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Page last updated at 17:39 GMT, Sunday, 11 July 2010 18:39 UK

World Cup 2010: Tests ahead as focus turns to Brazil

A woman stands in front of the Morumbi soccer stadium in Sao Paulo
Disagreements over refurbishing plans for Sao Paulo's Morumbi Stadium means Brazil's biggest city is without a venue for a World Cup game in 2014

Daniel Gallas
BBC Brasil in South Africa
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The 2010 World Cup has not been just about football for Brazil.

Since the start of the tournament, delegations from the South American country's federal and local governments, plus several other different institutions, have been in South Africa trying to learn lessons about staging the world's biggest sporting event.

That's because, in four years, it will be Brazil's turn to play host.

Just as there were doubts about South Africa's capabilities before the World Cup kicked off on 11 June, there are genuine concerns that Brazil will not be up to the task in 2014.

It has unsafe roads, congested airports, overpopulated cities, old and outdated stadiums, high crime rates and a questionable record in government transparency.

We are fully aware that we have three major challenges to host the World Cup in 2014: airports, airports and airports

Ricardo Teixeira, Brazil 2014 organising committee

But if there is one lesson Brazilians have learned from South Africa, it is that all of these problems can be managed or overcome.

Not since Mexico 1986 has a developing country hosted an event of such magnitude but South Africa seems to have passed the test in 2010.

Its airports are now world class, most of the stadiums are comparable to the best in Europe, there were enough hotels for everyone and there were few accidents caused by poor roads.

Above all, security, such a hot topic of debate, has not been an issue, apart from a few minor incidents.

If there was one question mark over the 2010 World Cup, it was its ability to deal with huge amounts of traffic. On match days, public transport did not cope with demand.

So how is Brazil, who staged the tournament back in 1950 and will also host the Olympics in 2016, shaping up in comparison?

Well, much work needs still to be done for 2014 and some of it is behind schedule.

Carlos Alberto Parreira, who guided Brazil to World Cup success in the United States 1994 and is now the coach of South Africa, says the time for dallying is over.

"Some deadlines are approaching and Brazilians need to be fast in their decisions," said the Rio de Janeiro-born 67-year-old, who has lived in South Africa since 2007. "Bureaucracy has to be facilitated and it cannot be an obstacle."

Empty seats at a South Africa World Cup game
Brazil will want to avoid the empty seats that have been on show in SA

The most pressing issue facing Brazil is the need to build and refurbish stadiums, not to mention airports, in the 12 hosting cities.

Eight venues need renovating while four new ones must be built.

At present, the 2014 organising committee is still analysing the financial plans of each project before giving the final go-ahead.

Add to the fact that Fifa has not approved the financial guarantees for the refurbishing of iconic Morumbi Stadium in Sao Paulo and the problems begin to mount up.

As it stands, Brazil's largest and best prepared city does not have a stadium to host games.

This is an example of how bureaucracy threatens to stall progress.

Fifa and the organising committee are unsatisfied with the proposal put forward by Sao Paulo FC, owners of Morumbi Stadium, for refurbishing the ground.

But neither the federal nor the Sao Paulo state governments are willing to put up any money for the work. The stand-off is due to be discussed later this month and there is no Plan B so far.

Another great concern is air travel. As it stands, Brazil does not have enough flights to meet demand, even in normal periods.

Back in 2006, Brazil faced a similar crisis to the one experienced by Europe this year, when the Icelandic volcano ash cloud had a major impact on air traffic.

WORLD CUP HAVE YOUR SAY

Only in Brazil, there were no natural causes to blame - just a lack of infrastructure. To combat potential travel issues, the 2014 organising committee has begun drawing up plans to split Brazil into four major regions, concentrating teams from each group within those areas.

This will prevent fans from having to journey long distances, such as from Manaus to Porto Alegre, and would also simplify air traffic control.

"We are fully aware that we have three major challenges to host the World Cup in 2014: airports, airports and airports," said Ricardo Teixeira, head of the Brazilian organising committee.

Another challenge for Brazil is coping with the pressures of hosting the World Cup while actually trying to win it, something South Africa did not have to do.

That is a big task, especially after Brazil's disappointing display this time around, losing to the Netherlands in the quarter-finals.

Can they achieve their twin aim?

A lot depends on Teixeira, who, besides heading the 2014 organising committee, is also chief of the Brazilian Football Confederation and is thus the man responsible for finding a successor to Dunga, who quit as national team boss following Brazil's 3-2 loss to the Dutch.

Perhaps the final word should go to Parreira.

"In 2007, there was a worldwide pressure and distrust in South Africa, with people saying it would not be able to host the 2010 World Cup," he said. "But everything has been overcome because there was structure and planning."



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see also
Emblem for 2014 World Cup revealed
09 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010
Referee system to change - Fifa
08 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010
Dunga sacked as Brazil head coach
05 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010
Fifa set to trial extra officials
26 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Football's coming home... to Brazil
28 May 10 |  Football


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