Photo from Flicer user Creative Commons
Photo from Flickr user Creative Commons
Photo from Flickr user Creative Commons

Just like a Presidential election, the Summer Olympics and leap year birthdays, we must wait four years for “El Mundial,” or the World Cup””and it’s finally here!

For all those soccer fans out there, this is the event you have all been waiting for. The 2014 FIFA World Cup, a series of soccer matches to crown the best country in the sport, will take place in Brazil starting Thursday, June 12, and will end on July 13.

A total of 64 games will be played during a 32-day stretch. With 32 countries participating, it is no question soccer is the most popular sport in the world, and this World Cup will be one of the most viewed sporting events on Earth.

Host country Brazil comes in with home-field advantage, being considered the favorite. Brazil currently holds the most World Cup titles, with five and will start their chase for the sixth in day one versus Croatia at 1 p.m. on Thursday.

Find your favorite team’s schedule here.

The 2014 World Cup’s official slogan is, “All in One Rhythm,” referring to the Brazilian culture of music and its efforts to unite people of all culture and countries. But to those living in Brazil, protest, riots and unrest have been leading up to Thursday’s opening ceremony. High taxes and a high cost of living has many Brazilians fed up. Residents there feel money should be used to help its people rather than spend billions on lavish sporting venues.

Controversy even reached the U.S., but not like in Brazil. If you are a Team U.S.A. fan, we are referring to the U.S. soccer all-time leading scorer Landon Donovan, who was left out of the team this year. The U.S. team coach Jurgen Klinsmann left out Donovan from the 23-man roster for what he said were “soccer reasons.”

Players to watch:
The event will feature the best of the best players. Many hope to see 2013 FIFA Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo of the Portuguese National Team. The very popular forward is currently recovering from a few knee and leg injuries and has been off the field in the last two practice games as a precaution. But do expect him to make an entrance on game day as Portugal takes on it’s Group G co-member Germany on Saturday at 9 am.

Arguably the best player in the world, four-time player of the year Lionel Messi, will carry the Argentine Futbol Club. Their pursuit of a third World Cup will come against its Group F rival Bosnia and Herzegovina. It will be Bosnia’s first World Cup appearance in history.

The well-liked Wayne Rooney of the world famous Manchester United Football Club in England will represent his English countrymen. The English seek their third first World Cup title since 1966. They go heads-up with powerful Italy Thursday at 3 p.m.

Teammate to Rooney, Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez will push efforts to new heights for “El Tri”. The good-looking Chicharito has been successful representing Mexico in the past. He has an impressive 35 goals in 61 games for Mexico but has not scored since last summer. Mexico’s first game is against African powerhouse Cameroon on Friday at 9 a.m. Considered a longshot, Mexico will struggle in their chase of their first Cup ever.

What are the best places to watch World Cup matches in Los Angeles? Who is your favorite team? Share with us!

Dan Gudino was born in Boyle Heights and currently covers high school football and professional sports in Southern California.

Dan Gudino

Dan Gudino was born in Boyle Heights and currently covers high school football and professional sports in Southern California.

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