Brazil football fans have a singular focus on the World Cup in South Africa, Sunday’s game against the Ivory Coast, and next Friday’s match against Portugal. Nothing else matters in the football world here.
But if Brazilian football fanatics didn’t have enough to worry about given what most here consider a lacklustre 2-1 win over North Korea, the headlines in Thursdays newspapers here will bring more troublesome news about the preparations for the 2014 World Cup - to be held in Brazil.
It was decided Wednesday that Sao Paulo’s Morumbi Stadium has been ruled out as a venue for the matches here in 2014.
This is big news.
Morumbi was thought to be Sao Paulo’s best stadium, home to the famed Sao Paulo FC. The plan to reform the stadium didn’t have sufficient financial backing, it was determined. So it was ruled out.
Sao Paulo’s Palmeiras is reforming their stadium, Palestra Italia, and it will be ready in 2012. But its capacity will be 45,000 fans, about 15,000 less seats than what Fifa requires. Pacaembu, a public venue, is the final stadium in Sao Paulo, but Fifa has already said it’s not suitable a long time ago.
There are serious doubts a new stadium can be built in time for the games city officials have said they don’t have public money set aside for a new stadium.
That raises serious questions if Sao Paulo - South America’s largest city with an urban population of 11 million and a metropolitan region population bordering on 20 million - would be left out of hosting a World Cup game in 2014.
Ricardo Teixeira, the all powerful head of the CBF, confirmed on Wednesday night in an interview with Globo television Morumbi is out, but also said that a Brazilian-hosted World Cup without Sao Paulo as a host city was "unimaginable" .
I have previously blogged about the hiccups here in Brazil in World Cup preparations.
But right now nobody is really paying attention to Brazil and 2014. All focus in on 2010. All that changes on July 12, because that is the day after the final. And that is when all attention turns to Brazil and 2014.
It's not until then this country really feels what it’s like to be "under the microscope", as they say. With Brazil's biggest city still without a stadium to host one of the world's most important sporting events.