Ninety minutes, two goals from Brazilian wunderkind Neymar, and one obligatory controversial call from a referee later, the 2014 FIFA World Cup is officially off and running. As teams gear up for group stage games, here’s a look at some outlandish concessions Brazilian hotels had to make to accommodate the world-class footballers calling the country home for the next month.
Setting up camp at the Hotel JP in the quiet and relatively small city of Ribeirao (population: 650,000), Les Bleus are holding their accommodations to strict standards, and are the pickiest of the bunch. French officials hired security guards to keep a watch on maids cleaning the team’s rooms (which, by the way, must be identical down to the paint color) to prevent theft, and there’s a blanket ban on cell phone use at work for hotel staffers. Perhaps less explainable than the tight security measures: France demanded all soap stocked in the hotel rooms to be liquid soap rather than bar soap.
According to Luciana Marotta Guimaraes, the general manager of JP Hotel, the French insisted on having two types of liquid soap in each room: one for showering, and one for washing hands.
To ensure a “peaceful and quiet environment” for Luis Suarez and company to get proper rest before taking the pitch, Uruguay required its hotel to provide silent air conditioning. Stationed at the JN Resort in Sete Lagoas, the air conditioning stipulation is just a means to make sure players get enough sleep.
Not wanting to miss out on the comforts of home, Team Ecuador (the lowest ranked South American nation in the World Cup) demanded a daily delivery of a basket of bananas — sourced from their native nation — to each of the players’ rooms. Also on the country’s list of demands: a welcome barbecue and a video game room.
4. Bosnia and Herzegovina
Valuing privacy at their home base at Casa Grande Hotel Resort & Spa in Guaruja, Sao Paulo, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s team requested the hotel install an acoustic soundproof screen. According to the hotel’s Lourival Pierem, the World Cup first-timers decided the players would eat meals on one side, while the coaching staff ate on the other so that “their chatter will not be mixed.”
While not one of the higher ranked teams to compete in Brazil, the Iranian Lions will at least settle for being one of the sharpest looking. The team demanded free dry-cleaning from its hotel.
The Swiss national side won’t let Brazil’s lush beachside landscapes elude them during press ops: the team asked for a beach studio to be built to conduct TV interviews from. The team’s indoor accommodations aren’t too shabby, either: Switzerland insisted on its hotel having high-speed Internet and two Swiss TV channels available in each room.
Much like France’s concerns, Portugal’s main demand was to beef up security for the entire team (read: star player and golden boy Cristiano Ronaldo). The team requested a six-person security detail to be available any time — four just for Ronaldo himself. Unrelated to the wellbeing of the team’s centerpiece player, Portugal also demanded video games for every room.
The Blue Samurai asked for each of the team’s hotel rooms to feature individual spa rooms, with a Jacuzzi tub in all of them.
The Socceroo camp at the Hotel Ilha do Boi in Vitoria, Espirito Santos asked for two large coffee stations (the hotel had to install coffee machines for four players) to be stocked with daily newspapers from around the world. According to Ibrahim Lanca of the hotel, the Aussies also want team meals to feature a healthy spin on Brazilian “red meats, fish, and chicken.”
Comfort is king for the Chilean squad’s digs in Brazil: the team demanded new beds and flat-screen televisions for each of the player’s rooms.
All images courtesy of Getty Images