World Cup 2014 Starts Today As Brazil set to kick-off tournament
The 2014 Fifa World Cup begins on Today as hosts Brazil open the tournament against Croatia. The month-long tournament sees 32 nations compete for a place in the final in Rio on Sunday, 13 July.World Cup defending champions Spain
The opening match will be preceded by a ceremony in Sao Paulo that pays tribute to nature, people and football.
“Let me tell you the time has arrived. We are going together. This is our World Cup,” said Brazil coach Luis Felipe Scolari on Wednesday.Last year more than a million people took to the streets of major Brazilian cities to protest against what they see as excessive spending on the World Cup.
The host country’s government is keen to prevent a repeat of some of the violence seen at those protests, and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has said she will not allow violent demonstrations to mar the World Cup. Thousands of extra police and soldiers will be deployed to ensure the matches get under way smoothly.Hosts Brazil start as favourites to win the World Cup for a sixth time, while holders Spain are aiming to win a fourth major tournament in a row after winning the European Championships two years ago.
The other seeded teams are Colombia, Uruguay, Switzerland, Argentina, Germany and Belgium.“I have a feeling it will come down to four countries, although unfortunately I do not think one of them will be England,” said former England striker Lineker.
“I’m going for Germany, Spain, Argentina or Brazil but I feel that the pressure may well be a little too much for the host nation.”
Scolari’s Brazil side will be expected to win in Sao Paulo on Thursday, in a match that kicks off at 21:00 BST.
A capacity 65,000 crowd is expected for the match, with their journey to the stadium eased after metro workers voted not to resume a strike over pay and the dismissal of 42 colleagues.The host city for the opening ceremony had been braced for considerable disruption after traffic chaos was caused by a five-day stoppage earlier in the week.Members of the Brazilian Army, Navy and Air Force attend a presentation of defense and security personnel and equipment that will be used during the 2014 World Cup in Brasilia
As one problem eased another began, however, with airport workers in Brazil’s second largest city Rio de Janeiro announcing a 24-hour strike starting at midnight on Wednesday, meaning industrial action will continue through the opening day of the World Cup.