Jim Cook is our main man reporting from Brazil throughout the duration of the World Cup 2014.
Jim is a freelance journalist based in Sheffield who, in recent years, has written and contributed a number of articles for our magazine and website. Jim is taking time out to visit his girlfriend in Brazil and to write a blog for Pitchcare members about his experiences in Brazil and the unique World Cup atmosphere.
30/06/2014: World Cup Quarter Finals
This recent, very eventful week in the World Cup included this nation of 203 million holding its breath during the Brazil v Chile epic, a ten-man Costa Rica continuing their in-form run after beating Greece on penalties and, of course, the Suarez bite.
The latter dominated the sporting headlines here for a day or two, but was seen as funny more than anything else, and the four month ban has baffled many.
In Salvador, the fan fest screen is next to the beach and the general spirit is high. Near Salvador's stadium, Arena Fonte Nova, there is a large lake where people often dive into to cool off after matches.
Considering the heat, an incredible sight around the stadium and at the fan fest are Bonecos Gigantes de Olinda. Translated as Doll Giants from Olinda, after the city from where they originated, these huge characters depict past and present football players, managers, Abraham Lincoln in a Brazil shirt and many other random people.
The French team demolished the Swiss 5 - 2 in Salvador and I'm starting to think they could go far in this tournament. Since their home victory in 1998, they seem to have either nearly won the Cup or lost badly. Four years ago it was a disaster with internal problems destroying all chances, but this year the harmony looks to have returned.
Expectations have been low for France in the run up to this World Cup, and only time will tell whether this was justified or not.
The heat here in Brazil has been a serious challenge for all the teams but especially the European ones not accustomed to playing in these kind of temperatures.
It is winter here now, but this is only felt to any real extent in the middle and down to the south of the country. In Rio for example summer temperatures are typically around the 30-35 degrees centigrade mark. As it is now, temperatures of around 20 degrees are the norm - pretty conducive for a game of football.
In places like Fortaleza and Recife in the north, temperatures are now around 35 - 40 degrees during the day - sweltering even to walk around in, so must be a real challenge to play in, especially the 1pm kick offs.
The Holland v Mexico game at Fortaleza was the first time the drinks break has been called by a referee as temperatures reached 39 degrees. I'm sure plenty more of these breaks will be needed in Qatar!
Up and coming matches:-
|Date & Time (Local)||Round||Arena||Match|
|Monday 30th June 2014 - 13:00 (BST 17:00)||Last 16||Estadio Nacional||France v Nigeria|
|Monday 30th June 2014 - 17:00 (BST 21:00)||Last 16||Estadio Beira-Rio Porto Alegre||Germany v Algeria|
|Tuesday 1st July 2014 - 13:00 (BST 17:00)||Last 16||Arena Corinthians Sao Paulo||Argentina v Switzerland|
|Tuesday 1st July 2014 - 17:00 (BST 21:00)||Last 16||Arena Fonte Nova Salvador||Belgium v USA|