Carlos Alberto Parreira led Brazil to the World Cup title in 1994. (Vanderlei Almeida/Getty Images)
Carlos Alberto Parreira, an assistant coach for the Brazilian men's national team, thinks it's "a joke" that his country's government took so long to start infrastructure projects for this summer's World Cup, he told Radio CBN in Brazil, according to Tales Azzoni of the Associated Press.
"We missed an opportunity to show the world what we can do in this country," Parreira said. "We missed an opportunity to provide more comfort to Brazilians and to show a different kind of Brazil."
The World Cup begins June 12 in San Paulo, with the host country facing Croatia. Brazil is expected to spend $14 billion on the event.
Parreira said he believes the stadiums across the country will be ready — although only seven of the 12 have been completed — but added that it's a shame infrastructure projects that could have benefited the citizens of the country won't be finished until long after the World Cup, Azzoni reports.
"We know the World Cup is about stadiums, but it's not only about stadiums. Fans can't live in a stadium," Parreira said. "They say everything will eventually be ready in 2018, 2020... but we wanted it ready for the World Cup to try to change this view that the foreigners have about Brazil."
Parreira led Brazil to the World Cup title in 1994 in the United States.
"Everything was supposed to be ready for the World Cup, but it was a total neglect [by the government]," he said. "I saw recently that they are going to start the bidding processes for [work at] airports in March, three months before the World Cup. It's a joke. We won the bid seven years ago and it's only now that they are starting these bidding processes.
"Rio will always continue to attract tourists. It's a wonderful city. I can't think of a city that is more beautiful than Rio," said the 70-year-old Parreira, an assistant to Luiz Felipe Scolari. "But we all know that it could offer us a lot more comfort, a lot more safety and a better quality of life."