In a rather subdued ceremony (considering it took place in Brazil), FIFA held its draw for next summer’s 2014 World Cup. Within a police cordon of 45 miles in radius, the ceremony was first marked by a moment of silence for Nelson Mandela, which FIFA über-oaf Sepp Blatter interrupted to prompt applause instead. Afterwards, FIFA flunkies, former players and stunning Brazilian presenter Fernanda Lima  supervised the somewhat oddly convoluted process to select the teams that will make up the eight groups of four, immediately launching millions of speculative theories and storylines from around the globe.

Among these focus on the second game of the tournament, which will feature Spain against the Netherlands, the participants in the 2010 Final (which marked Mandela’s last public appearance, and Mexico’s getting host and favorite Brazil in their group, but the most noise has been about England and the United States having been drawn into “Groups of Death.”  England has to face Brazil’s neighbors Uruguay, led by the English Premier League’s leading scorer and the sport’s bête noire Luis Suarez, as well as traditional World Cup powerhouse Italy. The United States has it even harder, having to play Germany, Portugal and Ghana (who have beaten them in the last two World Cups), travelling a total of approximately 9000 miles over  three games in the process. However, even more is being made out of the fact that England have to travel to Manaus in the ‘sweltering’ Amazon jungle for their first game against Italy, soon followed by the United States having to do the same against Portugal.

English coach Roy Hodgson had gotten into a war of words with Manaus Mayor Arthur Virgilio even before the draw, when he expressed a distinct lack of desire to play there. The Mayor countered that he wasn’t welcome anyway.

In honor of the fears of anacondas and curare tipped spears that are being bandied about by sport presenter types, I have a couple of informative films to suggest you stream.

The Lost World (1925) is a silent film based on the book by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle that depicts an Amazonian world populated by prehistoric dinosaurs, along with the usual jungle suspects such as leopards and sloths. The film actually features Doyle himself in a small role, as well as Wallace Beery (Grand Hotel, Treasure Island) as Professor Challenger.

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Greece is also in this World Cup (drawn against Colombia, Ivory Coast, and Japan) and faces a daunting travel schedule as well. So I also suggest Hercules vs. The Sons of the Sun (1964), in which Hercules (Mark Forest) is shipwrecked on the coast of South America, and ends up battling the Incan emperor. The film also features Italian Guiliano Gemma (Dario Argento’s Tenebre, as well as Desert of the Tatars) as a sympathetic native prince. Enough to get one through a winter of waiting? Well, perhaps at least until the Winter Olympics…  

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More classic fantasy and science fiction movies are streaming around the clock on Sci Fi Telly via FilmOn:

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