West Belfast flags set World Cup scene

Published Thursday, 12 June 2014
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Even with Northern Ireland and the Republic missing out on the action in Brazil, Belfast is still embracing the 2014 World Cup - and the flags are certainly out in one particular corner of the west of the city.

In Iris Drive, the residents are taking part in a sweep-stake to give them an adopted country to back.

And they're showing their support by flying the flag of their designated nation in a colourful display of football fever.

"I've lived on this street 53 years and this is the best I have seen it," one resident told UTV.

"We're up for the biggest show on earth."

Over in St James Road, the World Cup colours are also flying and, across the city, plenty of bars and businesses are also getting into the spirit of the occasion.

It falls to hosts Brazil to open the tournament, taking on Croatia in São Paulo at 9pm BST on Thursday.

Over the next month, 32 countries will compete for the prestigious trophy - with Brazil also the hot favourites to win.

Other top contenders include Argentina and Spain, while the likes of Germany, Belgium and Uruguay are being considered worth a punt.

Unless you happen to consult Brazil's head coach.

To all Brazilians, I want to tell you the time has arrived. This is our World Cup.

Luiz Felipe Scolari, Team Brazil

According to Luiz Felipe Scolari, there can only be one winner - although he does concede that there is some football to be played first.

"There are seven steps. We have to go up those seven step, but to start, we have to think of the first step. We can't jump the seven steps," he said.

"The first step is against Croatia. After that, we have six steps that we want to go up if we want to win the World Cup."
Brazil have won five times previously, with much of this year's hope resting on the shoulders of star forward Neymar.

"I am anxious, of course," the 22-year-old admitted.

"But also I'm extremely happy being where I am today, because many people would like to be here.

"I really hope I can help my team in the best possible way to fulfil the dream of the players and Brazilians - which is to win the World Cup."

They better not expect Croatia to just roll over though.

"We come to play the best we can, leave the right impression, and show heart on the field," their coach Niko Kovac said.

"The players are eager for this match, the training is going strong and sharp. They are all professionals and they want to play and impose themselves.

"I am optimistic we're not going to São Paulo to raise the white flag."

Watch Brazil v Croatia live on UTV, with kick-off at 9pm but coverage beginning from 7pm. Live radio commentary of every game will also be available on talkSPORT throughout the World Cup.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Seamus in London wrote (224 days ago):
Ryan in Whitehead you do realise that that is the Ivory Coast flag and not the tri colour?
Ryan in Whitehead wrote (225 days ago):
Why the republic flag , but no Northern Ireland flag ??
Sabine in Down wrote (226 days ago):
What a great idea ! Finally people think further! In my experience people here in Northern Ireland are genuinely welcoming and open minded to strangers but to the world this not shown due to other "certain" flag issues which does not help for the reputation Belfast actually deserves as a worthwhile place to visit.I wished many places would follow this example and show with gestures like that that people here care for more than just one flag.
Gareth in East Belfast in East Belfast wrote (227 days ago):
Belfast in belfast what a stupid comment just the usual , the usual antagonistic comment which their is no need for , anything to celebrate or positive in this country has to be put down by clowns like you ! For once we can actually celebrate a flag issue and you still cant be happy ? What more do you want ? Take a flag down its a problem ! Put a flag up its a problem ! Put a diff flag up its a problem ? Whind your neck in !
Peter in South Belfast wrote (227 days ago):
Brilliant idea! Well done West Belfast. It will also have the side effect of making our foreign friends and neigbours feel more welcome.
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