BELO HORIZONTE —
Good football, or a least a tournament with good narratives, will cover a multitude of sins. Barring something calamitous in the final week, the chaos that many had feared would characterize the World Cup has not come to pass and nor have the demonstrations against government corruption that dominated last year’s Confederations Cup.
Only Belo Horizonte, where Brazil will meet Germany in Tuesday’s semifinal, has really suffered, an overpass constructed as part of improvements in infrastructure for the World Cup collapsing onto a bus, killing two people and injuring several others. At the weekend, there were demonstrations at the offices of Construtora Cowan, the firm that built the overpass on Avenida Pedro 1, while others have visited the site of the collapse bearing placards that read, “This is the reality of the World Cup,” and “World Cup disaster: Put it on FIFA’s bill.”
Wrangles over that are ongoing. The area around the collapsed overpass has been shut off pending an investigation, with some alleging that short cuts were taken to get the structure in place in time for the World Cup. Local authorities have urged the judiciary to re-open the road in time for the semifinal to ease traffic pressure. “The work won’t be carried it in haste because of the World Cup,” said Colonel Alexandre Lucas Alves of the Civil Defense. “It can only be done when we can be sure there will be no more casualties.”
Elsewhere, the main issues have been with the police’s habit of acting first and asking questions later. Early in the tournament, partygoers in the Rio de Janeiro district of Lapa were subjected to a baton charge and the indiscriminate use of pepper spray after spilling from bars into a pavement. Eyewitnesses said the mood was jovial and police waded in without warning.