June 12, 2014 By

Streets Seething with Anger; It’s Kick-off Today


The countdown has finally ended and the much awaited world cup match commences today at 1 AM (IST) as 32 countries compete for the world cup in, Brazil, with the finale on 13 July, Sunday. A star studded opening ceremony in Sao Paulo would precede the first match between the host nation and Croatia at the Itaquerão stadium. Fifa has declared 12 venues ready for the matches.

An audience of 65, 000 is expected and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has ensured that this time she would not allow any violent demonstrations to ruin the World Cup matches. The air force is put on alert and the navy vessels are patrolling the coastline. A Battalion of 147,000 police personnel and soldiers has been mobilised. Schools have been closed and roads are being cleared of conveyances.

With just hours remaining for the world’s biggest, an expensive and controversial sport to commence, people are still wary of any possible hurdles that would disrupt the game and the negative campaigns against the tournament. There have been several impediments all the way starting last year in Brazil, when millions demonstrated in major Brazilian cities against the over expenditure for the world cup, some of them violent and disruptive. An estimated $11.5billion have been spent so far, a sum bigger than the GDP of a quarter of the world’s countries. Most of the money, reportedly, has gone into concrete and steel for constructing new and upgraded stadiums and transport infrastructure. Even though the government ensured no public money would be used, an amount close to $3billion was used up from public funds after delays and overspending prompted government intervention. Brazilians maintain that the money should be spent on education and health care because of the poor public service standards and corruption. Anti-poverty activists are campaigning to make sure that this is the last World Cup where Fifa can shift so much of the burden on to the host nation.

Metro strikes are for the time being suspended indicating an easy access for the fans to the stadium. Earlier this week, there have been protests in Sao Paulo resulting in street fires and dire traffic blocks with the police using tear gas, batons and shields to send back the striking workers who demanded a double digit pay rise. The demand was turned down by the authorities initially resulting in a complete traffic chaos. Airport workers in Rio de Janeiro announced a 24-hour strike starting at midnight on Wednesday adding to the complexity. Rain is yet another threat. Latest FIFA reports say that it had sold more than 2.9 million tickets so far; but they still remain unsold for more than 15 World Cup matches.

Many new apps are also available that would help update about the latest happenings from world cup ground offering the scores, status and important details. FIFA is the tournament’s official app and is free. Sofa Score, BBC Sport and One Football are a few among others.

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