It's been a long wait: 2014 sees Brazil host a World Cup for the first time since 1950. It's been a welcome return for the world's greatest game to its spiritual home; the greatest football nation on earth. The national team binds a huge and disparate country together, inspiring hope, fear and joy across every age and social class with an intensity which, once witnessed, can never be forgotten. This will be a World Cup guaranteed to take the breath away. Brazil is a country the size of a continent unparalleled in the richness and variety of its geography and with a population of nearly 200 million drawn from an incredible mix of backgrounds, many of them concentrated in two of the world's great cities: Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. Brazil has emerged as an international powerhouse on the 21st century stage, Brazilian culture, too - samba capoeira, carnival - is well on its way to conquering the globe.