The official countdown for next year’s World Cup begins when the Confederations Cup kicks off from the 15th to the 30th of June.
Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro will be the venue for the final in both events.
Zico the top scorer ever for Maracanã says he hopes Brazil will get their revenge after the heartbreaking home defeat in the 1950 World Cup final.
“My father went to Maracanã to watch the final between Brazil and Uruguay and he said it was the greatest sorrow of his life.
When I was a child, he always told me about a full stadium of around 200 thousand people crying because of the defeat. The whole country believed in victory. It was saddest day of his life.”
64-years-later, Brazil’s national team have an opportunity to put things right at home.
Neymar will be playing in this year’s national team, he says:
“For me it’s a dream, all countries want to win the world cup”“For us it’s more important because it’s in our country. We feel a huge responsibility, the pressure is greater for us, but we’re prepared for everything.”
All Brazilians dream of a sixth World Cup title, but before reaching the final, here at Maracanã stadium, there’s still much more to be done.
None of the stadiums have been finished on time. The completion date for Maracanã has been moved back three times. The venue should be delivered to FIFA by May 24th.
A foreman involved in the construction of the Maracanã stadium said:
“Some things in the interior will not be finished. After the Confederations Cup, we will still need to make some changes, but nothing inside of public area.”
The six stadiums hosting the Confederations Cup still need to be modified because they do not respect FIFA standards.
Belo Horizonte has problems of accessibility and could go unused. The opening stadium in Brasilia is not ready yet either and FIFA has already thought about starting the tournament with just 5 stadiums.
Luis Fernandes the Vice Sports Minister said:
“These stadiums should be finished by December but it won’t happen. Now, this affects our planning because we have no time to run matches to test the stadiums as we need to. And it’s already very close to the beginning of the Confederations Cup.”
Ricardo Trade, the CEO of the Confederations Cup Said:
“We already decided to keep the six stadiums for the tournament. We thought before about doing it with five or even four, but in October we decided to organise the Confederations Cup with six stages, so we have no more options.. and no plan B.”
In addition to the controversies over delays, the organisers face another headache over the placement and number of venues. Previously the USA, South Africa and France for example have organised the World Cup with nine or 10 stadiums, but Brazil insists on having 12.
“We want to organise in 12 cities,” Ricardo Trade said: “Because we are a continental country, we are not only Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. We will show our other fantastic cities.”
“Some of these host cities don’t even have clubs that take part in Brazilian football.”
Former Brazilian footballer Romário was also critical:
“Brasília, Mato Grosso, Manaus and Natal are all unnecessary stadiums. The government will spend 400 thousand euros on each one and after the World Cup they won’t have football events in there.”
The dream of the big final in Maracanã is increasingly distant from the population. Brazilians fed up with stories of wasted public investment and works delays.
“The Brazilian population isn’t very excited, they are very pessimistic and I don’t see how it could change in one year, only if the Brazilian national team starts playing well again and winning.”