13 Things You Need To Know About The 2014 FIFA World Cup

Ain't no party like a Rio party.

Whether you know your Neymar from your Thibaut Courtois, the one thing you need to keep in mind as the 2014 World Cup soccer tournament kicks off this week is that the host city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is one of the wildest places on earth. From its legendarily colorful Carnival to its famed shantytown favelas built alongside towering skyscrapers, Rio is a city of contradictions, wonder and thongs, tons of thongs.

As you get up to speed on which of the more than five dozen matches to watch, we provide a list of some of the most insane facts about Rio and the World Cup:

1. That’s A LOT Of Soccer
Do the math on how much World Cup action ESPN is planning to air and the figures are mind-boggling. Even if the 64 matches all went just the regulation 60 minutes, that’s more than three days straight of action — not to mention the usual injury time outs and other breaks.

2. Have You Seen This?
No trip to Rio is complete without a trip to see the 130-foot-tall Christ The Redeemer statue that keeps watch over the city. As one of the seven wonders of the modern world, it’s amazing to behold — just don’t do what this guy did.

Lee Thompson

3. Not All Brazilians Are Psyched
Even with more than one billion eyeballs on their country and the influx of tourist dollars, many in Rio and all across Brazil are angry about the amount of money being spent to host the tournament at a time when many Brazilians are stuck in desperate poverty.

Getty Images News/ Mario Tama

4. Rio Is HUGE
Though games will take place in 12 cities in Brazil, many of the spotlight matches will take place in Rio, a city of more than 6.3 million people. That’s a big city, but the greater Rio area has more than 12 million inhabitants, which makes it about as big as New York and Los Angeles combined. And keep in mind, Rio is only the second biggest city in the country.

iStock / 360

5. Robo-Ball
For the first time ever, the matches in this year’s World Cup will use goal-line technology, which involves a chip planted inside the ball that can determine conclusively whether it has crossed the goal line. The new system uses seven 3-D cameras focused on each goal, with the system able to determine within one second if a goal has been scored, then relaying it to an official’s watch.

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