This year’s World Cup in Brazil has not failed to impress us, with a record 136 goals scored in the group stage alone.

With dazzling football and breakout stars, people are claiming it to be the best World Cup that anyone has ever seen in its 84-year history. However, it hasn’t been plain sailing. What with players whining over appearance fees, and the people of Brazil protesting over the cost of this enormous event, these are just some of the issues threatening to tarnish what has been a wonderful World Cup.

In the past few World Cups, there have been controversial moments, from the crooked referee in Korea/Japan 2002, to the phantom goal in South Africa four years earlier, this year, the controversy well is full and brimming. It started filling even before the first match in Sao Paolo began, when violent protests broke out in the same city over the cost, the lack of security and the state of some of the stadiums in Brazil. And then, during the first game of the tournament between the host nation and Croatia, there were questionable calls that occurred during the game, especially the penalty given to Brazil in the second half.

After the match concluded, there were claims of it being fixed in favour of the host nation. Despite the Brazilians winning the first game, being called the favourites to claim a record-breaking 6th World Cup, the natives were having none of it. Violent protests continued to spark throughout the host cities, even in Manaus, where England’s first game would be held. From what has been gathered, the Brazilian people are not happy with the amount of money that was being spent on the tournament, when it could’ve been used to improve Brazil’s public services, like health care, transportation, education and housing.

Despite the host nation reaching the semi-finals, the Brazilian people continue to express their anger over the cost of this World Cup.

What if they reach the final? Will they continue to be angry? Reaching the World Cup final is a huge achievement for any country, even for Brazil who has reached it eight times and won five of them.

Meanwhile, some of the players are putting their own nation by the sword, Ghana being an example, with their squad refusing to train if they  didn’t receive their pay. And just before the crunch match against Portugal, with them needing to win in order to advance, two of their key players, Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sulley Muntari were sent home for ill-discipline, with the Ghanaian FA calling for them to never play for the national squad ever again. Even  though this transpired 24 hours before the match, it was still a very entertaining game, as the Ghanaians, who were quarter-finalists in South Africa, lost 2-1 to the Portuguese.

Three of the five African sides in the competition suffered due to their financial lust with Cameroon, probably the most famous, having been caught up in a match-fixing allegations as a result of their second group game against Croatia which was correctly predicted, even guessing that one of the Lions would be dismissed. This is only a fraction of the corruption that is threatening to destroy the inner meaning of this World Cup, which was to bring the footballing nations together into one place in celebration of the Beautiful Game. What with the next World Cup being held in Russia, it’s no wonder why football officials are questioning FIFA’s decision to award the ‘Greatest Show On Earth’ to a nation that still has problems with racism and xenophobia. Criticism of FIFA’s decision-making doesn’t end there however, as the World Cup AFTER is being held in Qatar, where temperatures soar to 50 degrees in the summer, but that is not the only worry.

There have been allegations that officials have been selling their votes to Qatari officials to fix the votes in favour of awarding Qatar this privilege. It is allegations like these that could distort the true meaning of the World Cup.

Even though FIFA has its problems, it begs the question: Is Brazil 2014 the best World Cup there has ever been?

With mouth-watering semi finals coming this week, and the final in Rio de Janeiro this Sunday, only time will be able to help us answer that.

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