Soccer is the most popular sport in Brazil, where it is called "futebol" ("football").
The Brazilian National Soccer Team has won the World Cup five times: in 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, and 2002 - that's more than any other country in the world!
There are many soccer stadiums in Brazil, and some of them are very large. In fact, the Maracanã (say "Marakanam") Stadium, built for the 1950 Soccer World Cup, is the largest in the world: 200,000 thousand people have fit inside of it to watch soccer matches before. There are also 5 other stadiums throughout Brazil that can accomodate 100,000 people.
Even if you don't like soccer too much you might have heard of Pelé (say "Pay-Lay"), the greatest soccer player of all time. Edson Arantes do Nascimento was his real name. Pelé scored more than 1,200 goals in 18 years as a professional player.
Another legendary player, very dear to Brazilians, was Mané Garrincha. He was particularly famous for his playful and somewhat irreverent style.
After Pelé's generation, Brazil produced many incredible players such as Zico and Romário.
Nowadays, idols such as Ronaldo and Ronaldinho are at the international spotlight.
Who is going to be tomorrow's idol?
However, they like many other sports too. There are more than 8000 sport organizations throughout the country.
Volleyball, tennis, basketball, sailing, judo, surfing and motor racing are very popular sports in Brazil as well.
Volleyball is a popular sport for both men and women in Brazil. The Women's National Team won the Volleyball World Cup in 1991 and 2002, and in 2003 it won the World Cup and the World League.
The Men's National Team won the Volleyball World Cup three times (including 2003), and won the gold medal at the Olympic Games of 1992 and 2004.
Brazilians really like beach volleyball as well. Many of the best beach volleyball players in the world are from Brazil. That is certainly connected with the fact that the country has so many beaches and that people really like to exercise there. In every beach you can probably find at least one volleyball court.
Brazil is also regarded as a major force in basketball, having won the Men's World Championship twice, the Women's World Championship once, and turning out some impressive performances at many other competitions including the Olympic Games.
Some of Brazil's most famous basketball players became well known abroad. Oscar Schmidt was the first basketball player to compete in five Olympic Games, and in three of them he was the top scorer. Oscar's nickname is "Mão Santa" ("Holy Hand"). In fact, Oscar has scored more than 48,000 points throughout his professional career - more than anyone else in the world.
On the women's side, Paula and Hortência were Brazil's most famous players. They led the women's team to their first major basketball triumph - the winning of the world title.
Tennis is also quite popular in Brazil. If you like tennis, you might have heard of Gustavo Kuerten.
Gustavo, or "Guga" as he is commonly known, has won the French Open three times (1997, 2000, and 2001) and reached the number one spot in tennis in the year 2000.
Another famous Brazilian name in tennis is Maria Ester Bueno, who won eight titles at Wimbledon - three singles (1959/60/64) and five doubles (1958/60/63/65/66) - and four times at the US Open.
Brazil has a long standing tradition of victories and accomplishments when it comes to motor racing.
In Formula 1 alone, the highest category of motor racing, Brazilian drivers have won 8 titles out of 33 possible. Emerson Fittipaldi was Brazil's first F1 Champion (1972 and 1974).
After him came the three-times world champion Nelson Piquet (1981, 1983 and 1987), and then Ayrton Senna, who also won it three times (1988, 1990 and 1991).
Ayrton Senna died in a race in 1994. Many people consider him to be
the greatest driver of all times.
In Indy Car motor racing category Brazilian drivers have won the famous Indy500 race five times. If you follow motor racing today, you still will find many Brazilian drivers. In Formula 1 there is Rubens Barrichello, Felipe Massa, Ricardo Zonta, and Atonio Pizzonia, and in Indy Car Racing you have Gil de Ferran, Helio Castroneves, Tony Kanaan, Felipe Giaffone, Bruno Junqueira and many others.