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Brazil to host 2014 World Cup

  • Story Highlights
  • Five-time winner Brazil will host 2014 World Cup football finals
  • Brazil only candidate after Colombia pulled out in April
  • Announcement made by FIFA president Sepp Blatter in Zurich
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ZURICH, Switzerland -- Brazil has been awarded the 2014 World Cup finals, FIFA president Sepp Blatter announced Tuesday.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter makes the announcement that Brazil will host the 2014 World Cup finals.

Blatter said Brazil now has "not only the right, but the responsibility to organize FIFA's World Cup 2014."

Blatter then handed the World Cup trophy to Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who flew in for the announcement.

"Soccer is not only a sport for us," Lula said. "It's more than that: Soccer for us is a passion, a national passion."

He promised Brazil "will now, with great pride, do its homework." And, he added, "if everything works out well, we will win once again a World Cup."

Brazil was the only candidate to pitch to host football's global showpiece after South American rivals Colombia pulled out of the running in April.

However, Brazil had been told by FIFA it wasn't guaranteed the tournament simply because it was the only candidate, saying it had to provide a solid bid package.

Blatter said the lack of competition from other South American nations was one reason behind FIFA's decision Monday to do away with the rotation system that gave each continent a turn at hosting the World Cup. The decision takes effect with the 2018 tournament.

"We are a civilized nation, a nation that is going through an excellent phase, and we have got everything prepared to receive adequately the honor to organize an excellent World Cup," Brazilian Football Confederation president Ricardo Teixeira said.

Brazilian Sports Minister Orlando Silva, national team coach Dunga, veteran striker Romario and renowned author Paulo Coelho were among those making the trip to Zurich -- and the final decision was made by FIFA's executive committee after a 30-minute presentation.

"Of course, dreams demand hard work and we Brazilians are ready to face this task," Coelho said. "All the countries in the world have two teams -- the national squad and the Brazilian squad."

Brazil hosted the World Cup once before, 57 years ago. Since launching its bid for 2014, Brazil has emphasized why the country needs the World Cup, much more than what it has to offer the tournament.

"Over the next few years we will have a consistent influx of investments. The 2014 World Cup will enable Brazil to have a modern infrastructure," Teixeira said. "In social terms will be very beneficial."

"Our objective is to make Brazil become more visible in global arenas," he added. "The World Cup goes far beyond a mere sporting event. It's going to be an interesting tool to promote social transformation."

Tuesday's presentation was smoother than the one in July, which underlined Brazil's status as a developing nation with repeated images of its car factories and dry statistics.

Blatter had recently questioned Brazil's infrastructure and bid plans, but FIFA said last week that a stadium-inspection trip in August showed the country could put on "an exceptional" tournament.

However, there have been delays in hosting some major events, problems with violence in the streets and the public transportation system in the country is often overloaded.

The Brazilian soccer confederation estimates that the construction and remodeling of stadiums will require an investment of $1.1 billion, though that could vary significantly depending on the cities chosen to host games.

Brazil is home to 10 of the world's largest football stadiums, including the famous Maracana where more than 200,000 fans saw the home side lose 2-1 to Uruguay in the 1950 World Cup final.

Renovations have since reduced its capacity to 95,000 seats, with thousands more standing. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

Copyright 2007 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report.

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