FIFA supremo Sepp Blatter claims the 2014 World Cup in Brazil will be the best incarnation of the tournament to date, despite preparations for the showpiece event being beset by controversy.
Two people lost their lives in late November when a crane collapsed into the Arena do Sao Paulo, while a worker at the Arena Amazonia in Manaus fell to his death from the stadium roof.
Additionally, the stadia in Coritiba, Sao Paulo and Cuiaba are not expected to be handed over to FIFA until mid-April - only six weeks before the tournament is due to start.
Blatter previously slammed the South American country for their slow progress, but the governing body president is still sure that the event will be an unrivalled success.
"Despite all the criticism, it will be the best ever World Cup," the 77-year-old told FIFA.com. "The rhythm of the football is different, the competition is different. We have 32 teams now and back then [at the 1950 World Cup in Brazil] there wasn't even 16.
"We have had competitions such as the one in Italy [in 1990] where they hadn't finished putting in seats the day before the first match, but here we will be ready.
"I am sure that in March all of the stadiums will be completed and we will have enough time to do some rehearsals and I'm sure these modern stadia will respond to the expectations of the spectators and the players."
- Sports & Recreation
- Sepp Blatter
- 2014 World Cup in Brazil