TIME World Cup

The Brazilian Stadiums Where The World Cup Will Be Decided

These are the 11 soccer stadiums, both old and newly constructed, where 32 teams will battle it out for the chance to win the FIFA World Cup trophy

TIME the backstory

Behind the Scenes of the Beats by Dr. Dre World Cup Commercial

Photographer-turned-filmmaker Nabil Elderkin tells TIME how he came to direct Beats by Dr. Dre 2014 World Cup commercial - The Game Before the Game.

The World Cup isn’t just about the love of soccer. With close to a billion viewers expected to follow this year’s matches, the world’s largest sporting event inspires sponsors and broadcasters to spend enormous amounts of money to pitch their products to the crowds.

Earlier this month, as they do every four years, both Nike and Adidas unveiled their cinematic commercial campaigns. This time around, however, there’s a new entrant in this strongly contested field.

Last week, Beats by Dr. Dre joined the fray with “The Game Before the Game,” a five-minute spot chronicling the pre-game rituals of athletes like Brazilian star Neymar, who is seen in a phone conversation with his father ahead of Brazil’s opening World Cup match. The video also features Germany’s Mario Götze, Mexico’s Chicharito and other guest stars from Serena Williams to Lil Wayne.

To direct the shoot, Beats called on photographer-turned-filmmaker Nabil Elderkin, who’s made his name directing videos by Kanye West, Bon Iver and Nicki Minaj, among many others.

While directing notoriously temperamental musicians can be tricky, bringing athletes together can be a logistical nightmare.

“A music video is generally shot over one or two days, maximum,” Nabil tells TIME. “The artist is confirmed for that day, and there’s a narrative planned for the shoot. I also can talk with the musicians about the videos to make sure we’re on the same page. With the Beats spot, we had to work around these athletes’ schedules, which can change daily as they have intense schedules during the season, especially leading up to the World Cup. I also hadn’t met them prior to the shoot.”

Yet, says Nabil, it all went smoothly. “The feeling I got from the get-go was that the whole project was driven by the tight relationships Beats has with these talents. The athletes and musicians worked with us as if we were all part of the same family. It didn’t feel like they were just sponsored athletes endorsing a product. They were happy to be involved and this really made the shooting environment much more relaxed and intimate.”

“The Game Before the Game” was filmed and post-produced over six weeks. “I worked with Omar Johnson, Beats’ vice-president of marketing. His goal was to keep the team lean, agile and aggressive. He didn’t want a large production because we knew that we would need to be opportunistic. I feel this approach really helped in creating an intimate setting where these players were comfortable to share with us their actual pre-game rituals, which are very personal. It also helped us in being able to bounce around the world efficiently.”

Nabil worked days and nights for a month across eight different time zones. “The lack of sleep never helps you stay as creative as you want, but we went for it. The cinematographer, Danny Hiele, and I had a few hairy moments in the helicopter over Rio when the weather was windy and stormy – altitude drops when flying in a helicopter are definitely ‘God-help-me’ moments. Danny was literally hanging out of the plane with a massive camera and just a single-strap seatbelt holding him in.”

The results, however, have evidently been worth the effort. The clip has already accrued 7 million views on YouTube and stands out from, for example, Adidas’s official 2014 clip — in part, says Nabil, thanks to Beats’ take on the film’s production. “Beats wanted to do it more like a music video as opposed to a commercial. In the end, music wins.”

And for Nabil, music has always been an integral part of his life. He got his first break when, in 2000, he registered the domain name http://www.kanyewest.com. That was before the rapper had signed his first label. The two became friends, and when the photographer looked to expand his horizons with video, West hired him to direct a few of his songs. “Kanye and John Legend gave me the opportunity to try my own video,” he says. “These videos had low budgets and were for non-single songs, but that gave me a little more freedom to play around, which really was a great learning experience. I did some weird videos. When I listen to music that moves me, it conjures stories and imagery. Weird things happen in my head.”

Now, the photographer is looking to direct his first feature film. But in the meantime, he wouldn’t say no to “a good surfing trip with some of my friends,” he says. “I’ve been talking about doing that for the past seven years. It’s about time.”

Nabil Elderkin is a photographer and director based in Los Angeles.

Olivier Laurent is the editor of TIME LightBox. Follow him on twitter @olivierclaurent.

TIME Art Rickerby

Dear Brazil: Missing Neymar? Remember When Pelé Went Down—and You Still Won

Despite Neymar's absence, Brazil and its fans can perhaps take heart from the 1962 World Cup, when the green and yellow won without its superstar, Pelé.

“In Brazil, Pelé is protected like a natural resource,” Miguel Acoga wrote about the soccer legend in a 1966 issue of LIFE magazine. But during the 1966 World Cup—pictured above and famously won by England on English soil—Pelé’s teammates could do little to shield the superstar from hard tackles and outright foul play by opposing teams. In fact, the 26-year-old forward was so badly injured during Brazil’s second match, against Portugal, that he was effectively knocked out of the tournament. For its part, Brazil was eliminated in the first round—its worst performance in Cup history.

Of course, by the time the ’66 Cup rolled around, the man born Edson Arantes do Nascimento was already regarded as the greatest living footballer, so it surprised no one that he was targeted by the competition.

Today, history might be repeating itself, as Brazil’s current face of fútbol, Neymar, will miss the rest of the 2014 Cup after Colombia’s Juan Zuniga violently took him down with a knee to the back that fractured a vertebra in the electrifying striker’s spine. Still, there remains a glimmer of hope for Brazilian fans. In 1962, four years before Brazil’s dreadful showing in ’66, Pelé was seen as an immense threat to the competition—and he was injured in a game against Czechoslovakia. Brazil nevertheless went on to win the Cup, without their star.

Brazilians—and those who, during this tournament, have rooted for Brazil—hope the soccer gods will grace them again this year, on Verde-Amarela’s (the green and yellow’s) home turf.

New York native Adam Glanzman is a Photo Intern at TIME.com. See his personal photography at adamglanzmanphotography.com and follow him @glanzpiece.

TIME World Cup

The 17 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Brazil

As the host country of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Brazil will be one of this summer’s most popular destinations. From June 12 to July 13—the tournament dates—Brazil expects to host about 600,000 foreign tourists, according to its Ministry of Tourism.

Within the 12 host cities are some of the world’s most stunning beaches and creative neighborhoods, including Arpoador Beach in Rio de Janeiro and the exquisitely decorated streets of Manaus. Elsewhere in Brazil are more gems from the South American country’s seemingly endless must-sees, to the remarkably designed Niterói Contemporary Art Museum to towering or the blue mountain of Pedra Azul.

TIME Soccer

How to Win on Penalties

Football's dramatic shoot-outs are a lottery? That's how losers think

In the run-up to a World Cup, every English football fan has the same fear: please don’t let an England game go to a penalty shoot-out. That’s because the English have the worst record in shoot-outs—a series of spot kicks in front of goal that takes place when teams finish tied—of any of the most prominent footballing nations, with six defeats out of seven in major tournaments. England’s coach Roy Hodgson has described the national team’s penalty complex as “a negative obsession.”

England is not the only team, however, that should be worried about penalties as the tournament approaches. Holland has a wretched record too—mainly because Johan Cruyff, the godfather of modern-day Dutch football, unwisely insisted that there was no point in practicing for penalties. He stood by that even after Italy beat Holland in the 2000 European-championship semifinal, a game in which the Dutch team missed five penalties, two in regulation time and three in the shoot-out.

For all the coaches, players and commentators who say the penalty shoot-out is a lottery, I have some news: it is not. In the course of researching my new book about how to take penalties, I spent 18 months speaking to penalty experts from across the world, as well as leading thinkers in other sports.

Here are five lessons I would recommend all teams consider in preparation for a World Cup penalty shoot-out:

Choose to kick first.

The only “lottery” element of the shoot-out is the coin toss to determine which team chooses to kick first. The team kicking first is 60% more likely to win the shoot-out, in part because the conversion rates for penalties “to stay in the shoot-out” drops to 62% in major tournaments, while the rate “to win the shoot-out” rises to 92%. In other words, if a player is thinking that he’s about to become a hero, he’s more likely to be that hero.

Take a little time.

Among the tangible factors surrounding England’s penalty patterns is the repeated way that English players rush their kicks—a sure sign of stress. Data analysis shows that English players wait an average 0.28 seconds between the moment the referee blows his whistle and the player begins his run-up.

This is quicker than any other nation’s players—and not far off Usain Bolt, whose average reaction time once the starter’s gun goes off is 0.18 seconds. Easy does it, England.

Look at your target.

English players are also far more likely to turn their backs to the goalkeeper after they spot the ball and mark out their run-up, a moment of gaze avoidance that psychologists see as a stress signal linked to “fight or flight.” At some point the player has to turn around and face his fear, which in this case is the goalkeeper.

The coach must pick the players.

The average scoring rate for all teams in World Cup penalty shoot-outs is 71%, well below the average penalty conversion rate of 78% in professional football as a whole. Why? The audience is global and one kick can make or break a player’s career. If you are good enough to play at a World Cup, your technique is certainly up to converting a free shot from 12 yd. The coach should decide if you’re also mentally tough enough to handle the pressure.

Practice with purpose.

You can’t ever replicate the conditions of taking a penalty in a World Cup final, but how does a golfer train to hole an 8-ft. putt to win the Ryder Cup, or a tennis player cope with a second serve to win Wimbledon? By practicing with purpose, and repeating the routine of the shot so many times that it becomes part of the muscles’ memory in executing it correctly. Players should practice taking penalties over and over again, especially after training matches lasting 120 minutes, to replicate a game’s 90-minute length plus the 30 minutes added on for extra time if there’s no winner after the regular period. They should even practice the nerve-racking walk from the center circle—where each player has to wait until it’s his turn—to the spot.

These factors may not guarantee success, but they will increase a team’s chances. And even a tiny competitive advantage can make all the difference. For England fans, that could mean an end of a long national nightmare in front of goal.

Lyttleton is the author of Twelve Yards: The Art and Psychology of the Perfect Penalty

TIME World Cup

The State of Cristiano Ronaldo

As he prepares for the World Cup, Portugal's star goal scorer is doing anything it takes to stay healthy.

Photo-illustration: Joe Giddens—AP

Cristiano Ronaldo was built to play soccer. Named the best player in the world this year, the 29-year-old Portuguese goal scorer boasts an unusually high proportion of what physiologists call fast-twitch muscle, which allows him to accelerate, leap beyond defenders and shoot powerfully from a distance with little setup. But not even Ronaldo’s body was built for the strain he has endured over what has been a particularly grueling season.

He is currently recovering from leg injuries that are a result of his playing an enormous number of games for his club team, Real Madrid, and for Portugal’s national team. His injury history, age (he has been playing for major teams since he was 17), physique and even his travel schedule are factors that increase his injury risk in the World Cup, which starts June 12.

His fitness level may affect whether Portugal is one of the two teams that advance from its first-round group, which includes Germany, Ghana and the U.S. Portugal is leaving as little to chance as possible and has hired a physical therapist from the Real Madrid sports-medicine staff to look after Ronaldo and two other teammates with physical vulnerabilities. The battle to keep this soccer phenomenon healthy is an around-the-clock task.

Sources: ProZone; FIFA; UEFA; AS; BBC; Guardian; Men’s Health; ESPN; Sky Sports; David Tenney, Seattle Sounders FC; Chris West, University of Connecticut; John Sullivan, Clinical & Sports Consulting Services

TIME Pictures of the Week

TIME’s Best Pictures of the Week

From the 70th anniversary of D-Day and the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protest, to World Environment Day and the NBA Finals, TIME presents the best photos of the week.


TIME Football

Beats by Dre Just Totally Upstaged Nike With Its Pre-World Cup Ad

This is EPIC

Beats by Dre has one-upped Nike at its own game: amped-up football commercials.

In this cinematic World Cup spot, we get to live through the pre-game rituals of a host of star players donning Beats headphones, as well as catch a bunch of cool cameos (like Lil Wayne, Serena Williams and Nicki Minaj).

If you’re still waiting for the excitement to set in for the sports spectacle of the year, these are the best-spent five minutes out there.


Which World Cup Team Is the Most Valuable?

The Spanish team is worth more than $900 million—9.5% of the market value on all World Cup players

On Thursday, FIFA announced the 23 players for each of the 32 World Cup teams. All put together, these 786 players have a total market value of $9.69 billion, according to the trading site Transfermarkt. The priciest squad taking the field in Brazil this month? Spain. The scrappiest? Honduras. The Spanish squad’s players have a market value of $916 million, representing 9.5% of the total market. That’s nearly 34 times the Honduran team’s $31.1 million value, which accounts for 0.32% of the market.

Use the interactive below to compare values between teams and their players. Click on club teams to see which professional teams have sent players to the global tournament.

Player market value is determined by many factors like individual and club team performance, international experience, contract history and age, which in part explains why Lionel Messi (26) is worth $177 million while Cristiano Ronaldo (29) is worth $147 million.


Market values are from Transfermarkt and converted at $1.67 per pound. All flags: Getty Images.

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