May 28, 2014 4:29 pm
Updated: May 28, 2014 4:32 pm

Gallery: Is Brazil ready to host the World Cup?

This aerial view shot through an airplane window shows the Maracana stadium behind the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro.

(AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

Brazil’s Deputy Sports Minister Luis Fernandes said Wednesday that Brazil would organize a successful World Cup despite what he called “prejudice” against so-called developing countries as they try to organize global spectacles.

“We are confident that Brazil will surprise the world with a successful event in the World Cup,” Fernandes said, speaking Wednesday with reporters in a teleconference.

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The pictures however suggest there’s much work to be done in the remaining weeks between now and the tournament’s June 12 start date.

‘absolutely confident’

“There is no embarrassment and no panic,” Fernandes added. “We are absolutely confident, excited and proud that we will deliver a fantastic World Cup in Brazil. That’s the general atmosphere in government. We are absolutely confident.”

Brazil’s preparations of the World Cup, which opens June 12 in Sao Paulo, have been characterized by delays building or remodeling 12 stadiums, unfinished upgrades to airports and transportation, and criticism the $11.5 billion being spent should have been used to improve the country’s poor schools and rundown hospitals.

READ MORE: Complete World Cup coverage

Last week Ronaldo, who won two World Cups with Brazil and has worked with local World Cup organizers, said he was “embarrassed” by the “total confusion and lateness” of stadiums and allied infrastructure.

Fernandes defended the preparations, said the World Cup investment would boost the economy, and argued that “developing” countries are judged differently as they plan the World Cup or Olympics.

“There are sectors in society in general that have prejudice with respect to the capacity of developing countries in general … to deliver this kind of event,” Fernandes said.

“There is absolutely no contradiction between a developing country hosting a major event such as the World Cup or the Olympics Games, and increasing investment in education and in other public areas.”

Rio will host the 2016 Olympic Games, as well.

– files from Associated Press


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