Expensive World Cup Preparations, Anti-World Cup Protests Continue in Brazil; Part of Stadium Roof Collapses

Less than six months from the first march!


till the lights go out

When FIFA awarded Brazil the 2014 World Cup in 2007 (more or less a given because FIFA rules required the tournament to be held in South America, and the South American soccer body endorsed Brazil's bid), Brazilians took to the streets to celebrate. Last year the mood turned sour; local protests over rising bus fares eventually spread across the country, carried by frustration over government spending on the World Cup. Those protests continue; anti-World Cup demonstrations in Sao Paolo reportedly became violent over the weekend.

The Brazilian government insisted preparations for the World Cup would cost less than $1 billion, and be financed largely by private investor, when it first launched its bid. Thanks in large part to cronyism, the costs have ballooned; building up the infrastructure for the World Cup cost Brazil $3.5 billion as of last summer, when the opening game was still a year away. The tournament is now less than six months from kicking off, and six of the 12 stadiums promised in the bid are still under construction.  Last week, part of the roof of one of those uncompleted stadiums collapsed because of heavy rains and winds, while FIFA issued an ultimatum to the city where another uncompleted stadium is located giving them four weeks to finish or risk having games scheduled there moved to another city. Just another reason you might want to hold off on buying tickets to the tournament just yet.

Related: The Brazilian national soccer team is only ranked #10 in the latest FIFA rankings which may be why the AP is asking today what might happen if Brazil doesn't win the World Cup, as it failed to do the last time it hosted it, in 1950, in a finals loss a deputy sports minister insisted remained a "trauma" for the country.

More Reason on Brazil.

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  1. Ha. I should send this article to a friend to ruin her day. She’s already got everything booked up.

    1. I hope your friend only gets robbed a tolerable number of times during her stay.

      1. I imagine they’ll have the goon squads out to protect tourists. I wouldn’t want to go anywhere near the favelas, though.

  2. Brazil’s ranking is something of a fiction. Because of the way the FIFA rankings work and the fact that the host nation does not play in the qualifying tournament (which, especially in South America, is long and arduous – it takes most of 2.5 years), they can’t accumulate ranking points like everyone else.

    They’ll be OK, especially considering they will be at home. Then again, they were at home in 1950 and lost to Uruguay, so…

    Their only real problem is that they haven’t played a truly competitive match since the Confederations Cup last summer, and even that is a totally different and much more limited way to get real games. They may have some rust.

    1. Who do you think will win? I’m going with the NORKs this time, Kim Jong Un said they will win, OR ELSE!

      1. Both Brazil and NORK have been known to incentivize their players with death threats. I think it’s a level playing field. It’s like Thunderdome… only boring.

      2. Norks didn’t make it. The Sorks did.

        1. Well, I guess there’s an entire new NORK team now.

    2. Brazil’s ranking is something of a fiction.

      The FIFA rankings in general are a fiction. I fail to understand how Belgium and Switzerland got seeded ahead of the Netherlands, which was the beaten finalist in 2010 and qualified for the European championships in 2012, unlike either Belgium or Switzerland.

      1. Belgium romped through qualifying and Switzerland was shockingly good as well.

        They adjusted things recently to put more emphasis on recent results.

  3. Fuck the world cup!

    FIFA is like the U.N. of soccer. Also the gay pride committee.

    1. I think FIFA manages to be worse than the UN.

      1. Slightly more corrupt, at the least.

  4. Brazil has massive infrastructure problems. The flooding there is just awful in a lot of places. But the government cares more about spending tax payer money to impress the world.

    BTW, Jesse, your friend is nuts. Sorry, but there is no way I would go near that mess. Stay far, far away from Brazil during the World Cup. Watch it on TV, that’s what I’m going to do.

    1. Watch it on TV, that’s what I’m going to do.

      This. It’s going to be a cluster.

      And hopefully, the damn US MNT will live up to their potential and at least make it to the quarters.

      1. The problem is that even though on paper the US probably has the most talented team ever (or close to it), they drew nearly the worst possible group they could.

        On the other hand, Portugal, Ghana, and Germany might be thinking the same thing. And this group may not even be the Deathiest Group of Death at this tournament. What a weird draw.

        1. Ah, right. I’d forgotten that.

          I’m going to not learn anything from history and continue to be optimistic. And I’m glad we got Ghana again. I need to learn how to say “Payback’s a bitch” in Twi.

        2. On the bright side, if they get out of the group, they get a team from the Belgium/Russia group in the second round, which I think is a more manageable proposition.

          1. Especially now that Belgium seems to be cracking under the surface, not unlike the Golden Generation of Portugal in 2002.

      2. Gonna be tough to get out of the Group of Death.

        1. We have Germany last, so the hope is that they have already secured a spot through to the elimination round by the time we play them, which could mean a B-squad and a chance to draw. Then you need to win against either Portugal or Ghana and draw the other. One win and two draws might get them through if the defense can hold the goal differential down.

          1. I relish the chance at making Ronaldo cry, but Portugal is no easy out and Ghana always beats us. I would love to exorcize that particular demon. Germany is just so much bigger than our players, I worry about our chances. I’m not counting any chickens yet, that’s for sure.

            1. Remember that we outplayed Germany pretty badly for probably 75-80 minutes of that quarterfinal in 2002 (even KAAAAAAHHHHHN!!!! said so).

              Germany has improved since then, but so have we, except in central defense.

              Portugal is Ronaldo and…Ronaldo. Even so, they aren’t going to be easy and they are probably going to remember 2002 and not want to repeat that.

              Ghana is aging. If we avoid making retarded mistakes, we should do fine. However, all it takes is a few seconds of pure strength and speed, things Ghana has a lot of and we have less of.

              1. Fuck Torsten Frings. That is all.

                1. Fuck Hugh Dallas, too.

            2. Neither are easy outs, but Portugal has a history of underachieving in these tournaments and I don’t see them changing things with this current squad. They had a pretty weak qualifying group and didn’t dominate.

              We get Ghana first. I think that match is going to determine how we do in the tournament. Like you said, lots of demons there. If we can get points in that one, I like our chances to get through.

              1. Agreed.

              2. USA 3, Portugal 2.

                God, I remember getting up at quarter to five to watch that match. Good times.

    2. BTW, Jesse, your friend is nuts. Sorry, but there is no way I would go near that mess. Stay far, far away from Brazil during the World Cup. Watch it on TV, that’s what I’m going to do.

      Agreed! That trip doesn’t sound appealing at all.

      1. Where is she planning on staying?

        If it’s RIO, I’ve always felt very safe there walking around the city, it has a very European like feel imo. At least the nice parts, I don’t hang out in the favelas. But during the chaos that’s going to be this World Cup, no way, not me, I am safer here in Estados Unidos.

        1. When I went to Brazil in 2008 I felt really safe the entire time, which, frankly, was unexpected. I rode the subway in Rio, walked around Sao Paulo, drove from Sao Paulo to Rio, walked around Curitiba, and visited Iguazu Falls. Never felt unsafe at any time.

          That said, I live in Baltimore, so maybe it was just conditioning.

          1. Well, I live in Balmer too, hon. So there is that perspective.

            Our place down there is in Recife, and there are some very dangerous parts of the city. But I walk around our neighborhood all of the time, and I never feel more unsafe than I do in Balmer, even at the inner harbor, or in the better neighborhoods.

        2. Yeah. I like NOLA, but I’m fine not visiting for Mardi Gras.

          She’s staying in Natal. I don’t really know anything about it.

          1. It’s straight north of Recife. That part of the country is very beautiful. They have a lot of sand dunes up there.

            She should be fine in Natal, in good areas. But again, my advice is stay away from stadiums or the streets during big games. People get crazy.

  5. The Brazilian government insisted preparations for the World Cup would cost less than $1 billion … building up the infrastructure for the World Cup cost Brazil $3.5 billion…

    Only 3.5 times the projected cost? That’s a bargain to get government to build something on time!

    The tournament is now less than six months from kicking off, and six of the 12 stadiums promised in the bid are still under construction.


  6. It is not without precedent that the tournament might get moved at the last minute, but the last time this was done was in 1986, when Colombia pulled out and Mexico stepped in. Of course Mexico had years of warning.

    On the other hand, the US can step in and hold probably up to three concurrent World Cup level tournaments if needed, not that FIFA would admit error on two fronts (the 2022 bid process and thinking Brazil would be ready).

    1. I would be delighted if it had to be moved to the US. 1) our infrastructure and stadia are capable on a moments notice of seating upwards of 70,000 2) I would get to go to a game and 3) it would irk the rest of the world that we’re so capable at saving THEIR sport.

        1. 1994 is still the benchmark for attendance and for profit.

          The USSF is, I believe, STILL spending 1994 money. And the host federation gets a fraction of the whole take.

        2. Not for Andres Escobar

          1. Why bother bringing that up? It had nothing to do with the subject.

            However, since you went there, ESPN put out a wonderful 30 for 30 on the subject, directed by the Zimbalist brothers. Called The Two Escobars. Excellent documentary.

            1. It was a(n) (admittedly tasteless) joke

    2. The US would be the obvious choice, with dozens of college and Pro football stadiums just sitting unused all summer.

      1. And the most recently built/renovated of those stadiums were specifically designed to accommodate FIFA-sanctioned matches. Of course that didn’t help us win the 2022 bid over the open bribery Qatar used.

  7. Don’t forget that the Olympics are in Rio for 2016. All of this public infrastructure should really take care of all of Brazil’s labor problems.

    1. Neither the infrastructure or the security is ready for these events. I hope it all goes well, but I am worried.

      Add to that a lot of Brazilians are pissed off as hell about this extravagance when the government can’t seem to find the money to keep areas safe from catastrophic flooding in a lots of places.

      Those issues combined with the craziness of world events like that, it’s a little scary.

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