England 'perfect opponents' for Brazil at opening of new stadium

The state secretary of Minas Gerais, in Brazil, says that they should host England at the opening of the of the Mineirao World Cup Stadium.

BELO HORIZONTE, BRAZIL // England should be invited to play Brazil to mark the opening of the Mineirao World Cup Stadium, according to Sergio Barroso.

The state secretary of Minas Gerais says England will be the perfect opponents, despite the animosity Ricardo Teixeira, the Brazilian Football Association president, feels towards the English.

The stadium, which is undergoing reconstruction work worth US$422 million (Dh 1.55bn) ahead of the 2014 finals, is due to be completed in December 2012 as a 65,000 all-seater showpiece.

"We want England to play Brazil in a friendly in the opening match of the new stadium on February 8, 2013," Barroso said.

"We know what Ricardo Teixeira has said about the English, but the opening of the new stadium is more than just what he has said and his view of England. I am speaking to him and I am going to ask him to invite England to play here.

"Fifa says it is all about fair play and the good of the game, so lets see what Mr Teixeira will do about it."

Teixeira, who also sits on Fifa's executive committee, has been admonished by Sepp Blatter, the Fifa president, for his public comments about England and its media, recently saying in an interview that the English "were pirates who could go to hell".

Teixeira was named in a British Parliamentary hearing by David Triesman, former England Football Association (FA) chairman, as one of four Fifa executive committee members who suggested they would vote for England's bid for the 2018 finals if the price was right- although he was later cleared by an independent FA hearing.

England lost out in the race to stage the finals to Russia. On Friday, after Brazil's 12 World Cup cities were formally presented, Teixeira was involved in a spat with English journalists who wanted to ask him about his earlier comments.

"I do not talk to the English press," he shouted, and when asked why not, he replied: "Because they are corrupt."

Published: August 3, 2011 04:00 AM