Brazil on song but worry over Julio Cesar

Last Updated: Thursday, June 3, 2010 - 09:06

Sao Paulo: Brazil gave a glimpse of the Latin American flair they will bring to the World Cup in South Africa with a 3-0 warm-up win over Zimbabwe, a victory tempered by an injury to goalkeeper Julio Cesar.

While Brazil enjoyed a rapturous reception at the 60,000 capacity national stadium in Zimbabwe`s capital Harare, FIFA president Sepp Blatter was attending the official handing-over of the showpiece Soccer City stadium near Soweto, venue for the World Cup`s opening match on June 11 and final on July 11.

Blatter marked the occasion by calling former South Africa president Nelson Mandela "the most charismatic humanist alive".

The Swiss head of soccer`s governing body also described the 90,000-capacity stadium as a magnificent flagship for Africa.

Mandela, 91 is expected to be among the VIPs at the opening match between South Africa and Mexico although ill-health could prevent him from attending.

"The right legacy for this event will be `let`s celebrate Africa`s humanity`," Blatter said.

"Let`s celebrate the most charismatic humanist alive -- Nelson Mandela. We do hope Nelson Mandela will be here at the beginning of the World Cup in this stadium. This will be the highlight."

Bureau Report

First Published: Thursday, June 3, 2010 - 09:06

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