By Gregory Scruggs, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – With the release of the 2014 World Cup group stage and elimination round schedules, Cariocas discovered that their beloved national team will only play in Rio if they reach the final, to be held on July 13, 2014 at Maracanã Stadium. Classified as the top seed in Group A – as the host, Brazil has a guaranteed bid, but all other teams are to be determined – the national squad will open the Cup in São Paulo on June 12, 2014, then go on to Fortaleza and Brasília.
In turn, depending on Brazil’s performance in the group stage, Belo Horizonte, São Paulo, Fortaleza, and Salvador all have the chance of hosting the home country. However, they will have to be one of only two teams left from the original 32 in order to actually play in Rio, which is likely to be their training headquarters.
The perceived snub by FIFA has irritated many soccer powers-that-be, such as Carlos Alberto Torres, captain of the 1970 squad that won Brazil’s third Cup.
“It can only be political,” Torres said, “I couldn’t tell you what the argument was about, nor whom it was between. But that’s the only explanation possible. A place like Rio de Janeiro deserve at least one game by the national team. I am certain that something is wrong here.”
By was of comparison, in the last World Cup held in Brazil, in 1950, Rio played five of its six games at Maracanã, including the infamous loss to Uruguay in the final, and only one in São Paulo’s Pacaembu.
Read more (Portuguese).
* The Rio Times Daily Update is a new feature we are offering to help keep you up-to-date with major news as it happens.