Beyond the matches: 7 stories straight from Brazil

Our reporter's dispatches on the culture and conversations happening at the world's greatest sporting competition.

Every four years the World Cup captivates a global audience with two things every country can appreciate: Incredible athletes and a party atmosphere no other sporting event can match. When the sport’s governing body awarded thissummer’sWorld Cup to Brazil, fans knew it would be a celebration on steroids, coupling the South American nation’s love for futebolwith its affinity to mark just about any event with a party in the streets.

The tournament hasn’t disappointed so far, with fitness and fun on full display in 12 different cities in Brazil, all culminating with the final on July 13 in Rio de Janeiro. Here’s a look at some of the storylines on and off the field.