World Cup 2014: Sepp Blatter criticises Brazil over preparations

Brazil's failings in delivering this summer's World Cup have been highlighted by Fifa's president Sepp Blatter, who said no previous host country has been so far behind in its preparations. Six of the 12 host stadia have failed to meet the 31 December deadline, while delays have also affected work on hotels, airports and roads.

Blatter pointed out that Brazil has had seven years since it was awarded the tournament whereas previous hosts only had six years or in some cases less.
Asked if World Cup hosts realised the scale of work involved, the Fifa president told the 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 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."
Even South Africa, which is much less wealthy than Brazil and had to build all its 2010 venues from scratch, was more prepared.

Work on three stadia in Brazil is likely to go on until the middle of April, just a few weeks before the start of the tournament on 12 June, but Blatter admitted early in December that there is "no plan B".

This includes the Itaquera Arena in Sao Paulo which will host the opening ceremony and match of the finals between Brazil and Croatia. It has suffered one problem after another, culminating in the death of two workers in November.

The Brazilian government announced it would be completed in February, only for Fifa to confirm another deadline of 15 April a day later.

Blatter also conceded that he expects there to be more of the protests that dominated last summer's Confederations Cup. He added: "I am an optimist not a pessimist. So I am not worried. But we do know there will be again be manifestations, protests. Those during the Confederations Cup – in this same country – were generated out of the social networks.
"There was no specific goal but during the World Cup the protests will perhaps be more concrete, more organised. But I also believe the football will be safe, I do not believe that Brazilians will attack the football directly. For them, it's a religion."