In an interview with the Swiss press, FIFA President Sepp Blatter blasted Brazil over its World Cup preparations as six of the nation’s 12 home stadiums failed to meet the world governing body’s Dec. 31 deadline. In fact, three of the uncompleted stadiums are not likely to be finished until April, including the Itaquera Arena in Sao Paulo, which hosts the opening match between Brazil and Croatia.
“No country has been so far behind in its preparations since I have been at FIFA even though it is the only host nation which has had so much time -- seven years -- in which to prepare,” the FIFA boss told Swiss paper 24 Hueres. When asked if Brazil understood the scale of the work involved in hosting a World Cup, he said: “No. Brazil has just found out what it means and has started work much too late.”
Blatter also remarked that he expects this summer’s tournament to feature protests similar to those organized by the Brazilian public during last summer’s Confederations Cup. “I am an optimist not a pessimist. So I am not worried,” he said. “But we do know there will again be manifestations, protests. Those during the Confederations Cup -- in this same country -- were generated out of the social networks. There was no specific goal but during the World Cup the protests will perhaps be more concrete, more organized. But I also believe the football will be safe, I do not believe that Brazilians will attack the football directly. For them, it's a religion.”