Rousseff Taunted at World Cup Opener as Brazil Defeats Croatia

Soccer fans taunted Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff as she watched the national team beat Croatia in the opening match of the World Cup in Sao Paulo.

Spectators at the Arena Corinthians stadium jeered the president several times this evening, repeating expletive chants with her name before the opening whistle and after the final one. Cheers provoked by a home team goal turned into boos when the stadium monitor showed Rousseff celebrating.

Sitting alongside FIFA head Sepp Blatter, Rousseff didn’t make an opening statement before the game that Brazil won 3-1. The two were booed before the start of last year’s Confederations Cup, which was played against the backdrop of Brazil’s biggest protests in a generation.

Cheers and jeers on the first day of the tournament reflect the mixed feelings that many Brazilians have toward holding the World Cup, preparations for which were marked by delays and cost overruns. Polls show Rousseff losing support for re-election in October as the $11 billion spent to host the games fail to prevent the economy from slowing.

Brazilians marched in several cities today, at times clashing with security forces. Masked protesters vandalized a bank in the southern city of Porto Alegre and others toppled a police cruiser in Minas Gerais state capital Belo Horizonte, according to images aired on TV Globo.

Dozens marched on Avenue Atlantica alongside Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro as fans nearby on the sand watched the game on a cinema-size screen set up by FIFA.

Voter support for Rousseff fell to 34 percent in June from 37 percent in May, according to a Datafolha poll that pitted her against other potential candidates. The June 3-5 poll published on Folha de Sao Paulo’s website has a margin of error of 2 percentage points.

The same poll shows former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva winning 44 percent of the vote if he replaces Rousseff on the ticket. Lula, a member of Rousseff’s Workers’ Party, in 2007 was jeered in Rio during the Pan American Games.