RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — The Confederations Cup begins following protests that turned violent in two of Brazil's biggest cities, while builders were still slapping cement on stadiums.
The eight-nation tournament, a test of Brazil's organizational ability a year before the World Cup, starts Saturday in the capital Brasilia when the Selecao hosts Asian champion Japan. It ends June 30 in Rio de Janeiro's Maracana Stadium.
The quadrennial tournament is held every four years — always one year before the World Cup — among the champions of each soccer confederation, the World Cup champion and the host.
Workmen still were applying cement onto walks, attaching glass panels and painting at several stadiums as kickoff approached, but FIFA President Sepp Blatter said he was not worried about the late preparations.