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FIFA says Brazil will be ready for WC

Three days before the start of the Confederations Cup and exactly a year before the World Cup kickoff, FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke dismissed concerns that Brazil will not be ready for the bigger tournament. Flanked by soccer great Pele, who urged Brazilian fans to stand unified behind their still evolving national team, Valcke unveiled a clock in Rio de Janeiro counting down the days until the World Cup starts.

Valcke said that 12 months is enough time to finish work at airport terminals and the 12 stadiums that will play host to the event. Aldo Rebelo, Brazil’s sports minister, has said repeatedly that the stadiums will be completed by a December deadline. “That is going to happen,” Valcke said on Wednesday, echoing the comments by Rebelo, who was also at the unveiling of the clock. “There is no Plan B. There is no solution other than having those 12 stadiums,” Valcke added.

The smaller tournament, an eight-team competition that starts on Saturday, will serve as a World Cup warmup and will help organisers test facilities ahead of the marquee event. Pele urged Brazil fans, known for booing the national team for anything other than outright dominance on the field, to be patient. He also has immense faith in Neymar’s Barca role.

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