From this Thursday onwards, the world's eyes and hearts will be facing Brazil. Thirty-two national squads, representing the best world football has to offer will be competing for the World Cup, tournament which every four years turns all of us into football fans.
It is the moment for the biggest international sporting event.It is also the moment for us to celebrate, thanks to football, the values related to a loyal competition and of peaceful co-existence among the people of the world.It is an opportunity for us to reinvigorate the humanist values set forth by Pierre de Coubertin. Values of peace, harmony and tolerance.
The “World Cup of World Cups”, as we have dearly christened it, will also be the World Cup for peace and against racism, the tournament for inclusion and against any type of prejudice, the World Cup for tolerance, diversity, dialogue, understanding and sustainability.
Staging the World Cup of World Cups makes Brazilians proud. We will work together on and off the pitch, dedicating ourselves to ensure a great show is put on. Those visiting the country during the month when the World Cup is taking place, will be able to see that today, Brazil has a mature and thriving democracy.
In the last twelve years the country has promoted one of the world’s most successful income distribution processes, as well as enhanced increase in employment and social inclusion.We have impressively reduced inequality rates, lifting 42 million people into the middle class in the last decade, as well as powering 36 million Brazilians out of extreme poverty.
In addition, despite having experienced a dictatorship not so long ago, the country today is a vibrant democracy. We enjoy complete freedom and live in harmony with popular demonstrations and complaints, which help us strengthenour democratic institutions even more.
In all of the 12 World Cup host cities, visitors will be able to experience the happy, generous and hospitable nature of the Brazilian people. We are a country of music, natural beauty, cultural diversity, ethnic and religious harmony, as well as one that respects the environment.
In fact, football was invented in England.But we like to think that it made Brazil its home. This is where Pelé, Garrincha, Didi and so many other greats were born, who mesmerised millions of people the world over.When the World Cup comes back to Brazil 64 years later it is as if football is coming home.
We are the country of football because of the victorious track record, having won the World Cup five times, as well as a consequence of the passion every Brazilian has for their clubs, heroes and their national squad.Our people’s love for this sport has already become one of our national identity's characteristics. For us, football is a celebration of life.
On behalf of the 201 million Brazilians, I would like to welcome all foreign fans and visitors coming to Brazil to share the "World Cup of World Cups' with us.