Brazil president defends World Cup costs

The country's leader has reacted to recent anti-government protests and has stressed that hosting the World Cup will not harm education and health programs
Brazil president Dilma Rousseff has insisted that the costs for the 2014 World Cup do not come out of the taxpayers' money as she has made it clear next year's tournament is financed by companies making use of the stadiums.

The South American country has been rocked by anti-government protests during the Confederations Cup, but Rousseff has little doubt that Brazil will do a fine job hosting the World Cup.

"We can do many things a lot better in Brazil and people have a right to criticise," Rousseff said on national television.

"However, I would never allow this money to come out of the taxpayers' money, harming essential areas such as health and education. The World Cup will be financed by companies that are making use of the sporting arenas.

"We will treat our guests with respect and make a great World Cup. Football and sport are symbols of peace and peaceful coexistence.

"We need to inject oxygen into our political system, and make it more transparent and resistant to the tough challenges facing a country marked by extreme disparity between rich and poor."

More than 1,000,000 people marched against the government in major cities throughout the country on Thursday, leading to speculation that Fifa could opt to cancel the Confederations Cup due to safety concerns, though the world football's governing body released on a statement on Friday insisting that the tournament would not be called off.

Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni, speaking ahead of his side's final match of the tournament on Saturday against Mexico, criticised the government for neglecting to listen to its citizens.

"The entire Japan national team, myself included, are disappointed that such tension exists [in Brazil]. This state of affairs has come because the people are unhappy with the status quo," he told reporters.

"That dissatisfaction happens in any society, but it's the responsibility of the decision-makers in power to resolve these issues and restore social equilibrium.

"The world has a good impression of Brazil, and I've seen the beauty of the country during this tournament. I do hope that the situation improves."