Opponents in the third round of the group stage, the teams of Ecuador and France, have landed this afternoon in Porto Alegre and Sao Paulo respectively.
“I'm excited to be in Brazil for the FIFA World Cup”, said French coach Didier Deschamps. “We had a good preparation and the players are ready to go. They look forward to playing in the Maracana stadium as well, where our third group match will be.”
The French squad then travelled to Ribeirao Preto, in the interior of the state, where they will train at the Estadio Santa Cruz, while the Ecuadorians continued on their way to Viamão, about 40 minutes away from the capital of Rio Grande do Sul, where they will prepare for the tournament at the Centro de Treinamento Vila Ventura .
Early in the evening, the city of Belo Horizonte welcomed two South American teams and two former FIFA World Cup™ champions: Uruguay, winner in 1930 and 1950, when it was responsible for what became known as the 'Maracanazo' (defeating Brazil in the final at the Maracana stadium); and Argentina, champion in 1978 and 1986 and great rival of the host country's national team. Both drove to the metropolitan area of Belo Horizonte, in the state of Minas Gerais. Argentina will practice at the Cidade do Galo, in Vespasiano, and Uruguay will prepare for the competition at the Estadio Joaquim Henrique Nogueira (better known as Arena do Jacare), in Sete Lagoas.
"We prepared for the tournament at home. It's a major privilege to be able to feel the warmth and the care coming from the public in our everyday routine", explained La Celeste's centre back Diego Lugano.
Uruguay open their campaign in the World Cup on Saturday, 14 June, against Costa Rica, while France, Argentina and Ecuador have their first matches on the next day, 15 June, against Honduras, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Switzerland, respectively. In total, 25 national teams (in addition to the Brazilian delegation) are already in the country ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Honduras, who will train at the city of Porto Feliz, state of Sao Paulo, have just landed in Brazil. Costa Rica are expected for later tonight.