Brazil launches official 2014 World Cup countdown

by Alister POOLE on September 19, 2011

Brazil has started its countdown to the 2014 World Cup, which it will host in 1,000 days’ time.

The South American country’s President Dilma Rousseff launched an event at a Belo Horizonte stadium in Belo alongside footballing legend Pele, Brazil’s World Cup ambassador and part of two sides that won international football’s most prestigious tournament.

Ms Rousseff promised that the new stadiums and any other infrastructure required will be ready on time, in spite of major difficulties and delays. The first match will be played on 12 June 2014 and, before then, Brazil must upgrade or construct 12 stadiums, with many of them behind schedule, over budget, or both.

At some sites, construction workers have refused to work and are on strike. One of these sites is the iconic Maracana of Rio de Janeiro, which is where the final is scheduled to be played. The Mineirao stadium in Belo Horizonte, the location that President Rousseff began the countdown from, is another. Building work on Itaquerao stadium, a new project in Sao Paulo vying to is host the tournament’s opening game, began just a few months ago in May.

Brazil must also make sure that huge infrastructure developments like roads and airport terminals are delivered so fans can easily move from one venue to another across South America’s largest country. The 2014 World Cup is going be the first to be held in South America in 36 years as Argentina hosted 1978’s tournament. It will also be the first time that Brazil has hosted the competition in 64 years.

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