As we gear up for the conclusion of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, we’re highlighting some interesting facts about the final four competing nations with information pulled right from the pages of the latest edition of Oxford’s Atlas of the World. If you’re one of the few who hasn’t caught onto World Cup fever, the winner of the World Cup is near! Brazil and Germany faced off on Tuesday, 8 July. The shocking game left Germany the victor, with Argentina and the Netherlands battling it out on Wednesday 9 July. Argentina pulled through after a penalty shootout. The third place finalist will be determined on Saturday, 12 July with the final two teams going head-to-head on Sunday, 13 July to determine the champion.
The Federative Republic of Brazil, also known by the spelling Brasil, is the world’s fifth largest country with a population of over 199 million It has the honor and distinction of hosting the World Cup this year, a fact that had this fútbol-centric nation even more hyped than usual.
A large country of over 3 million square miles, the area contains three main regions. Manaus, one of the host cities, has high temperatures throughout the year. A tropical climate, rainfall is normally heavy, but lucky for players and cheering fans, the weather tends to be a bit drier from June through September.
Brazil is a leading economy in South America, described as a “rapidly industrializing economy.” You might not know that it’s the world’s top producers of products including cars, paper, aircrafts, and even materials ranging from diamonds to tin. With coffee as its leading export, agriculture employs 16% of the population. A major farming nation, products also include bananas, coca, rice, sugarcane, and maize.
With the Amazon, the world’s second largest river, in its backyard, forestry is a major industry although the fear that destroying the rainforests can accelerate global warming is a real concern. On a positive environmental note, Brazil is the second highest producer of hydroelectricity in the world, accounting for 12.3% of total world production.
Politically, the nation sets an example for progress in gender equality, having elected its first female president, Dilma Rousseff of the Workers Party, in 2010. Its government is a Federal Republic, having first declared itself an independent empire in 1822 after originally being claimed by Portugal in 1500. After periods of martial rule from the 1930s, civilian rule was restored in 1985 with a new constitution adopted in 1988.
Oxford’s Atlas of the World — the only world atlas updated annually, guaranteeing that users will find the most current geographic information — is the most authoritative resource on the market. The milestone Twentieth Edition is full of crisp, clear cartography of urban areas and virtually uninhabited landscapes around the globe, maps of cities and regions at carefully selected scales that give a striking view of the Earth’s surface, and the most up-to-date census information.