Football is taken very seriously in Brazil. During the World Cup workers pause from their duties to watch their team in action; even banks shut down 3 hours before matches to allow their workers time to prepare for the game.
Football is the most popular sport in Brazil. Football quickly became a passion for Brazilians, who often refer to their country as "o País do Futebol" ("the country of Football"). Over 10,000 Brazilians play professionally all over the world.
Football has a major effect on Brazilian Culture. It is the favourite pastime of youngsters playing football on the streets and indoor futebol de salão fields. The World Cup draws Brazilians together, with people skipping work to view the national team play, or employers setting up places for employees to watch. The General Elections are usually held in the same year as the World Cup, and critics argue that political parties try to take advantage of the nationalistic surge created by football and bring it into politics. Former Brazilian footballers are often elected to legislative positions.