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Rio De Janerio Begins Official One-Year Countdown Until World Cup 2014

posted 12 Jun 2013, 10:53 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 12 Jun 2013, 10:53 ]

Pele and FIFA's Jerome Valcke unveil official clock counting down the next 365 days until 2014 World Cup Brazil begins.

RIO DE JANEIROBRAZIL (JUNE 12, 2013) (REUTERS) - Less than one year remains until the official kick off of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

At an event commemorating the beginning of the 365-day countdown leading up to the tournament's opening match in Sao Paulo, Brazilian soccer legend Pele said Brazil has a chance to win it all for the sixth time.

"We're going to do an excellent World Cup without any doubt. We're going to do it because we have confidence. Of course to win or lose the World Cup depends on good luck and how good our team is," Pele said.

Brazil's Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo said the South American country was prepared to host the massive sporting event.

"We managed a great effort to build the stadiums, to improve our infrastructure and airports, and make it so the 12 host cities can receive tourists, delegations, and the teams," Rebelo said.

FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke, who has spent a lot of time in Brazil in recent months inspecting stadiums, was also at the ceremonial unveiling of one of the official clocks counting down to the second to the start of the first World Cup Brazil has hosted in 64 years.

The clock was manufactured by Hublot, the official timekeeper for the 2014 event, but designed by legendary architect and former Rio resident Oscar Niemeyer, who passed away in 2012.

Niemeyer's clock was installed on the sands of Rio's famous Copacabana beach.

Brazil's national team is currently preparing to face Japan in the capital, Brasilia, in the opening game of this year's Confederations Cup on June 15.

The warm-up event will be the first test of the South American nation's ability to organize both next year's World Cup and the Olympic Games two years later.

The eight-nation Confederations Cup is being played in six cities in Brazil until the final game is played June 30 in Rio's iconic, and recently renovated, Maracana stadium.