WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S.A. – São Paulo may become little more than an afterthought leading up to the 2014 World Cup.
The Brazilian city is in danger of not being able to host games for the 2013 Confederations Cup as stadium upgrades have yet to begin and are way behind schedule.
The venue, the home field for famous club team Corinthians, is unlikely to be completed in time to host the tune-up even for the World Cup the following year.
Brazilian Sports Minister Orlando Silva told reporters the stadium will be finished in time for soccer’s premier event, but could not guarantee the stadium in the country’s largest city would have the facility ready to host the Confederations Cup in 2013. Brazil is the defending champion.
The Confederations Cup also won’t be able to be played at the stadium that’s home to Palmeiras, which is Corinthians’ rival in São Paulo. Palmeiras’ stadium is undergoing renovations and won’t be ready in time, leading officials to seek alternative sites.
This is troubling news for São Paulo’s bid to host the opening match of the 2014 World Cup.
If the stadium is not completed in time for the Confederations Cup, it is doubtful FIFA would approve the venue for the opening ceremonies and first game of the competition.
Silva said he expected 70% of the stadium to be under construction by the end of 2011, but acknowledged FIFA and Brazilian officials were also looking at Brasilia, Belo Horizonte and Salvador as possible sites to kickoff World Cup 2014.
Colombia’s David Ferreira suffers devastating injury
The magnetic resonance image was twice as bad as David Ferreira had hoped.
Ferreira, Major League Soccer’s (MLS) reigning most valuable player, suffered a vicious slide tackle during FC Dallas’ 2-1 win over Vancouver on April 23 in British Colombia.
The midfielder was taken off the field on a stretcher, appearing to have severely sprained his right ankle.
But the news got worse at the hospital, as tests showed he broke two bones in his right ankle and will be out indefinitely.
“It’s always bad when a good player like David goes down because the whole team is wondering and worrying about what is going on,” Dallas midfielder Eric Avila told reporters after the game. “But the subs came in and did a great job.”
They will have to do even more to replace Ferreira, a 31-year-old native of Santa Marta, Colombia.
Ferreira has a team-high three goals and an assist for FC Dallas, which has two wins, three losses and a tie.
He was just as good last season when he had 10 goals and 16 assists as he guided the team to a record of 12-4-14 and a spot in the MLS Cup final.
The injury is especially shocking considering how durable Ferreira was last season.
He endured an MLS-leading 84 fouls last year, yet rarely came off the field.
This season, he was on pace to suffer even more fouls before the injury.
Lucas Nogueira declares for NBA Draft
Lucas Nogueira is 18.
But according to his friends and family, the 7-foot, 200-pound center who recently declared himself eligible for the National Basketball Association (NBA) Draft always has been a “Giant Baby.”
“He said that he’s always been much taller than the average, and people used to call him ‘Giant Baby (Bebe),’” said Nogueira’s translator at a recent media conference.
And NBA scouts are starting to see huge things for the “Bebe” from Rio de Janeiro, who announced he’s going to try to play in the world’s best basketball league. But first, Nogueira must get picked by one of the league’s 30 teams on June 23.
Nogueira burst onto the scene at the 2010 FIBA Americas tournament in San Antonio, Texas.
In his first game for Brazil against Puerto Rico, he nearly registered a triple-double with 20 points, 12 rebounds and eight blocks. Nogueira, who has a gigantic wingspan that stretches seven feet and six inches, is expected to be drafted in the final 15 picks of the first round.
The Portland Trail Blazers sent scouts to watch him last month in anticipation of a decision to turn pro.
Even if he is drafted, however, it is unlikely Nogueira would immediately play in the NBA. He is under contract with club team Estudiantes through 2014, meaning any team that selects him would either have to wait until his contract expires or buy out his current deal in order to bring him to the United States.
One thing teams don’t have to worry about, though, is Nogueira’s trading his sneakers for a pair of cleats.
“When he was playing soccer in Brazil against some main teams there like [Flamengo and Vasco], once the game was over he’d have some guy from the team come and talk to him,” his translator said at the media conference where Nogueira announced his decision to enter the draft. “And he always thought they were going to get him to play soccer there. But they’d say, ‘Listen, you’re too tall. You’ve got to play basketball.’”