11 Apr 2013

Brazil still not ready for Confederations Cup

9:37 am on 11 April 2013

More than half a million tickets have been sold for the Confederations Cup in June, but host nation Brazil has yet to finish the main stadiums to be used in the dress rehearsal for the 2014 soccer World Cup.

On the eve of yet another FIFA deadline, Brazil has delivered only three of the six venues for the eight-nation warm-up.

World football's governing body FIFA had demanded that all six stadiums be ready by this past December but construction delays forced it to extend the deadline until April 15.

Even with that extra time, all the stadiums will not be ready.

The cities of Belo Horizonte, Fortaleza and Salvador have complied with the timetable and delivered their stadiums, while Recife will open its Arena Pernambuco on Sunday, one day ahead of the final FIFA deadline.

In Brasilia, 5,000 workers toil around the clock to finish the Mane Garrincha National Stadium, bolting seats into concrete galleries and draining the field where rolls of grass have still to be laid for the pitch.

The NZ$583 million colonnaded arena in the centre of Brazil's modern capital is the most expensive of the 12 venues that will host the World Cup.

Brazil will face Japan here in the opening game of the Confederations Cup on June 15, the first test of the South American nation's ability to organize two rapidly approaching global sporting events, next year's World Cup and the Olympic Games two years later.