Blatter lauds Brazilian efforts
Sao Paulo - FIFA president Sepp Blatter on Saturday used his address ahead of the 2013 Confederations Cup draw to laud Brazil for its efforts to get ready for the event which will serve as a dry run for the 2014 World Cup.
The eight-nation event in Brazil next June brings together four former world champions in reigning top-ranked side Spain, the Brazilians themselves, Italy and Uruguay and will be played in six venues with 12 selected for the World Cup itself, leaving Brazil with a mammoth task to get its infrastructure ready.
Although FIFA has at times been critical of the country's efforts, in recent months the game's world body has been more conciliatory and Blatter, noting the country last staged a World Cup in 1950, struck a positive tone.
"A lot has changed in this country since 1950," said Blatter, noting that "it is a question of trust and confidence" to hand organisation of a major event to a country.
"Now, Brazil has developed - not only in their culture but also in their economy. We are very happy to be in a country which is the sixth (biggest) economy in the world."
And he assured listening Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff that "FIFA is behind you."
He thanked the government for its efforts and told Rousseff: "I am sure you will deliver a wonderful competition - the Confederations Cup first, for the game, for the world, for Brazil."
Blatter added that the tournaments would act as a "solidarity project" while using "positive emotions connecting people".
Rousseff responded by saying Brazil would seek to win on the pitch and off.
"Winning is a mission in itself - but we also must win beyond the stadiums by putting the organisation in place. The venues will be ready," she insisted.
"We are certain that we have prepared things properly in order to hold an outstanding sports event and in June 2013 we will show we are in a position to hold the upcoming World Cup.
"We will make the World Cup the most organised and most joyful," added Rousseff.
The full draw for the June 15-June 30 Confederations Cup made in Sao Paulo on Saturday:
Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Italy
Spain, Uruguay, Tahiti, African champions (TBA after Jan 19-Feb 10 Africa Cup of Nations)