Brazil officially named 2014 World Cup hosts

ZURICH (Reuters) - Brazil, the only bidding country, were named as the host nation of the 2014 World Cup finals by world football’s governing body FIFA on Tuesday.

They become the fifth country to host two World Cups following Mexico (1970 and 1986), France (1938 and 1998), West Germany/Germany (1974 and 2006) and Italy (1934 and 1990).

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the president of Brazil who was present at FIFA House where the announcement was made said: “I would just like to say how happy I am to see Brazil’s name on that card.

“Organising the World Cup is a huge task and we have far more responsibility weighing on our shoulders than when we arrived here. But we will organise a great World Cup and I am very happy.”

FIFA president Sepp Blatter said that although there was only one candidate, FIFA still had a tough task in awarding the finals to Brazil.

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“It was a real big challenge,” he said, “there were the same list of responsibilities and the same conditions that had to be met as if there had been more candidates.”

Brazil, who have won the World Cup a record five times and are the only country to have played in all 18 World Cup finals tournaments, last staged the event in 1950.

They become the first South American hosts since Argentina staged and won the 1978 World Cup finals.

Brazil were the only country nominated to bid for the World Cup by the South American confederation (CONMEBOL) whose turn it was to stage the finals after they were awarded to Europe (Germany) in 2006 and Africa (South Africa) in 2010.

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Eighteen cities have bid to stage matches, and, according to the FIFA inspection report published last week, it is envisaged that between eight to 10 cities will host games.

However, the report, while giving the bid its blessing, says that none of the stadiums are currently up to FIFA safety standards for staging World Cup matches.

That includes the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, which held a world crowd of 199,000 for the 1950 final.

Brazil were the only contenders because of FIFA’s policy of rotating World Cups through its six continental confederations, a strategy that was scrapped on Monday.

More than 160 Brazilian delegation members and media were in Zurich for Tuesday’s announcement including President Lula, Romario, a member of Brazil’s 1994 World Cup winning team, and Dunga, who captained the side in 1994 and is now the national coach.

Pele, however, who was in Brazil’s winning World Cup teams of 1958 and 1970, was not with the delegation. He has not endorsed Brazil’s World Cup hosting aspirations in the past.