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#LPCelebrazil: week 2

By Emma Sparks   25 June 2014 2:12pm Europe/London

Can’t get enough of the World Cup? Join us on Friday for a Google Hangout on Air with our on-the-ground author Kevin Raub, as we discuss what it’s like to be in Brazil during the biggest sporting event of 2014.

Ipanema Beach, Rio de Janeiro / Lonely Planet Traveller Magazine

THE LATEST FROM BRAZIL

Lonely Planet author Kevin Raub has been reporting on all of the football madness in Brazil via Twitter, Instagram and VineHere’s what he has to say about the second week of the tournament:

‘We are very nearly at the end of the group stage and this World Cup has not been without its considerable share of surprises – goodbye Spain, Italy and England, hello Costa Rica and Greece! – and thrills (the USA has kept us on edge through the two most dramatic group matches so far). It all adds up to one thing: this last week of qualifying is sure to not go as expected. Will the USA advance in the Group of Death? Mathematics says it should, but you just never know in this wild World Cup. Can Nigeria give Argentina a scare like Iran did? Could they actually win Group F? What a Messi that would be!

Around Brazil, Salvador has provided the most cinematic football atmosphere thus far on my travels. The colorful streets of Pelourinho, the city’s historic center, were alight with the vibrant sights of football kits and wish ribbons; and the sounds of multiple languages and football chants competed with the twangy guitars and accordions of the countrified São Joao Festival – Brazil’s biggest winter festival – which coincided with France’s pounding of Switzerland in Arena Fonte Nova across town. The nightlife of the Rio Vermelho neighborhood, centered around atmospheric Largo de Santana, became the nightly epicenter as opposing fans from the world over collided over beers, acarajé and dueling patriotic anthems. The evenings themselves felt like attending a football match.

And how about Team Brazil? The green, yellow and blue-draped locals did not appreciate the tense draw with Mexico last Tuesday, but in Monday’s match against Camarões (Cameroon, meaning ‘shrimps’ in Portuguese!) Brazil put the clamp down, winning Group A outright on goal differential to the surprise of nobody (well, perhaps the fact they needed goal differential to win the group was a surprise). Viva Mexico? Maybe.

The knockout rounds begin on Saturday. It’s time to get serious.’

TOP MOMENTS FROM KEVIN’S JOURNEY THIS WEEK

Don’t forget to share your celebrations with Lonely Planet using #LPCelebrazil. See the best from our community at lonelyplanet.com/world-cup/community.