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2014 World Cup Lauded as 'Best On Field'

  • French fans in full regalia before the game against Nigeria, at the national stadium in Brasilia, June 30, 2014.
  • French player Raphael Varane rests on the net after an injury during the match against Nigeria, at the national stadium in Brasilia, June 30, 2014.
  • Nigerian goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama denies France a goal, at the national stadium in Brasilia, June 30, 2014.
  • Nigerian goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama appears to defy gravity in the net for Nigeria, at the Brasilia national stadium in Brasilia, June 30, 2014.
  • Nigerian Joseph Yobo puts the ball past his own goalkeeper, Vincent Enyeama while French player Antoine Griezmann watches, at the national stadium, in Brasilia, June 30, 2014.
  • Paul Pogba, playing for France, heads the ball into the net at the national stadium in Brasilia, June 30, 2014.
  • An Algerian fan smiles for the camera before the match between Germany and Algeria, at the Beira Rio stadium, in Porto Alegre, June 30, 2014.
  • Algerian goalkeeper Rais Mbolhi taps the ball away during the game between Germany and Algeria, at the Beira Rio stadium, in Porto Alegre, June 30, 2014.
  • German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer cradles a save during their game against Algeria, at the Beira Rio stadium, in Porto Alegre, June 30, 2014.
  • German Mesut Ozil scores in extra time against Algeria, at the Beira Rio stadium, in Porto Alegre, June 30, 2014.
  • German Andre Schuerrle scores past Algerian goalkeeper Rais Mbolhi in extra time at the Beira Rio stadium, in Porto Alegre, June 30, 2014.
  • German fans celebrate their victory during a broadcast at Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, June 30, 2014.
Reuters

Brazil 2014 may have had organizational glitches, but it is shaping up to be the best on-field World Cup thanks to the exciting soccer being played, FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke said on Tuesday.

"I think it is the best World Cup in terms of the soccer," Valcke said in an interview with Globo television's SporTV cable channel. "It's the World Cup with the most number of goals since 1982."

Even before the 32-nation tournament enters the quarter-final phase this week, more goals have been scored than at the previous World Cup in South Africa in 2010.
 

FILE - FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke.FILE - FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke.
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FILE - FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke.
FILE - FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke.

Valcke, who complained in 2012 that Brazil needed a "kick up the backside" to speed up preparations of the stadiums, said the World Cup in Brazil has exceeded FIFA's expectations.

"We had some small problems off the soccer fields, nothing major. We saw some things that were unfinished, but in the final analysis expectations were surpassed," he said.

Valcke did not say whether FIFA has joined a match-fixing investigation instigated by the Cameroon federation after it said on Monday it would look at claims of corruption in their Group A games, especially the 4-0 defeat by Croatia.

Instead, he said the world governing body was concerned with illegal betting in soccer at all levels.

"This exists and it is something we will not be able to eliminate 100 percent," he added.

"What we can do is control legal betting, but it is very difficult to fight what is done under the carpet."

Organizers had been concerned anti-World Cup demonstrations by Brazilians angered at the cost of hosting the event would disrupt the games though they have proven unfounded.

Some incidents have worried organizers, such as Chilean fans storming into Rio's Maracana without tickets, while there were clashes between Argentina and Brazil fans in Belo Horizonte.

Valcke said security has been reinforced, particularly with a view to a possible final between the two South American rivals.

One further pleasing aspect, Valcke said, was the record audiences the games have generated in the United States, even though Juergen Klinsmann's team were knocked out in the second round by Belgium on Tuesday.

 

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