After a month full of the most varied emotions and thrills, the twentieth edition of the World Cup comes to a close this Sunday (13 July) at the Maracanã stadium, in Rio de Janeiro, where Germany and Argentina face off for the third time in a World Cup final. Full of come-from-behind victories, goal-packed encounters and last-minute turnarounds, the World Cup that ends tomorrow has been a success on and off the pitch.
A special urban mobility operation has been put in place to get fans to the stadium and the Fan Fest safely and calmly, with changes beginning on the eve of the match. To ensure the safety of the population and tourists, about 26,000 staff from public safety authorities and from the Armed Forces will be deployed on the streets.
Initial estimates from the city of Rio point to 70,000 Argentinean tourists in town for the World Cup final. The Rio de Janeiro Tourism Secretariat reported that the hotel chain in the touristic area of the city was 100% occupied as of Thursday (10 July). In other regions, the occupancy rate reached 90%. According to estimates by the Ministry of Tourism, about 540,000 people will have visited the city by the end of the tournament.
FIFA's estimated attendance for the match is between 74,300 and 74,738 fans at the Maracanã. Of this total, 4,066 tickets were purchased by Germany residents and 4,461 by fans who live in Argentina. Another 12,984 tickets were bought by people who live in Brazil.
The final match of the 2014 World Cup is likely to break the aircraft traffic record in Rio de Janeiro's International Airport. On Sunday, the Galeão will receive 600-900 aircraft movements (take-offs and landings), about double its average (of 400 and 450 daily movements). The final match of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa caused a total of 807 movements at the Johannesburg airport.
The initial estimates of foreign tourists in the country have already been overcome - the actual number is of at least 700,000. The organization and infrastructure offered by the country to receive the World Cup were also praised by coaches, players and FIFA.
By the time the captain of the winning team lifts the coveted trophy, the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil will have hosted 64 matches in 12 arenas, with the second highest average attendance in the history of the tournament - after the third-place match, the average is at 53,256 fans per match. With total attendance exceeding 3.35 million, the stadia had occupancy rates above 98%. The estimate is that between 74,300 and 74,738 spectators will attend the Maracanã to watch the final on Sunday.
The fifth World Cup in South America also represented an opportunity for supporters of Brazil's neighbouring countries, mainly Argentines, Chileans and Colombians, to pack the stands. Wherever these teams went, an invasion was seen in the host cities. When they were not in the arenas, visitors would go further into Brazilianness and mingle at the 12 Fan Fests set up in the host-cities. Those alone had received more than 4 million fans in total as of this week's Friday (11 July).
The World Cup was not limited to the capitals that received matches, however. The fact that 27 national teams chose to host their Training Base Camps outside the host cities brought the party (and the benefits) of the mega event far and wide. The Germans fraternized with the neighbouring indigenous peoples in Santa Cruz Cabrália (BA), a city in the middle of Brazil's so-called 'discovery route'. In Ribeirão Preto (SP), the population embraced the French, and the local workers took the opportunity to seek professional development. The Bosnians, only debutants in this edition, caused curiosity among residents of Guarujá (SP), while 2013 Ball D'or Cristiano Ronaldo brought fan euphoria to Campinas (SP).
Over R$ 1.7 billion in public and private investment in telecommunications also fuelled the "World Cup of Selfies", with over 38.5 million photos uploaded by fans at the end of the round of sixteen.
Besides ensuring mobile data (2G, 3G and 4G) availability in the host cities, the investments also ensured broadcasting services had high levels of bandwidth available. The World Cup also had record-breaking audiences in many countries, to the point of overcoming the NBA and baseball finals in the USA.
But the innovations did not stop outside the pitch. New advances were also seen and showcased inside the arenas, including the kick-off of the tournament given by a paraplegic with a brain-controlled exoskeleton, new Goal Line Technology to detect whether the ball entered the goal, use of spray for marking the walls during free kicks and audio description services offered in four arenas so that visually impaired fans could enjoy the game in a completely new way.
The World Cup is expected to inject a total of approximately R$ 30 billion in the Brazilian economy, according to a survey conducted by the Economic Research Institute Foundation (FIPE) commissioned by the Ministry of Tourism.
And the business generated by the mega event will continue in the long term. The conclusion comes from the feedback by foreign investors and national exporters who participated in the events organized by the Apex-Brazil (Brazilian Agency for the Promotion of Exports and Investments). The Apex has attracted more than 2,300 foreign businessmen to participate in business rounds, factory visits and meetings using the extra perk of bringing the guests to watch World Cup matches. A total 160 of such guests will be watching the final match.
As for smaller business, the 43,910 micro and small enterprises and individual microentrepreneurs who looked for Sebrae (the Brazilian Service of Support to Micro and Small Enterprises) to prepare for the World Cup are expected to have earned over R$ 500 million more in revenue by the end of the event.
Final match protagonists
Germany coach Joachim Löw praised his opponents for the World Cup final, and was keen to highlight that Argentina is more than just football star Lionel Messi. For him, the South Americans have a compact team with many play variations that strengthened its defence to get to the final match in Rio de Janeiro. Nevertheless, the coach said not to fear the rivals, and showed confidence in his players.
“Argentina showed excellent performance in the competition. They are compact, have a strong defence and the team is not just Messi. They have other wonderful strikers, like Aguero, Higuain, Di Maria. It will be a fascinating, very combative match," analysed the coach.
The Argentine coach gave an overview of how the team developed during the World Cup, and said the current line-up created more balance between offence and defence. “The greatest merit goes to the players, who are making a great effort. We have a different distribution on the pitch, and occupy lateral spaces more. We have been having more balance now," said Alejandro Sabella.
For him, the opponent will require a perfect match from Argentina. “We have to play a great match and play it with concentration, occupying the spaces quickly and without breaking from the ball. Germany has a very powerful team, physically and tactically, a well-designed play system that makes good use of the spaces between the lines of the team and good runs from the backs. So we have to play the perfect match," he said.
The match will be officiated by Italian referee Nicola Rizzoli, 42, working with officials Faverani Renato and Andrea Stefani, both 44 and also Italian. The fourth official will be Carlos Vera, from Ecuador.
This will be the third time the two countries face off in a World Cup final. It is now the most often final match duel in history, leaving behind Brazil vs. Italy (1970 and 1994). The clash will also break the tie between Germans and Argentines in finals. The first duel was won by the South Americans in 1986 (by 3-2), but the Europeans got the best of the second bout (1-0) in 1990.
Qualifying for the final also meant Germany is now the country with the most presences in World Cup finals in history - eight, one more than Brazil's seven.
By the end of the match, the Maracanã will be the second stadium to have hosted two World Cup finals - the first was in 1950 - joining the Azteca stadium in Mexico (1970 and 1986) as a two-time final match venue.
As has been the case with all matches, the recommendation is to prioritise public transport. Ticketed fans who depart from the city's north and south zones may use lines 1 and 2 of the subway for free. Transfers between the two lines can be made at all stations in the section between the Central and Botafogo stations.
Fans should choose the station to disembark according to their specific gate of entry - there are signs with information in the subway system itself. All the stations are within a ten-minute walk from the stadium, and the route will be marked with signs installed by the municipal government.
Fans leaving from the Tom Jobim International Airport (Galeão) or from the city's west zone can use the Transcarioca BRT system to get to the Maracanã. There will be express buses leaving from the Alvorada terminal, from Barra da Tijuca, from the Fundão and from the airport. Passengers must disembark at the Vicente de Carvalho station and integrate with the subway (line 2) at the same location.
Those arriving at the Santos Dumont Airport on the day of the match can also catch a free bus to the Cinelândia station in the city centre and take the subway to reach the arena.
The several security forces involved will deploy a total of 25,787 agents to ensure everything transpires smoothly in the city as Germany and Argentina duel for the title. This will be the largest security operation in the history of the city.