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Brazil hopes for smooth opener as tournament finally kicks off

Clashes reported hours before opening game

Published Thu, Jun 12, 2014 · 10:00 PM
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[SAO PAULO] After years of construction delays and budget overruns, the World Cup was set to kick off in Brazil this morning under a cloud of discontent at home even as happy foreign fans pour in for the tournament.

Brazil's national team were to host Croatia in the opening match at a newly built stadium in Sao Paulo whose cost and late delivery came to embody the troubled World Cup preparations.

Brazil is seen by many fans around the world as the spiritual home of soccer and hundreds of thousands will descend on the country for the month-long tournament, but until now the enthusiasm among Brazilians has been muted.

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