BELO HORIZONTE - England should be
invited to play Brazil to mark the opening of the Mineirao World
Cup Stadium despite the animosity Brazilian FA President Ricardo
Teixeira feels towards the English, Reuters has been told in an
The stadium is undergoing reconstruction work worth 662
million Brazilian reais ($422m) ahead of the 2014 finals and
England would provide the perfect opponents for the World Cup
hosts, Sergio Barroso, state secretary in Minas Gerais, told
Reuters at the ground.
The stadium, once the second-largest in Brazil with a record
attendance of 132,000, is due to be completed in December next
year as a state-of-the-art 65,000 all-seater showpiece and could
stage the opening match of the World Cup finals.
England were involved in one of the greatest World Cup upsets
when they were beaten 1-0 by the United States in the 1950
finals at the city's Independencia Stadium, which is also being
"We want England to play Brazil in a friendly in the opening
match of the new stadium on February 8 2013 on the recognised date
for FIFA friendlies," Barroso said.
"We know what Ricardo Teixeira has said about the English,
but the opening of the new stadium is more than just what he has
said and his view of England. I am speaking to him and I am
going to ask him to invite England to play here.
"FIFA says it is all about fair play and the good of the game
so lets see what Mr Teixeira will do about it.
"England was the birthplace of football and Brazil developed
the game and there are very strong links between our two
Teixeira, who also sits on FIFA's Executive Committee, has
been admonished by FIFA President Sepp Blatter for his public
comments about England and its media, recently saying in an
interview that the English "were pirates who could go to hell."
'COMPLETE THE CIRCLE'
Teixeira was named in a British Parliamentary hearing by
former England FA Chairman David Triesman as one of four FIFA Executive Committee members who suggested they would vote for
England's bid for the 2018 finals if the price was right -
although he was later cleared by an independent FA inquiry.
England lost out in the race to stage the finals to Russia.
On Friday, after Brazil's 12 World Cup cities were formally
presented, Teixeira was involved in a spat with English
journalists who wanted to ask him about his earlier comments.
"I do not talk to the English press," he shouted, and when
asked why not, he replied, "Because they are corrupt."
Barroso admits that against that backdrop, and because of
other demands surrounding the international calendar, it might
be difficult to persuade Teixeira to ask England to come to play
Brazil, but if that proposal fails, he has offered an
"As everyone knows a very famous match took place here in
Belo Horizonte during the 1950 World Cup when the United States
beat England 1-0," he added.
"To complete the circle and give
England the chance of revenge, perhaps we could also invite the
United States and England here for a friendly."
That match took place at the smaller Independencia stadium
in the city, which was demolished in June last year with a new
25,000-capacity stadium currently under construction.
The game would also need to be sanctioned by the CBF
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