on November 1, 2007 by in Uncategorized, Comments (0)

Pele hails 2014 World Cup decision

COLOGNE, Germany (Reuters) – Pele hailed the decision to award Brazil the 2014 World Cup as “fantastic” and said he hoped to avoid the same tearful end to the tournament as in 1950, the last time Brazil were hosts.

“This is fantastic, you know,” the Brazilian great told reporters at a trade fair in Cologne on Wednesday. “It’s fantastic because everyone knows Brazil is the culture of football.

“It will be the most important tournament if Brazil wins it.”

He added: “It’s very important for us, for Brazil.”

Brazil has staged the World Cup once before, in 1950, and the tournament ended badly for the hosts, as they were beaten 2-1 by Uruguay in the decisive match at the Maracana Stadium.

“In 1950 I was 10 years old,” Pele said on Wednesday. “I saw my father cry because Brazil, we lost to Uruguay. I hope we win the next one.”

Pele, arguably the game’s greatest player and a man who for many symbolizes Brazilian football, was absent from Zurich no Tuesday when FIFA confirmed the country as the 2014 hosts.

Instead, Brazilian Football Confederation president Ricardo Teixeira included former World Cup striker Romario and national team coach Dunga, captain of the victorious 1994 team, in the huge Brazilian delegation to Switzerland.

Pele refused to back Brazil’s bid for the 2006 World Cup, dealing the candidacy a fatal blow.

(Writing by Kevin Fylan in Berlin)