Brazil is ready, on and off the pitch, for the 20th edition of the Fifa World Cup, according to president Dilma Rousseff.
The 2014 World Cup kicks off on Thursday, with the hosts nation involved in an opening day clash with Croatia at the Arena Corinthians in the outskirt of Sao Paulo.
In a TV address, President Rousseff said “the pessimists” had been defeated by the determination of the Brazilian people.
The country has witnessed torrents of protest from its citizens over claims of mismanagement of public funds for the hosting of the tournament, a notion she rejected, stressing that the showpiece will leave a lasting legacy of infrastructure.
She defended the $11bn expenditure on the tournament, calling it a “false dilemma” that World Cup spending somehow diminished investments in health and education.
According to Mrs. President, Brazil’s budget between 2010 and 2013 exceeds the investment in stadiums in the excess.
However, works at the Itaquerao Stadium, venue of the opening ceremony/match are currently ongoing with less than 24 hours to kick-off.
Local resident had criticised government for failing to deliver development projects on time, while some never materialised.
Meanwhile, union leaders are threatening to resume strike in Sao Paulo’s metro lines to disrupt the opening game if their demands are not met.
They are calling for staff threatened with dismissal for their involvement in strike-related disturbances to be reinstated.
A five-day warning strike, which was suspended on Monday, caused widescale traffic chaos, leading to fears that a repeat of such industrial demonstration could prevent fans and employees from reaching match venues during group games.
Rousseff promises she won’t allow demonstration to disrupt the tournament.