2014-06-11 06:01 AM
SAO PAULO (AP) -- FIFA President Sepp Blatter predicted Tuesday that the World Cup will be "a great event" for Brazil which can unite the world.
"What is uniting us today and tomorrow and in the next month is the love of this beautiful game," Blatter said, addressing guests and football leaders to open FIFA's annual congress.
"They (fans) want to be here, they want to live this fiesta," the FIFA boss said.
Blatter did not mention Brazil's difficulties preparing for the tournament at a cost of more than $11 billion which has roused widespread public anger.
Brazil state president Dilma Rousseff missed Tuesday's ceremonial event but plans to attend the opening Brazil-Croatia match in Sao Paulo on Thursday.
Linking himself to Rousseff, Blatter said: "Together we have said this World Cup shall be a great event, not only for Brazil but for the world."
Brazil sports minister Aldo Rebelo said the country offered "modern and functional facilities."
"We have worked hard for the cup and we hope to win it," Rebelo said through a translator. "Even though (football) was invented by another people, it has acquired the state of art in Brazil."
On a difficult day for Blatter, he faced his so-called "football family" hours after European officials urged him not to seek re-election.
UEFA board members told Blatter he should take responsibility for scandals and negative headlines damaging FIFA and world football, and leave office next year.
Blatter insisted "we are in a festive mood," and that "discussions" could wait for Wednesday's formal business.
"We will discuss it tomorrow and, if there are any problems, perhaps we can solve them tonight," said Blatter, who will seek support from the 209 member countries to be a candidate in the presidential contest next May.