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FIFA 2014 World Cup kicks off in Brazil

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A view of the Itaquerao Stadium in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo.

Football fever grips the fans as the World Cup starts in Brazil while police in Sao Paulo clashed with protesters opposing the tournament.

On Thursday, the Itaquerao Stadium shined under blue skies as Brazil kicked off its home World Cup with a football-style carnival.

Some fans reportedly chanted slogans against Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and soccer’s governing body, the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA).

Many Brazilians have complained that spending on the World Cup has diverted cash from the poor and infrastructure improvements.

Meanwhile, opponents of the World Cup have held a new protest rally in Brazil.

Clashes between police and demonstrators are going on. Brazilian police arrested several people after firing tear gas to disperse a crowd of demonstrators in eastern Sao Paulo.

The protests came hours before Brazil’s match against Croatia as the first match of the month-long soccer tournament.

Opponents of the World Cup say the Brazilian government has thrown money at the event while people are grappling with a host of economic issues.

Brazil has seen almost daily protests over the multi-billion dollar costs of hosting the football tournament. Critics say the USD 11 billion being spent on the international sports event should have been invested in better health, education services, transportation, and housing for Brazilians.

A rising rate of inflation and a sluggish economy have tarnished the World Cup glow in Brazil, which is the biggest country with the largest economy in Latin America.


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