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Blatter says World Cup problems are under control

FIFA President Sepp Blatter speaks during a news conference at the Club World Cup soccer tournament in Marrakech December 19, 2013. REUTERS/
FIFA President Sepp Blatter speaks during a news conference at the Club World Cup soccer tournament in Marrakech December 19, 2013. REUTERS/

(Reuters) - Problems with Brazil's World Cup venues are under control with just 100 days to go before the first match kicks off, FIFA president Sepp Blatter said on Tuesday.

"One hundred days; It's a long way to go, and it's a short way to go if there are still problems," the Swiss told fifa.com in a video to mark the occasion.

"But now all problems are under control and it will be in 100 days an exceptional good start for an exceptional competition."

Brazil is racing against time to complete stadiums, airports, communications infrastructure and transportation systems as the June 12 opening day approaches.

FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said at the weekend that the world body faced a huge challenge following delays in building stadiums.

The Sao Paulo stadium that hosts the opening match is not due to be ready until May while other stadiums in Curitiba and Manaus remain unfinished.

One survey in February showed the number of Brazilians who favored hosting the tournament had fallen to an all-time low, with many criticising it as a waste of money.

Support has waned since protests broke out in June last year against poor public services and the high cost of building stadiums, but Blatter was confident Brazilians would embrace the Cup when the time came.

Brazil, said Blatter, was "the country of football, and they will receive this competition with open arms and full of their heart".

"The Brazilian spirit of the game and the Brazilian ability to play football makes this World Cup very, very special," he added.

"Now everybody is expecting in Brazil that Brazil will bring home this World Cup. I am sure it will be a great, great success."

Brazil, who last hosted the tournament in 1950, are the only nation to have won the Cup five times and also the only ones to have played in every finals.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin; Editing by John O'Brien)

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