In what will surely go down as one of the least surprising decisions in World Cup history, FIFA on Tuesday confirmed that five-time world champion Brazil would host the 2014 finals. The result was never in doubt, really, as Brazil was the only country bidding to host a tournament that soccer's world governing body had set aside for a South American nation.
Even so, the Brazilian soccer federation went through the formality of making its 30-minute presentation to FIFA's executive committee before it was officially awarded the 2014 finals. Among the challenges Brazil faces is renovating and in some cases completely rebuilding nine of its 18 aging stadiums, for which inspectors estimated a budget of $1.1 billion.
"The task was not easy," said FIFA President Sepp Blatter said. "For us it was a real big challenge to have the same list of requirements and the same conditions for only one candidate than if we had two and perhaps we put the bar higher than if we had two," he said adding, "this World Cup will have such a big social and cultural impact in Brazil." Separately, Germany was awarded the 2011 Women's World Cup at the same meeting.