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Brazil Kicks Off A Troubled World Cup Tournament

As the World Cup kicks off, Brazilians are on the streets in protest. We talk soccer, Brazil, and Brazil’s problems.

Members of the Homeless Workers Movement march in front of Arena Corinthians stadium during a protest demanding better public services and against the money spent on the World Cup preparations in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Wednesday, June 4, 2014. (AP)

Members of the Homeless Workers Movement march in front of Arena Corinthians stadium during a protest demanding better public services and against the money spent on the World Cup preparations in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Wednesday, June 4, 2014. (AP)

Soccer fever is about to happen in Brazil.  The World Cup 2014 opens Thursday.  Before it ends a month later in Rio, there will be global delirium.  But hosting the World Cup – which was supposed to be a rising Brazil’s great coming-out party, like China with its Olympics – has turned out to be a lot more complicated than planned.  Protests all over Brazil saying build schools, hospitals, not stadiums.  Strikes and gridlock in Brazilian cities about to greet the world.  World soccer itself tarred with corruption allegations.  This hour On Point:  the World Cup rolls into a roiling Brazil.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Vincent Bevins, Brazil correspondent for the Los Angeles Times. Runs the “From Brazil” blog for Folha de Sao Paulo. (@Vinncent)

George Quraishi, founder and editor of Howler Magazine. (@quraishi)

Taylor Barnes, journalist based in Rio de Janeiro for USA Today Sports and the Christian Science Monitor. (@tkbarnes)

From Tom’s Reading List

The Wall Street Journal: Soccer, Made In America — “Mr. Klinsmann, whose contract runs through the next World Cup in 2018, insists he cannot turn the U.S. men into a soccer superpower single-handedly or quickly. But he isn’t letting up. In February, he ran a full-length, intrasquad scrimmage in high heat and humidity of Brazil. ”

Los Angeles Times: Stadium for World Cup opener gets an incomplete on test run — “Brazil’s government has been locked in disputes with FIFA, soccer’s ruling body, over delays to stadium completions, as cost overruns have soured part of the Brazilian population on the event and provided ammunition for ongoing street protests. Before the game, thousands of the famously working-class Corinthians fans shouted protests outside about the high cost of tickets to the new stadium.”

The Economist: Cheering for Argentina – “In the year since, the protests have become more overtly political, and more extreme—putting off moderates such as Mr Filho who had at first bulked them out. Again, the authorities have been partly responsible. After the initial panic, little changed. Talk of a constituent assembly, for example—an idea floated by President Dilma Rousseff in response to calls for political reform—came to nothing. ”

How To Watch The World Cup Tournament

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