Like the Indian cricket team, Brazil too must try to win the World Cup at home © Getty Images
Like the Indian cricket team, Brazil too must try to win the World Cup at home © Getty Images

 

FIFA World Cup 2014 hosts Brazil are under massive pressure to win the tournament. A football-crazy nation and its fanatic fans will consider anything but the best result as a failure. This is the same pressure India were under during the ICC World Cup 2014. India went onto win the World Cup on home soil after some early stutters, and Shrikant Shankar believes Brazil will have to similarly embrace the atmosphere to win a sixth FIFA World Cup title.

 

There are three national teams in three different sports where respective fans expect nothing but a win on every occasion. In cricket, India’s fans have shown their wonderful and ugly side after a win and a loss respectively. Everyone is a hero when India wins a major tournament, but those same heroes become antagonists if the team loses. Just ask Yuvraj Singh what he went through after the ICC World T20 2014 final. The same Yuvraj, who was Player of the Tournament in India’s triumphant ICC World Cup 2011 campaign.

 

In Rugby Union, the same goes for New Zealand. The ‘All Blacks’ as they are known, have an incredible winning percentage of nearly 78. The next highest is South Africa, who have their percentage in the mid-60s. The rest all have their percentages in the 50s or below. New Zealand have to win every single match they play in Rugby Union. In football, there are quite a few teams, but it is Brazil right at the top.

 

If India and New Zealand face extreme pressure from their fans in cricket and rugby union respectively, then the Brazilian football team faces even more pressure. The South American country is considered the spiritual home of the beautiful game of football. Now from June 12 to July 13, Brazil host the FIFA World Cup 2014. Brazil are the most successful team in World Cup history. They won the quadrennial event a record five times, and have qualified for all 20 editions, including the ongoing tournament.

 

Brazil last won the FIFA World Cup in 2002 and then faced two quarter-final exits in 2006 and 2010. For Brazilian fans, that is utter failure. Now on home soil, nothing but a win will do. Brazil last hosted the FIFA World Cup in 1950 and they lost the final match against Uruguay as the latter won the tournament. Many players and fans say that that loss still hurts ever after 64 years.

 

Now they have a second chance to do the one thing their previous five World Cup wins did not achieve — win football’s showpiece event on home soil. One could only imagine the pressure on the national football team now. This is similar to what India faced during the ICC World Cup 2011. Similar to New Zealand’s plight during the Rugby World Cup 2011. India and New Zealand won their respective World Cups and gave their fans the ultimate bliss.

 

It is for that same reason, Brazil need to win the FIFA World Cup 2014 in their own backyard. It is a once-in-a-lifetime achievement and if they do triumph come July 13, the whole of Brazil will fulfill its life-long dream.

 

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(Shrikant Shankar is a writer/reporter at CricketCountry.com. Previously he has done audio commentary for various matches involving India, Indian Premier League and Champions League Twenty20 for ESPNSTAR.com. You can follow him on Twitter @Shrikant_23)