Serene photographs that remind us Brazil still loves soccer as much as it hates the politics behind their World Cup.
The 2014 World Cup is finally underway.
Soccer-loving host nation Brazil plays Croatia inside São Paulo's Arena Corinthians Thursday afternoon. Like so many tournament story lines formed around excessive government spending on the event ($11.3 billion total), the $525 million stadium has been a source of embarrassment for Brazilian politicians and World Cup organizers.
Three workers were killed building the facility. Completed six months past deadline and $150 million over budget, the arena will host its first capacity crowd during the FIFA tournament. The fire department could not approve use of a large seating area in the 60,000-seat venue in time for the stadium's final test match early this month.
Just outside the stadium earlier today, over 100 demonstrators attempted to cut off access to the facility by blocking a major street. According to Reuters, police dispersed the crowd by firing tear gas and noise bombs. The demonstrators regrouped two hours later, hurling rocks at police and setting trash fires.
The World Cup ends July 13, meaning not only a month's worth of soccer, but, with protests planned for all 12 host cities, potentially just as much unrest.
Despite the widespread anti-World Cup atmosphere, there's little doubt Brazil loves soccer as much as ever.
With the sport so deeply engrained into its culture, goal posts of all shapes, materials, and sizes can be found from its beaches to its favelas. Recently, Reuters photographers captured the many kinds of official and unofficial goal posts to be found around the country: