Brazil to host 2014 finals

ZURICH - Brazil, the only bidding country, were named as the host nation of the 2014 World Cup finals by Fifa, world soccer's governing body.

They become the fifth country to host two World Cups after Mexico (1970 and 1986), France (1938 and 1998), Germany (1974 and 2006) and Italy (1934 and 1990).

Brazil, who have won the World Cup a record five times and are the only country to have played in all 18 World Cup finals tournaments, last staged the event in 1950.

They become the first South American hosts since Argentina staged and won the 1978 World Cup finals.

Brazil were the only country nominated to bid for the World Cup by the South American Confederation (Conmebol), whose turn it was to stage the finals after they were awarded to Europe (Germany) in 2006 and Africa (South Africa) in 2010.

Eighteen cities have bid to stage matches, and, according to the Fifa inspection report published last week, it is envisaged that between eight to 10 cities will host games.

However, the report, while giving the bid its blessing, says that none of the stadiums are currently up to Fifa safety standards to stage World Cup matches.

That includes the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, which held a world crowd of 199000 for the 1950 finals.

Brazil were the only contenders because of Fifa's policy of rotating World Cups through its six continental confederations, a strategy that was scrapped last week.

More than 160 Brazilian delegation members and media were in Zurich for Tuesday's announcement, including President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Romario, a member of Brazil's 1994 World Cup-winning team, and Dunga, who captained the side in 1994 and is now the national coach.

Pele, however, was not with the delegation. - Reuters