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Brazil 2014 is tantalizingly close. In a matter of hours families across the world will be preparing to celebrate a summer of football and enjoying every big match of the FIFA World Cup. It is an opportunity to come together with family and friends to support your team, cheer for every goal and hold your breath at every penalty shoot out. It's a time to throw fun-filled parties or enjoy nights in together watching each big game and enjoying the excitement of such a huge sporting event as a family.
To get us in the World Cup mood and to build excitement for the kick off, we held a #BigMatchPlanner family night in with #CollectiveBias. Tesco are currently selling a World Cup branded four pack of 1.5 litre bottles of Coca-Cola for just £4.00, which was a great place to start when it came to planning our event. (This super special offer is available until June 17th.) They were easy to find, on a promotional display in the entrance of the store, and the 'Celebrate Together' message definitely tied in with my plans for our family football themed night in. It's lovely to see so many big brands and retailers getting into the spirit and supporting Brazil 2014. They are helping to get the ball rolling, inspiring us all to get involved!
I decided that it would be nice to embrace the flair and favour of the host nation Brazil, and bring a touch of its South American influence to our night in. So on the menu was Cachurro Quente - Brazilian street food, consisting of hot dogs served with a variety of toppings including five bean chilli, deep fried sweet potato noodles, salsa, cheese and sweetcorn. We used veggie hot dog sausages for our meal. This style of DIY party food is a lot of fun, especially for the children who get to help themselves and create their very own bespoke dinner in a bun!
For dessert, I made a selection of World Cup-Cakes. They included some Chocolate, Coca-Cola and Marshmallow Muffins served with a mini marshmallow kebab, limited edition Brazillian M&M's or chocolate footballs. The addition of the Coca-Cola in the batter makes them sweet and light. I also made some Vegan Cupcakes with Coconut Chocolate Frosting topped with a selection of fresh fruit as a tribute to Brazil's rainforests!
I hung some world nation's flag bunting alongside Brazilian flag bunting to really set the scene. I challenged the children to identify the flags, matching them to the correct country. Who knew football could be so educational?!! I also displayed a Brazil 2014 wall chart so we can follow the progress of the tournament and keep scores.
It was lovely to see 4 year old Freddy take such an interest in the World Cup. His older sisters reminisced about football tournaments of the past, recalling the days of Beckham, Seaman, Bergkamp, Roger Miller and Thierry Henri, and remembering the heartbreak of watching England lose a penalty shoot out to the Germans. This year Freddy will be making his own memories to talk about in the future. I hope they will be good memories... just imagine if they went on to be memories of England's first World Cup victory since 1966! (We can dream.)
The food went down a treat with everyone, who thoroughly enjoyed making their own Cacharro Quente. To quote a rather awful football pun...it did get rather "Messi" but this Brazilian dish will definitely be on the menu again during our World Cup get togethers. It was such a fun dish.
And of course, serving up ice cold Coca-Cola in England cups quenched our thirsts and raised out patriotic spirits. There may have been a few renditions of 'Three Lions' complete with Nobby Styles's famous dance moves that took place during the evening!
Every year we have our own sweepstakes, picking names out of a hat, so we have more teams to support should England fall at the first hurdle. Of course we'd be overjoyed if our home team do well, but the prospect of more penalty shoot-outs brings me out in a cold sweat. So it's nice to have a few other teams, which we are less emotionally invested in to cheer on too. Anyone who picks the team that goes on to win the tournament wins a prize, so it keeps everyone excited.
Freddy, draped in one of our national flags (I think it's Croatia), looking like a little World Cup themed superhero, picked out South Korea as his sweepstake team. He was most delighted with his choice especially as I told him that that was where Psi came from, prompting a rendition of Gangham Style!
The girls made a poster to display our sweepstake teams alongside our World Cup 2014 champion predictions. This year, my money is on Brazil to win with the home advantage. I still remember the genius of Pele and the infamous Maradonna 'Hand of God' incident. Brazil are always memorable in the World Cup. I hope they impress this year.
This poster and all the other World Cup decorations will be staying up until the winning team hold the Jules Rimet cup aloft, at the end of the tournament. The World Cup will be a wonderful excuse for many impromptu nights in, big match parties and general footballing fun! We are so excited!
We enjoyed a game or two of table football and I bought some official FIFA World Cup tattoos that we had fun applying. We did plan to end the evening with a football related movie such as Bend it Like Beckham, She's the Man or Escape to Victory, but as England was playing a friendly against Ecuador on this night, that provided the perfect entertainment to get us all match ready. It may not have been the most scintillating match, but a draw is a draw and I hope the teams are saving themselves for the real thing!
This taster of the fun and excitement to come when the World Cup kicks off , has really made us all feel match ready! We've got our World Cup themed t-shirts to wear and our flags ready to wave. Come on England!!
Why not have your own Big Match Family Night In, serving up food from one of the nations playing, singing football songs and enjoying some football related activities?
It's a great way of making some fun, family memories.
Which team do you think will win this year's World Cup?
Visit the Coca-Cola Big Match Planner website for inspiration on hosting your own nights in with ideas on themed recipes, music and entertainment.