All the world is waiting for it!

Fifa World Cup is the most anticipated sporting event among the fans and everyone is ready to cheer their national football team.

It will be the 20th FIFA World Cup, from 12th June to 13th July 2014, taking place in Brazil. It is the second time that Brazil has hosted the competition, the previous one was in 1950.

What is the story around football in Brazil?

Is there any connection between Italian and Brazilian football?

European colonialism and the subsequent emigration, especially Italian emigration, has contributed to the development and spread this beloved sport.

Football was imported from England, and was followed by English rules and method.
Accommodating this novelty it was not only the middle class: it spread also and especially among in the poorest neighborhoods and  among so many different poor people, there were the Italian immigrants.
So, like samba or tango, even football grew in the suburbs, where immigrants and underprivileged have shaped it in so unique a way.

Football has become a universal symbol that unites all people.

Dance is mixed with the game, these are the characteristics that sanctioned the birth of Brazilian football, which for so many has provided the means for social achievements.

Everything is intertwined with the history of the Italian community.

More than a half million Italians immigrated to Brazil between 1880 and 1950. More than half came from the north of Italy, especially from Veneto. The rest was from Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna, Piedmont and, to a greater extent in the twentieth century, from central and south Italy (Campania, Calabria, Basilicata, Abruzzo, Tuscany).

So, stories, cities, big personalities (and even a language!) were born.

Italians arrived in groups, and these groups settled around large plantations where they would be working. Gradually small cities were founded, centers of Italian culture.

For example, Sao Paulo is the largest city in Brazil with more than 11 million inhabitants, half of whom are of Italian origin. It is considered, outside of Italy, the largest city in “Italian” after Rome.

Many of those immigrants didn’t speak proper Italian, but Venetian dialect. Gradually, it has developed into a new language: the Talian.
The Talian is a variant of the Venetian language spoken by approximately 4 million people as a second language and by an additional 500,000 as a first language, especially in the wine regions of the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul. Talian is also called “Venetian brasileiro”.

It has been football to unite all the members of the lower classes. Some members of the poor Italian families have grown to become important names, such as Josè Altafini.

He was born in 1938 into a very poor family, son of Joachim Altafini and Mary Marchesoni, both of Italian origins. Already at the age of nine, he divides his time between school and work until he gets a diploma in Mechanics in a professional institute.

In July 1955, he joins Palmeiras in Sao Paulo, the Italian-Brazilian youth team, and wins the World Cup in 1958 with the Brazilian team.

Altafini’s is a rare but exemplary case of a dream made true by football. His is a story of personal and collective redemption.

After more than a century, other Italians are back to Brazil, this time traveling by plane and not crossing the ocean by boat; their suitcases are modern, not the cardboard bags of those first migrants.

The hope of those who left was to have another chance, now to become world champions.

But, like a hundred years ago, this time too it is the ball that we carry with us!

Who will win?

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