News / Americas

World Cup Warm-up Tournament Underway in Brazil

Tahiti's goalkeeper Mikael Roche celebrates during Confederations Cup soccer match in Rio de Janeiro, June 20, 2013
Tahiti's goalkeeper Mikael Roche celebrates during Confederations Cup soccer match in Rio de Janeiro, June 20, 2013
Mike Richman
All eyes in the football world are on Brazil, where eight countries are now competing in the Confederations Cup, a warm-up for next year's much-anticipated World Cup in Brazil.

The consensus Confederations Cup favorites are Brazil, winner of two straight championships, and Spain, the defending World Cup champion.  The other countries in the Confederations Cup, which will conclude at the end of this month, are Japan, Mexico, Italy, Tahiti, Nigeria and Uruguay.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter called the Confederations Cup the "tournament of the champions."

“It is really the champions cup because the champions of all continents are there," Blatter said.  "It will be a great, great tournament on the sporting point of view.  But for us it’s also important to have a look on the organization because there will be a lot of interest also from the international media, but also from our organizing committee, and I would say also Brazil, but it's also a very good rehearsal for us.”

Brazil's Paulinho (2nd R) celebrates with his teammates after scoring a goal during their Confederations Cup Group A soccer match against Japan at Estadio Nacional in Brasilia, June 15, 2013.Brazil's Paulinho (2nd R) celebrates with his teammates after scoring a goal during their Confederations Cup Group A soccer match against Japan at Estadio Nacional in Brasilia, June 15, 2013.
x
Brazil's Paulinho (2nd R) celebrates with his teammates after scoring a goal during their Confederations Cup Group A soccer match against Japan at Estadio Nacional in Brasilia, June 15, 2013.
Brazil's Paulinho (2nd R) celebrates with his teammates after scoring a goal during their Confederations Cup Group A soccer match against Japan at Estadio Nacional in Brasilia, June 15, 2013.
The Confederations Cup kicked off last week, with Brazil beating Japan, 3-0 at Mané Garrincha Stadium in Brasilia.

Brazil and Japan already are assured of a place in the World Cup.  Brazil gets an automatic spot because it is the host country, and Japan has qualified from the Asian zone, as have Australia, Iran and South Korea.

To Blatter, it is fitting that Brazil is hosting the Confederations Cup and the World Cup.  Football in Brazil is played perhaps with more passion and art than anywhere else.

“It is a multi-cultural country [that] will connect all the people, and in football there is no difference, no social level," Blatter said.  "Everybody is a fan of football, everybody knows best of the game.  They are the best players, they are the best coaches and the best referees.”

Blatter also gushed over Brazil’s burgeoning economy.
 
“It’s like a continent, 200 million people, it’s the sixth [largest] world economy, important economy," he said.  "They are part of this famous, famous group of the upcoming economies, BRICS it's called, Brazil and the others, South Africa is also in, where we have played the World Cup.  So Brazil is a powerhouse, not only a powerhouse in football, it’s a powerhouse in economy.”

The Confederations Cup is being played in six Brazilian cities, and Blatter is hoping to see a strong show of sportsmanship.

“Play fair with respect and please, please don’t give us problems with racism or discrimination," Blatter said.  "Let’s show the world through the World Cup qualification now that really, really in football we are on the right track, and we can show the world there can be a very high level competition, very tough competition, but in the spirit of fair play.”

Dissension, however, has surfaced off the field.  In protests that have spread across Brazil in the past week, demonstrators are voicing anger at the government, in part, for investing billions of dollars in stadiums and other projects for the Confederations Cup, the World Cup and the 2016 Olympics, which are also in Brazil.

The Confederations Cup continues through the championship match in Rio de Janeiro on June 30.

You May Like

Photogallery US Nurse ‘Cured of Ebola,’ NIH Says

Nina Pham, Texas nurse who treated first Ebola patient in US, received no experimental drugs; WHO expects vaccine surge in 2015 More

Video Islamic State Militants Encroach on Baghdad

Iraqi capital not under ‘imminent threat,’ US military says, amid worries about foothold More

Video Hong Kong Protesters Focus on Holding Volatile Mong Kok

Activists say holding Mong Kok is key to their movement's success, despite confrontations with angry residents and police More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Brazilians Set to Choose New President

President Dilma Rousseff and Senator Aecio Neves face each other in weekend runoff
More

FARC Rebel Gets 27 Years in US Prison for Hostage-Taking

Alexander Beltran Herrera responsible for kidnapping three Americans whose plane crash-landed in Colombia
More

Canadian Shooter's Mother ‘Mad’ at Son

Michael Zehaf-Bibeau's mother, Susan told the Associated Press part of her 'wants to hate' her estranged son, who killed a soldier in Ottawa
More

Canadian Couple Accused of Spying in China Held in Near Isolation

Treatment of the couple, who are being held without charge at a remote facility in the border city of Dandong, has seriously strained China's ties with Canada
More

Mexico Governor Resigns After Student Disappearances

Students from a rural teachers training college went missing after a confrontation with police in the town of Iguala on September 26
More

World's Highest Ice Age Settlements Discovered

The settlements, 4.5 km above sea level in the southern Peruvian Andes, were inhabited at least 12,000 years ago
More