BRASILIA, Brazil, June 11 (UPI) -- Although many disagree, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said in a televised address her country is ready to host the World Cup soccer tournament.
The World Cup, a global sporting extravaganza that will be contested in 12 cities in Brazil, will begin Thursday and conclude July 13.
Rousseff said pessimistic views of the event were overcome by Brazilian determination, adding the tournament would leave lasting infrastructure. She called accusations the $11 billion spent thus far on the World Cup could better have been spent on education and other social investments.
The country has experienced over a year or protests and demonstrations against overspending on the event, and strike threats by transportation workers in Sao Paolo, where the World Cup's first match will be played, are disrupting Brazil's enthusiasm. A five-day work stoppage last week caused widespread commuter chaos before it was suspended Monday.
Rousseff said any demonstrations would not impact on the soccer matches, noting thousands of police and military officials would be deployed to safeguard a smooth start to the events.