KEIR RADNEDGE in SAO PAULO: Alcides Ghiggia, whose winning goal for Uruguay in 1950 shocked the entire Brazilian nation, will be present at the Opening Match after all.
Yesterday Ghiggia, the last surviving player from the final match at the 1950 World Cup in Brazil, had complained that he had been snubbed by local organisers.
However a FIFA spokesmen confirmed this morning that an embarrassing wrong had been righted and that arrangements had been made for Ghiggia to attend the match with a companion.
Other guests at the match include United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon as well as various heads of state.
Leaders of Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador and Paraguay are being hosted at a pre-match lunch by Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff.
She had already undertaken an early-day meeting with Michelle Bachelet, the newly-elected Chilean President.
Bachelet told Rousseff that she considered the Brazilian hosting of the finals as a “World Cup for Latin America.”
Other VIP guests include past Brazilian World Cup winners including Carlos Alberto Torres (1970), Amarildo (1962) and Bebeto (1994) as well as former FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year Marta.
One notable absentee is Mario Zagallo, a winner as a player in 1958 and 1962 and then as manager in 1970. He is recovering from illness and had sent a message saying he preferred to regain his health in the hope of seeing Brazil play in the final.
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