RIO DE JANEIRO: Brazil’s Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo has criticised hisf fellow countrymen for their doubts about the organisation and likely success of next year’s World Cup finals writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

Rebelo said he regretted a negative national trait which under-valued Brazil’s potential, adding: “Everyone needs to realise the remarkable opportunity and everything I have seen so far tells me that we can not only accomplish the work but to do to everyone’s satisfaction.”

The Brazilian organisers are concerned, after recent riots, that the finals will be marred and disrupted by a repetition of the street protests which marked the warm-up Confederations Cup in June.

Ronaldo, a member of the local oragnising committee, echoed Rebelo’s words, saying:  “It logical that people would a spending focus on education, health and safety , but they also want to see the World Cup . It’s delicate, with people out on the streets demanding more rights  but it is important to realise that the finals are bringing many benefits.”

Valcke visits

Jerome Valcke, world federation FIFA’s secretary-general, was back in Brazil last week to assess progress on the stadia at Porto Alegre  and Cuiabá.

Valcke reflected with satisfaction on an initial 6.2m requests for tickets and on interest perceived in the fan fests. The next time he will be back in Brazil will be for the finals draw in Costa do Sauipe, Bahia, in early December.

Assisting Valcke at the draw will be former World Cup-winners such as England’s Sir Geoff Hurst, Argentina’s Mario Kempes, Germany’s Lothar Matthäus. Brazil’s own Cafu, Italy’s Fabio Cannavaro, Spain’s Fernando Hierro as well as Alcides Ghiggia . . . who scored the goal with which Uruguay defeated Brazil in the 1950 World Cup in Maracana.