiful archipelago with pristine beaches, landscapes and wildlife, situated 354 km (220 miles) off the northeastern coast in Brazil. The archipelago was discovered by Amerigo Vespucci in 1503 and temporarily occupied by the Dutch and French before Portugal established dominion in 1737. Today, only the largest of the 21 islands is inhabited by about 3,500. The islands are a Mecca for divers and snorkelers with warm waters year-round and very good visibility even at depths of 50 meters.

Historic Center of Olinda

Another well preserved colonial city, Olinda is located on the Brazil’s northeastern coast, just north of Recife. Olinda features a number of major touristic attractions, such as a historic downtown area, churches, and the famous Carnival of Olinda. Many bars, restaurants, artist and craftspeople studios add charm to the old-town setting. 

Salvador Beaches

Salvador is the capital of the state of Bahia, with an attractive colonial town, a vibrant musical scene and loads of exceptional beaches all around. The beaches range from calm inlets, ideal for swimming, diving and sailing, as well as open sea inlets with strong waves, popular with surfers. There are also beaches surrounded by reefs, forming natural pools of stone, ideal for children.


The Pantanal is the world’s largest wetland, lying mostly in Western Brazil but extending into Bolivia and Paraguay as well. Famous for its wildlife, it is one of Brazil’s major tourist attractions. Unlike the Amazon rainforest, in the Pantanal, you are virtually guaranteed to actually see the wildlife. Capybara and the Yacare Caiman are present in the millions. The Pantanal is also home to one of the largest Jaguar populations in the Americas.

Rio Carnival

There are carnival celebrations in virtually every corner of Brazil, the best-known ones taking place in Recife together with the neighbouring Olinda and Salvador. But the biggest and most famous carnival is undoubtedly the Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. The Rio Carnival attracts two million people per day on the streets and almost half a million foreigners during its 4 day celebration. The Carnival is all over the place, in the streets and squares, bars, clubs and all other venues in Rio, concluding in the spectacular Rio Samba Parade at the Sambadrome.

Amazon River

At approximately 6,400 km (4,000 miles) the Amazon River is the second longest river in the world, just slightly shorter than the Nile, and the largest river by volume. The Amazon has over 3,000 recognised species of fish and new species are still being discovered. The Amazon Basin is covered by half of the planet’s remaining rainforests. Although a tenth of the world’s estimated 10 million living species live in the Amazon rainforest, jungle tours are more about the boating upriver into the damp, buzzing, oppressive ambience than actually spotting animals.

Iguazu Falls

One of the great natural wonders of the world, Iguaçu Falls is situated on the border between Brazil and Argentina. The waterfall system consists of 275 falls along the Iguazu River. The most impressive of them all is the Devil’s Throat, a U-shaped with a height of 82 meter (269 ft). The falls can be reached from the cities Foz do Iguaçu in Brazil and Puerto Iguazú in Argentina, as well as from Ciudad del Este in Paraguay. On the Brazilian side, there is a long walkway along the canyon with an extension to the lower base of the Devil’s Throat.

Christ the Redeemer

Christ the Redeemer is the famous statue of Jesus Christ in Rio de Janeiro. Located at the peak of the 700 meters (2,300 ft) Corcovado mountain, it provides a sweeping panorama from the interior of Guanabara bay to the north, to Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas to the south. The Christ the Redeemer statue stands 39.6 meters (130 ft) tall, including its 9.5 meters (31 ft) pedestal and has become an icon of Rio and Brazil.

Even fans who do not have tickets can still enjoy the FIFA World Cup

Football fans who have not managed to secure tickets for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ matches to be played at Cape Town Stadium can still soak up the tournament's atmosphere with thousands of others at various fan parks around the Mother City. Cape Town's main fan park, at Granger Bay, will play host to up to 25,000 spectators. Cool Britannia, a fan park which will be based at the V&A Waterfront, will accommodate up to 10,000 fans for live games, with after-match entertainment to be provided by big international performers, including British rapper Dizzee Rascal. There will also be many venues at which to watch matches, in areas such as Camps Bay and Long Street in the city center, as well as Canal Walk Shopping Centre. Capetown Tourism Web: