(WFI) Brazil 2014 organisers today unveiled the Hublot Countdown Clock as part of year-to-go celebrations in Rio de Janeiro attended by FIFA leaders and football legend Pele.
FIFA secretary general Jérôme Valcke, the Brazilian sports minister Aldo Rebelo were among other dignatories present at the ceremony at Copacabana beach.
The month-long 2014 World Cup opens on June 12 next year in Sao Paulo.
With twelve months to go and only three days before the start of the Confederations Cup, spirits were up during the event in Rio de Janeiro.
In his opening remarks, Valcke emphasised his trust in the organisers, and reminded the public again about the close collaboration between FIFA and the Brazilian authorities involved in the preparations for the World Cup.
Valcke was quick to dismiss concerns about delays in venues and infrastructure and security issues. He was particularly adamant about security, promising that all the designated World Cup stadiums would meet the necessary requirements, as do the current Confederations Cup venues.
“Everything is going well in Brazil. We have good stadiums, a good infrastructure, good fields,” he said.
“The Maracanã stadium, for example, is like a beautiful woman who doesn’t need any make-up.”
With the latter remark he was referring to the fact that despite significant ongoing work in the surrounds of the Maracanã, the football temple was ready for the big games. It hosts Mexico v Italy in the Confederations Cup on Sunday.
Speaking to reporters after the year-to-go ceremony he added: “We now have to focus on what’s after the Confederations Cup, on the stadiums that are still not ready yet. We have to make sure that they will deliver on time and are even better than
the stadiums for the FIFA Confederations Cup.”
Pele Urges Fans to Stop Booing Brazil
When Brazilian World Cup hero Pelé was asked about his nation’s chances in the Confederations Cup, he was sceptical. The tournament kicks off on Saturday with the Brazil v Japan game, but according to Pelé the Brazil team isn’t ready to win the cup.
“Unfortunately, we lost a lot of time with the reign of Mano Menezes [former coach of the Brazilian team]. While we were forming a base, a collective as a team, everything was changed. But I’m sure that Parreira and Scolari will be able to bring this back.”
Then he remembered the lost final during the World Cup in Brazil in 1950, against Uruguay. He was nine years old at the time. Pelé said he didn’t want to go through that again next year. His father was crying when he heard through the radio that Uruguay had scored.
“I’m going to request our supporters not to boo our team. We have a very high individual level, but we need to turn it into a collective effort,” he added.
One of the other speakers at the event today was sports minister Rebelo.
For him the organisation of the World Cup was a welcome challenge for Brazil, a chance for its construction companies and engineers to show the world what they are capable of. Rebelo said he was convinced that security for fans and players won’t be an issue.
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