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Opinion
Mohamed A. El-Erian

Brazil's World Cup Trouble

Brazil's World Cup difficulties are strikingly similar to those holding back the country's entire economy.
Brazil still has a long way to go.                                                      Photographer: Paulo Fridman/Bloomberg
Brazil still has a long way to go.                                                      Photographer: Paulo Fridman/Bloomberg

Brazil is racing furiously against time to deliver a World Cup tournament commensurate with its global standing as a leader in the planet's most popular sport. The challenges it faces in doing so are strikingly similar to those that are holding back the country's entire economy.

In 2007, Brazil prevailed with flair over other Latin American countries in its bid to host the 2014 World Cup. Pride and jubilation extended well beyond the soccer-crazy nation of 200 million. What could be better than holding the tournament in the country that produced Pele, Kaka, Ronaldinho and Ronaldo? Brazil has qualified for every World Cup ever held and won five times -- the only country ever to do so on both counts.