As World Cup 2014 host, Brazil faces many obstacles

If enthusiasm alone could add up to a successful World Cup, then Brazil — host of the 2014 soccer extravaganza — is already a winner.

But holding a World Cup spread out over 12 cities in a continent-sized country will be anything but easy with challenges that include renovating and building stadiums, adhering to World Cup standards and making sure airports around the country are ready to handle the volume of fans, athletes and officials expected for the Copa Mundial.

Some host cities, such as Manaus in the Amazon, have a serious shortage of hotel rooms.

It will be the first World Cup held in Brazil since 1950 and the first in South America since Argentina hosted the event in 1978. In the intervening years, the scope of the event has changed tremendously.

"We are going to hold an unforgettable World Cup," Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva pledged before leaving the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. "We are passionate about sport and passionate about football, because we are people who are passionate about life."

Brazil Sports Minister Orlando Silva says about 600,000 international visitors and another three million Brazilians are expected to travel to attend World Cup events and will use 16 airports.

The plan is for $18 billion to be invested in infrastructure to handle World Cup events with about 68 percent of that money coming from the Brazilian government.

Jerome Valcke, secretary general of ruling body FIFA, gave Brazil a public scolding this spring about its lack of progress on World Cup preparations.

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