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Australian bookmaker floats 151-foot Christ the Redeemer hot air balloon wearing World Cup shirt over Melbourne

Brooks Peck
Dirty Tackle
In this photo provided sportsbet.com.au, a hot air balloon in the likeness of Brazil's Christ The Redeemer statute, wearing the colors of Australia's soccer team floats over the Melbourne skyline Tuesday, June 10, 2014. Australia will begin their 2014 soccer World Cup campaign with a match against Chile Saturday, in Cuiaba
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(AP Photo/sportsbet.com.au, Dave Callow)

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Australia will face a difficult World Cup group stage with matches against three very talented sides in Spain, the Netherlands and Chile. So in an attempt to boost the nation's spirits (and get some valuable World Cup publicity), an Australian sportsbook sent a hot-air balloon that looks like Brazil's Christ the Redeemer statue into the skies above Melbourne.

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(Getty)

(Getty)

The 151-foot Jesus balloon wore an Australia shirt with the words "#KeepTheFaith" on the back. And according to ABC News, it has "outraged some politicians and business executives." Of course.

Rev Costello, the chair of the Australian Churches Gambling Taskforce, told Yahoo! Australia that the stunt was an overreach and against the principles Jesus stood.

"One of the great statues in Rio is Jesus, and Brazil is a Catholic nation that takes its faith seriously and its football fanatically," Costello said.

"You don't exploit those things that are sacred to people simply for your own advertising reach and I think that soccer as a world game should be sensitive to that and certainly express their disdain for these types of advertisements."

The bookies in Australia aren't the only ones getting attention for their World Cup advertising methods, though. When Paddy Power shared an aerial image of the letters "C'mon England PP" cut into a large section of the Amazon rainforest, the backlash was understandably quick and fierce. But before things went too far, the company revealed that the picture was only the result of "computer wizardry."

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(Paddy Power)

(Paddy Power)

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Brooks Peck is the editor of Dirty Tackle on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him or follow on Twitter!

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