Cape Town - Less than 48 hours before the month-long soccer World Cup kicks off in Brazil, President Dilma Rousseff defended the cost of hosting the tournament, vowed to punish corruption and urged her compatriots to give visiting fans a warm welcome.
Brazil President Dilma Rousseff (AP)
Earlier on Tuesday, officials at FIFA, soccer's governing body, sought to deflect criticism that the organisation was making huge profits at the expense of Brazilian taxpayers.
Because of the cloud of corruption that often hangs over Fifa, and a long history of graft in Brazil itself, many Brazilians assume that the high costs of the tournament, and the delays and unfulfilled promises, are the result of wrongdoing.
Rousseff said the country is auditing all of the spending and promised to punish any corruption. "If any irregularities are proven," she said, "those responsible will be punished."
Reminding Brazilians of the country's success on the soccer pitch, and the warm welcome its national team has received elsewhere, Rousseff urged her compatriots to be hospitable to foreign fans. "Let's return the generosity," she said.