World Cup Daily: Wednesday
Tomorrow, the world's eyes will turn to Brazil for the start of the 20th FIFA World Cup. See what's cooking ahead of the biggest tournament in football.
Dilma Rousseff, the president of Brazil, has urged the country's public to support the World Cup after a string of protests against the staging of the tournament. "I'm certain that, in the 12 host cities, visitors are going to mix with a happy, generous and hospitable people and be impressed by a nation full of natural beauty and which fights each day to become more equal," the president said. Read more
Italy coach Cesare Prandelli and his players appear to have won over their domestic critics, with a poll revealing that almost one in three Italians now see the Squadra Azzurra as potential World Cup winners. The survey, carried out by La Gazzetta dello Sport, reveals that only Brazil -- with 36 percent of the vote -- are backed more than Italy, who have 29 percent. Read more
Diego Costa says he is now fully-fit and ready to start in Spain's World Cup opener against Netherlands on Friday. "I needed the game against El Salvador," Costa said. "Before I felt good and then I had the problem again. Now I am fine, fully-fit and there will be no problem for the first game." Read more
PLUS: This World Cup has parallels with that of Diego Maradona in 1986, Miguel Delaney tells us why it's Messi's time to shine. Read
INTERNATIONAL BIRTHDAYS: Jens Martin Knudsen (1967), Wagner Love (1984), Mano Menezes (1962)
DID YOU KNOW?
On this day in 2010, the opening match in the first World Cup finals held in Africa began. South Africa were playing Mexico in front of 84,490 people at the Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg and it ended 1-1. Meanwhile, South Africa's coach Carlos Alberto Parreira was taking charge of a team in a record sixth World Cup finals tournament. He started in 1982, including a match against England, and won the trophy with Brazil in 1994 -- Cris Freddi.
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