Representatives from the 32 competing nations at the 2014 World Cup are arriving at the swanky beachside Costa do Sauipe resort in Bahia in preparation for Friday's World Cup draw.
The showpiece event, which begins at 11am ET (1pm local time) will feature around an hour of pointless singing, dancing and highlights clips before the actual draw process begins. The men who will actually be pulling the balls from FIFA's shiny plastic bowls are previous winners from the eight victorious nations: they include Cafu, Fabio Cannavaro, Mario Kempes, Lothar Matthaus, Zinedine Zidane and Sir Geoff Hurst. They will not, however, be joined by three-time winner and erectile dysfunction spokesman Pele, who has come down with a serious case of the draw yips.
The Daily Mail has his response to being asked to participate by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff:
'I preferred to turn down the offer because I wouldn't feel comfortable in picking out balls which are not favourable to Brazil.'
Pele has drawn the balls several times before and will usually turn up to the opening of an envelope if FIFA tells him to, and he will still give interviews and make a "wow factor" appearance at the draw (hopefully as a guest MC with Sao Paulo rapper Emicida, who will be performing at the ceremony).
For his reluctance to potentially condemn Brazil to a Group of Death by a completely random process over which he has no control or influence, the former Santos star has been branded a "pe-frio" in his homeland, which literally means "cold foot." Showing the kind of wit and sarcasm that has thus far been absent from his verbal spat with Maradona, he responded:
"I won five world titles, two with Santos and three with the national team and I scored more than one thousand goals, so you're right, I'm a cold foot."
Perhaps the real reason for his reluctance is the fact that he finds the draw process just as confusing as the rest of us and he doesn't want to be responsible for the kind of administrative mishap that caused the 1982 draw to be partially restarted. He might not handle it as cooly as Kevin Keegan did...
- - - - - - -
- Sports & Recreation
- Mario Kempes
- 2014 World Cup
- Fabio Cannavaro
- Zinedine Zidane