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Brazilians Say World Cup Will Be Successful Despite Blatter Criticism

posted 6 Jan 2014, 17:05 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 6 Jan 2014, 17:06 ]

Brazilians fire back at Blatter and say the country can put on a good show for the 2014 World Cup, despite construction delays.

MANAUS, BRAZIL (REUTERS) -  Brazilians on Monday (January 6) fired back at FIFA's Sepp Blatter after he criticised the World Cup host nation for falling behind on their preparations.

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In a newspaper interview, Blatter said he could not remember a World Cup host nation falling as far behind with their preparations as Brazil, but he later backtracked by tweeting that the tournament would be a success after Brazil President Dilma Rousseff said her country would stage the "Cup of Cups".

Blatter said that work had started much too late.

Most of the focus on Brazil's delayed preparations has surrounded the new stadiums still under construction with only six months before competition begins.

Six of the 12 stadiums in Brazil missed the final deadline of December 31 which FIFA set for them to be completed and put at the disposal of organisers.

They are the venues in Sao Paulo, CuritibaPorto AlegreCuiabaNatal and Manaus.

Pedro Trengrouse, a professor in sports management and marketing at the university Fundacao Getulio Vargas in Rio, said that Brazil has proven it can put on the "Cup of Cups" when it hosts the tournament again for the first time since 1950.

"Having organized the Confederations Cup with success is proof that we have the conditions to put on the best World Cup in the world. The World Cup in June, and its stadiums, will be ready in time to have them tested, It's not right to say that Brazil is the most behind of all World Cups because it isn't the truth. You can easily remember in South Africa that you couldn't play the Confederations Cup in the Cape Town stadium because the stadium wasn't ready. This was the initial plan," Trengrouse said.

Blatter took to Twitter later on Monday (January 6) to give a rosier outlook after President Dilma Rousseff also took to Twitter to express optimism about Brazil's hosting.

Blatter stated that "Only 157 days to World Cup opening match in Sao Paulo. Preparations are in full swing in all 12 host cities. Brazil 2014 will be a success."

Rousseff said:

"We love football and we will receive this Cup with pride and we will make it the Cup of Cups. The World Cup will be at home in Brazil as this is the country of football."

Brazil's World Cup preparations have been hit by a rash of incidents in recent months.

Three construction workers died during stadium constructions late last year. One worker fell from the roof of the Arena Amazonia in the jungle city of Manaus in December; the two others were killed in November when a crane collapsed and destroyed parts of Sao Paulo's Arena Corinthians, which is expected to host the opening game on June 12 this summer.

On New Year's Eve, local World Cup organizers in the northeastern city of Natal turned on the lights at the Arena das Dunas stadium to symbolize the venue's completion. But, it will not be officially inaugurated until the end of January.

The Beira-Rio Stadium in the southern city of Porto Alegre is set to be completed in January and theArena Pantanal in the wetlands city of Cuiaba is expected to be delivered in February.

Constricted by financing problems, the Arena da Baixada in the southern city of Curitiba is likely to be ready in March or early April.

Rio local and employee to the city Guilherme Aires said that he believed the World Cup would be a success.

"I think that in the end everything will be fine for the country (Brazil). The World Cup is going to be very good and it's going to bring a lot of people and opportunity to the country, infrastructure, jobs. I think it's excellent and I think everything will work out fine," Aires said.

Local merchant Jorge Silva said that there was a palpable nervousness when it came to the Cup.

"Is everything going to be fine? People are anxious and want to know if it is going to go alright or not. I for example think that the deal (getting stadiums ready) is kind of tight," Silva said.

Blatter has experience of nine World Cups, dating back to Argentina in 1978. He joined soccer's ruling body as a development officer in 1975 before becoming secretary general and then taking over as president in 1998.

Brazil were elected unopposed as hosts in 2007 under the old rotation system which awarded the finals to South America.

The other nine South American countries had agreed to support Brazil as the only candidate in 2003, in effect giving them an additional four years to get ready.