Blatter criticises Brazil preparations
Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff used her Twitter account to hit back at FIFA chief Sepp Blatter's attack on her country's lack of sufficient World Cup preparation.
"Brazilians start 2014 confident that they are going to host the World Cup of World Cups," Rousseff wrote. "In Brazil, the World Cup is going to be at home because this is the home of football."
Os brasileiros começam 2014 confiantes que irão sediar a #CopadasCopas. No Brasil, a Copa estará em casa, pois este é o país do futebol.— Dilma Rousseff (@dilmabr) January 6, 2014
Six of the nation’s 12 host stadiums failed to meet FIFA’s Dec. 31 deadline, while work on hotels, airports and roads have also been affected by delays. And when asked if Brazil realised the scale of work involved, FIFA chief Blatter told Swiss newspaper 24 Heures: “No. Brazil has just found out what it means and has started work much too late.
“No country has been so far behind in its preparations since I have been at FIFA even though it is the only host nation which has had so much time -- seven years -- in which to prepare.”
Following Rousseff's rebuttal, the Blatter also took to Twitter to claim: "I concur with the comments of dilmabr (Rousseff) about the World Cup. The whole world is awaiting the Cup of Cups. Brazil will be a great host. Brazil 2014 will be a great success."
Three of the stadiums are not likely to be finished until April, including the Itaquera Arena in Sao Paulo, which will host the opening match between Brazil and Croatia on June 12. The Brazilian government said it would be completed in February, only for FIFA to confirm another deadline of April 15.
However, Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo assured that Brazil would be ready in time.
"Brazil has been working in preparation for the World Cup since it was chosen to host the tournament. Ticket sales, the biggest out of any World Cup, shows that fans all over the world are confident that the World Cup of 2014 will be the best ever," Rebelo told the Associated Press.