Blatter bullish over World Cup


JOHANNESBURG, June 8 – FIFA president Sepp Blatter on Monday warned that South Africa would experience teething problems as the World Cup gets underway, but insisted the tournament would be "fantastic"."Be conscious of the fact that we are in Africa, even if South Africa is the best organised country on the continent. You can be critical — that is your right — but admit that you really feel something here," he told a press conference.

"This World Cup will be marvellous and we are looking forward to the kickoff," said Blatter. "This will be a fantastic World Cup."

"Everywhere, one can feel, even you journalists, I hope, that this World Cup is very special, the first on African soil," Blatter said, before Friday’s kick-off between the hosts and Mexico.

Blatter, who backed South Africa’s candidacy despite doubts about the country’s ability to pull off the event, said he was sure the hosts would prove themselves.

FIFA’s pre-tournament Executive Committee meeting, which Monday wrapped up two days of meetings, also expressed satisfaction with preparations for the event.

The committee also formally approved the principle of two countries jointly hosting a World Cup, noting candidacies from Spain-Portugal and Belgium-Netherlands to stage future tournaments.

Following on from the experience of 2002, when Japan and South Korea were joint hosts, Blatter said future joint candidacies would be accepted on the basis of double organisation within a sole organisational structure.