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The World Cup so far, how are things going?

By AP | Jun 23rd 2014 | 3 min read

In the weeks leading up to the World Cup, reports of strikes, demonstrations, unfinished stadiums and inevitable traffic problems dominated the news. But since the first match kicked off on June 12, goal-filled games, superstar performances and upsets have delighted fans — particularly those from Latin America.

SAFETY — Tourists have complained about muggings and pickpockets, but overall the safety for fans so far has been solid.. The clashes between drug gangs and police that often result in shootouts have been muted in Rio — as has often been the case during big events. Skirmishes between rival fans have been rare, with hooligans from any country not yet making an impact.

TRANSPORTATION — Despite transportation strikes leading up to the World Cup, subways in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro have efficiently carried fans to matches. The other host cities rely on roadways, and they've been congested. That's normal for Brazil's metropolitan areas. Pele himself complained that he missed the first half of the Brazil vs.

STADIUMS — The state of the stadiums was a major concern before the tournament started. Workers died in construction, organizers gave up on some finishing touches and temporary seats were brought in just days before the games began. The stadiums have performed better than expected, but not without some problems. A rickety staircase at the Maracana was repaired after video showed it swaying under thousands of fans. The grass at the Manaus stadium looked a little dry before the games, but wasn't a huge problem. Some stadiums have had long queues to get through security.

TECHNOLOGY— Goal-line technology was introduced at the World Cup for the first time and was an instant hit, being used at least twice in the opening rounds of competition to rule if the ball had crossed the line for a goal or not. The technology was introduced after the World Cup four years ago, when an England goal against Germany was not allowed even though the whole world saw that the ball had crossed the line by almost a yard.

INNOVATIONS — Soccer has well and truly entered the age of technology. It's not just 22 players running around after a ball any more. At this World Cup, most of the teams are using all sorts of high-tech devices to manage their players. The players can be wirelessly monitored during games and practice. A widget in the jerseys transmits heartbeat and other medical data to the coaches who monitor on iPads and can tell when a player is peaking or tiring. A chip in players' boots transmits distance run and speeds to the benches as well

FAN EXPERIENCE — Fans from all over the world have come to the homeland of "jogo bonito" and the overwhelming reaction in the stands, in the streets and on social media has been positive. Fans have enjoyed the hospitality, the weather, the food and drink and the sites of Brazil. Latin American neighbors have particularly enjoyed the tournament, in part because their teams are doing very well. Fans from Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Uruguay, Ecuador and Mexico have packed stadiums and belted out their national anthems proudly

MATCHES — The games have been excellent, with some saying the early group games have been among the best in World Cup history. Teams have played aggressively, and there have been just a handful of draws. Trailing teams have made comebacks, and a several upsets have captivated TV audiences around the world. Superstars such as Neymar, Robin Van Persie and Lionel Messi have played well. Although there were a handful of questionable calls, most games were decided by the players, not referees. Although a couple of European powers — Spain and England — were eliminated early, fans in most of the world have enjoyed the goals and the games.


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