A picture taken on June 11, 2014 in Sao Paulo shows a general view of the Arena Corinthians Stadium, on the eve of the opening match of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. AFP PHOTO FRANCOIS-XAVIER MARIT
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A four-week feast of football in the spiritual homeland of the sport gets under way in the seething mega-city of Sao Paulo, where host nation Brazil face Croatia at 5pm local time (2000 GMT).The start of the four-yearly extravaganza is the acid test for organisers and football's governing body FIFA, who have been scrambling to get Brazil ready for the biggest event in sport outside of the Olympics. In total eight workers have died while racing to complete World Cup-related projects.The 61,600-capacity arena is one of 12 World Cup stadiums that were due to be ready by the end of December. The estimated $11 billion Brazil is spending on the tournament has angered many in a country grappling with chronically under-funded health and public services, poor transport and violent crime.Brazil's leftist leader Dilma Rousseff has hit out at what she described as a "systematic campaign" against the tournament.Resentment at the vast amounts lavished on the tournament -- Brazil is believed to be the most expensive World Cup in history -- remains.Vicente del Bosque's side have dominated international football for the past six years, winning two consecutive European championships either side of their memorable triumph at the 2010 World Cup.
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