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No sex before games? Brazilian players test club controls

By Andrew Downie SAO PAULO (Reuters) - The Brazilian tradition of the concentracao - sequestering teams before matches and shielding them from temptations such as sex and alcohol - is under threat as players take a stand against the late payment of wages. So far this year players at Botafogo, Portuguesa and Vasco da Gama have refused to attend the concentracao because their salaries were not paid on time.

AFP Videographics

The AFP Videographics advisory for Thursday: MARACANA STADIUM Overview of Brazil's iconic Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro. First installment of a series of 12 videographics on the 2014 World Cup stadiums. Text slug:Fbl-WC2014-BRA-stadiums ENGLISH VIDEO ANIMATION: Format 16:9, WC14StadiumMaracana1212VGRX_TEN, 1600 GMT INTERNATIONAL VIDEO ANIMATION: (Without soundtrack and text) Format 16:9, WC14StadiumMaracana1212VGRX_ZZ, 1600 GMT Also available: Syria refugees Destroying chemical weapons

Menezes confirmed as Corinthians coach

RIO DE JANEIRO, Dec. 11 (Xinhua) -- Former Brazil coach Mano Menezes has been confirmed as manager of Brazilian giants Corinthians next season. The 51-year-old replaces Tite to return to the club he coached from 2008 to 2010. "Mano Menezes is the new coach of Corinthians, returning after three years," Corinthians said in a statement on its official website. During his first spell in charge, Menezes led Corinthians to the Serie B championship in 2008 and the Copa do Brasil title in 2009.

Rainstorm brings chaos to World Cup host city Rio

Rainstorm brings chaos to World Cup host city Rio RIO DE JANEIRO, Dec. 11 (Xinhua) -- Six months before the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the host city Rio de Janeiro was paralyzed on Wednesday by heavy rains that incurred flooding and sparked chaos in several neighborhoods. The rainstorm started late Tuesday and lasted some 10 hours until late Wednesday morning, inundating parts of the Brazil's second biggest city, including its main highways, making it impossible for many residents to get to work.

Insight: Brazil's opening World Cup stadium: Troubled from the start

By Brian Winter SAO PAULO (Reuters) - When Brazil first won the right to host the 2014 soccer World Cup, officials knew they would need a modern stadium with more than 65,000 seats in the country's biggest city. As it happened, Sao Paulo had just such an arena: Cicero Pompeu de Toledo Stadium, known as "Morumbi," standing amid a sea of orange-roofed mansions on the western side of the city.

Brazil's Fluminense eye relegation reprieve

RIO DE JANEIRO, Dec. 10 (Xinhua) -- Fluminense could be spared relegation to Brazil's second tier amid revelations that rivals Portuguesa fielded an irregular player. Brazil's superior sports justice tribunal (STJD) will this week make a ruling on Portuguesa's decision to introduce suspended midfielder Heverton in the final minutes of Sunday's 0-0 draw with Gremio. The club faces a possible three-point deduction, which would leave them with 45 points, one less than Fluminense.

Brazil striker Damaio in Santos talks

RIO DE JANEIRO, Dec. 10 (Xinhua) -- Santos are preparing an offer to sign Brazil and Internacional striker Leandro Damiao. Santos' officials are in talks with local investment group Doyen to help them meet Internacional's 14 million-euro (about 19.3 million U.S. dollars) asking price, news site Terra reported on Tuesday. Damiao struggled for fitness and form in the Campeonato Brasileiro in 2013, scoring just five goals from 26 matches. The 24-year has previously been linked with Tottenham Hotspur, Napoli and Southampton.

Sunderland in running for Brazil keeper Julio Cesar

RIO DE JANEIRO, Dec. 10 (Xinhua) -- English Premier League outfit Sunderland is reportedly considering a move for Queens Park Rangers and Brazil international goalkeeper Julio Cesar. Black Cats manager Gus Poyet is seeking a new goalkeeper following an injury to Keiren Westwood, according Brazilian football news website Sambafoot. He is likely to have competition from several Brazilian clubs, including Porto Alegre outfit Internacional. Cesar has been unable to win back his first-team spot for QPR this season after suffering a summer hand injury.

Amid World Cup draw, protesters demand better services

As FIFA held the eagerly-waited World Cup draw, activists staged a colorful protest in Brasilia to draw attention to the country's social priorities: education and health. Earlier this week, Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo played down delays in construction work for four host venues for the next year's Cup, saying the fact that a bride arrives late at her wedding does not mean the marriage will fail.

Football: As draw looms, Brazil shrugs off Cup delays

Ahead of Friday's draw and on the eve of a FIFA executive committee meeting, organisers said they were confident the later than expected delivery of as many as half of next year's World Cup venues will not derail preparations. After a marathon construction program to upgrade facilities at existing venues and build new ones hosts Brazil say all 12 stadiums will be ready in time for test events early next year, although Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo revealed six will not meet FIFA's now redundant December 31 deadline.
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