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Fans on field, sound system issues at WCup test

AP - Sports

SAO PAULO (AP) -- Fans on the field and no sound for the national anthem marked the first major test event at a Brazil World Cup stadium.

World Cup organizers said they are satisfied with the handling of 40,000 fans for the Brazilian Cup match between Vasco da Gama and Resende at the stadium in Manaus on Thursday. But they admit some issues need addressing before the World Cup match between England and Italy on June 14.

The nearly 600 stewards couldn't keep some fans from entering the field after the 0-0 draw between the Rio de Janeiro clubs. Before kickoff, players lined up for the national anthem but the sound system failed and nothing was heard. Fans had problems entering the Arena da Amazonia, and communications inside the stadium didn't work properly, according to organizers.

''This was the first official test event, we didn't expect everything to be perfect,'' said Tiago Paes, one of the officials in charge of operations at the World Cup organizing committee. ''In general, we were very satisfied with the results in Manaus.''

The Arena da Amazonia was officially inaugurated on March 9, when only 20,000 fans were allowed in the 44,000-capacity stadium because of security reasons. At the time, fans reported unfinished work at the venue, which was one of six not completed by the end of last year as directed by FIFA.

Fans ran on the field after the final whistle, when at least three Vasco da Gama fans got past stewards to try to get near the players. They did not make any threats, but organizers admitted they were not supposed to get that close.

''We will analyze the images of the invasion to find out what went wrong and who was not paying attention at the time,'' Paes said. ''This will not happen in World Cup matches.''

Construction at the Arena da Amazonia was marked by three workers' deaths. In addition to the high-profile match between England and Italy, the stadium will host Cameroon-Croatia, United States-Portugal and Switzerland-Honduras.

''Our challenge now is to make sure we can keep improving in all operational areas,'' said Miguel Capobiango, one of the officials in charge of World Cup preparations in Manaus.

Three of the 12 World Cup stadiums have yet to be inaugurated, including the one hosting the opener on June 12 in Sao Paulo. Work in part of that stadium has been stopped since Monday because of a worker's death over the weekend.

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