There was a united front on show at Stamford Bridge this week and for once John Terry was nowhere to be seen. At least in public it was a united front – sitting side by side at the Leaders in Football conference, faces stretched by determined smiles of reassurance, were the organisers of Brazil's World Cup and senior Fifa figures. "Will Brazil be ready?" said Thierry Weil, Fifa's marketing director. "Yes, they will be ready." It was not possible to see if his fingers were crossed.
Sitting alongside Weil, Ronaldo nodded. Now a member of the organising committee, the former Brazil striker urged the audience to "look at the big picture". "We have mapped out the infrastructure for the football," he said.
That, though, is part of the concern: it is a little late to be mapping out.
Back home there is less conviction that all will be all right come opening night in 2014. Earlier this month a comedy show mocking the country's stuttering preparations began a national tour. It has been well received. Later this month the sports minister Aldo Rebelo will deliver the latest government report into the spending of an estimated £7bn on the infrastructure to host the tournament – the country is also preparing for the 2016 Rio Olympics. The previous one in May did not make comfortable reading, although it was a marked improvement on its predecessor, published in September 2011.
Things are heading in the right direction, but are they doing so quickly enough? The answer would seem to depend on whether you prefer your glass half full or half empty.Reuse content