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Brazil in countdown for World Cup start

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) - About 300,000 visitors from around the world are expected to attend World Cup matches across Brazil, from the steamy Amazon region in the north to the chillier pampa climes in the south to Rio de Janeiro, where the Christ the Redeemer statue spreads his arms high above the Maracana stadium where the tournament's final game will be.

The monthlong event starts June 12, when Brazil's largest city, Sao Paulo, hosts the opening game.

Last-minute preparations are still being completed for the onslaught of fans, with finishing touches on stadiums where the games will be played and at airports where visitors will arrive.

Vendors are arranging World Cup merchandise from key chains to T-shirts. Some merchandise features a cartoon rendering of the tournament's official mascot, Brazil's three-banded armadillo, which can roll up into a soccer-like ball when startled.

Security is being beefed up, with 157,000 soldiers and police assigned to keep order during the tournament. More protests are expected against the billions shelled out by the government to host the event, but authorities say they don't anticipate demonstrations will be as intense as those seen last year. Some police officers have sought to use World Cup security worries to pressure for pay raises, staging strikes that brought looting and other chaos.

The World Cup seems to be on everyone's mind as residents of cities around Brazil paint walls with soccer-inspired graffiti - some of it welcoming the tournament, some of it complaining about the cost. One mural at a Sao Paulo school by renowned street artist Paulo Ito has gone viral on social media, showing a weeping, starving Brazilian boy, knife and fork in hand, being served a soccer ball on a plate.

While adults debate World Cup politics, kids across the region are getting into the spirit by playing pick-up soccer games. They are inspired by the sporting heroes who will represent their countries, and many dream of one day scoring the goal that brings the world championship to their homeland.

Vendors in other countries are ready, too, such as one in Buenos Aires offering a variety of T-shirts showing Argentine soccer star Lionel Messi, alongside shirts for former soccer great Diego Maradona, who led Argentina to victory at the 1986 World Cup, and the late President Eva Peron.

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arcoregar May 26 2014 at 12:54 PM

Let the fighting, rioting and looting begin!

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2 replies
Your Highness arcoregar May 26 2014 at 1:41 PM

I believe it started several weeks ago ...

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3 replies
quinti47 arcoregar May 26 2014 at 3:52 PM


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rsun346659 May 26 2014 at 12:45 PM

It is crazy to go see the world cup in brazil, because it is extremelly unsafe. Last year in rio, an american woman was raped for 6 hours by 6 brazilian animals inside a van, she was nearly killed. There are a lot of riots against the world cup. The workers party is hostile towards foreigners. Etc, etc

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4 replies
Bernie May 26 2014 at 1:37 PM

Let me see, now……. 300,000 visitors expected….. 157,000 soldiers and police assigned to keep order….. along with the tens of thousands who have been displaced from what they once knew as home and received less than adequate compensation…..
http://afootballreport.com/post/9070670518/the-2014-world-cup-and-its-price-on-brazil <
why am I having trouble with the math in justifying this extravaganza?

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2 replies
k3j8l9 Bernie May 26 2014 at 1:48 PM

Amen !!!!

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weikamis Bernie May 26 2014 at 3:10 PM

This will be one of the biggest if not THE biggest nightmares of the century!

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1 reply
che_guevara30 weikamis May 27 2014 at 3:19 AM

That is a silly statement....we are flying in on the 2nd and a few of the others in my group have been there since Friday and say its great.

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sindfetish May 26 2014 at 1:06 PM

"WORLD" Cup Soccer involving quailing Nations OF THE WORLD....as opposed to "World Series" of baseball which is actually the North American Series at best. Let's get Cuba, Japan, China etc into the World Series of baseball...or CHANGE THE NAME....

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1 reply
mad_dawg_1 sindfetish May 26 2014 at 1:36 PM

We dont want people from china and cuba in the us

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5 replies
buknekkid May 26 2014 at 2:17 PM

Ah yes, let the riots begin. How many shall die over a stupid sport again this year?

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1 reply
scorpios28 buknekkid May 26 2014 at 4:32 PM

wow buknekkid with all the technology that we have now and the smart phones why r u so far behind the world only like 700 million people will watch this tournament, and the players will leave to watch it again when they are 8

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1 reply
scorpios28 scorpios28 May 26 2014 at 4:32 PM


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barbgiano May 26 2014 at 2:06 PM

I am so looking forward to the world cup, I just wish they would ban those annoying horns.

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1 reply
Sparky5229 barbgiano May 26 2014 at 5:32 PM

why ?

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marciosborgi May 27 2014 at 3:03 AM

lol...OMG..I live in Sao Paulo..is not like that..Sao Paulo and Rio are exactly like NY and San Francisco or Miami...the same danger..so...Stop exaggerating thing!!!!Look in your own backyard..shooting in schools..etc etc etc..Living in USA, today, is more dangerous than any place on Earth!!!!,,,personal safety and bank account..

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1 reply
lgvxl42 marciosborgi May 27 2014 at 3:56 AM

Don't listen to the clowns! I wish that the cup goes on without a hitch & will be watching from Atlanta. Buenos suerte!

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crossingsg May 27 2014 at 1:56 AM

My wife and I spent one month in Rio this January. Yes, my wallet disappeared from my pocket one time. After that, I just put money in various pockets and did not carry a wallet. What did I need one for? We found people in Rio to be courtious and friendly. The transit systems work great. There are a ton of very new buses, all with air-conditioning. The Metro is being expanded. There are many brand new Metro cars. We found it safe and accomodating.
Sure, if you wander around at night in the older sections of the downtown area, you could have some problems. But walking around and on Copacabana at night is a joy. There is plenty of lighting, continual kiosks with food and drink, and live entertainment. The mood is festive. It is a joy.
I hope the World Cup goes well. We found the facilities in Rio, such as the platform areas for Sugar Loaf, the Maracana Stadium, the Subway facilities and the beach areas to be done in a heavy contruction format. Enjoy!

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1 reply
trmnatr2 crossingsg May 27 2014 at 5:20 AM

Courtious and friendly as they empty your pockets. If my wallet disappears, i'm not going to remember a place fondly.

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mad_dawg_1 May 26 2014 at 1:34 PM

I dont know how any one can sit and watch some thing like soccer. Oh wow we won
1 to 0. Dont even consider soccer a sport.

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4 replies
atriple5 May 26 2014 at 7:50 PM

brazil is amazing,hard to believe some of the comments are from people that never been there!!!!

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