Blatter unfazed by Brazil's last-minute 'fine tuning' for Confederations Cup

Sepp Blatter is in Brazil for the start of the Confederations Cup this weekend.

Story highlights

  • FIFA president Sepp Blatter is confident Brazil can host 2014 World Cup
  • Concerns raised over Brazil's readiness for the Confederations Cup
  • The World Cup warm-up begins with Brazil taking on Japan on Saturday
  • FIFA confirms Nigeria will take part in the tournament despite bonus row

The head of world football's governing body has moved to allay fears Brazil will not be ready to host the forthcoming Confederations Cup.

The South American country is staging the tournament as a dress rehearsal for the 2014 World Cup, with the opening match pitching Brazil against Asian champions Japan in Brasilia on Saturday.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter was asked in a press conference why workers were still on site at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, which will host the final of both the Confederations Cup and the World Cup.

"They are still working because they are trying to finish it," said Blatter, who has been the head of world soccer since 1998. "That's my personal opinion.

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"We have been in competitions where, one hour before the head of state arrives, there were still painters painting something.

Will Brazil be ready for the World Cup?
Will Brazil be ready for the World Cup?


    Will Brazil be ready for the World Cup?


Will Brazil be ready for the World Cup? 02:51
World Cup stadium in Amazon rainforest
World Cup stadium in Amazon rainforest


    World Cup stadium in Amazon rainforest


World Cup stadium in Amazon rainforest 02:46

"There is a lot of work which will be done at the last minute. So for me it is not a surprise that with two days to go they are still working somewhere. It means that something is not finished, so we should just say 'OK' and finish it.

"I've been directly involved in World Cups since 1978 and I have witnessed a lot of such problems."

Concerns over Brazil's readiness to host football's biggest event have been voiced for some time.

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Those reservations were given credence last month when the roof collapsed at the newly-constructed Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador due to heavy rain and "human error."

Brazilian sport minister Aldo Rebelo defended his country's preparations, describing work which is still going on at Confederations Cup venues as "fine tuning."

"We have the situation where not only in the Maracana but in other stadiums we still have people working to finish," said Rebelo.

"There was a lot of work done and a huge effort was made in order to deliver this for the Confederations Cup."

Meanwhile, FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke delivered assurances Nigeria will compete in the Confederations Cup, following reports that the Super Eagles had refused to board a flight to Brazil on Thursday in a row over performance bonuses.

Nigeria, which qualified for the tournament by winning the Africa Cup of Nations, will now head to South America on Saturday ahead of a match with Tahiti in Belo Horizonte on Monday.

"I spoke with the team manager, they will be on a plane on Saturday and they will be at the Confederations Cup," Valcke told reporters. "The problem is solved.

"The issue is solved and they will fly to Brazil on Saturday."