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World Cup: One dead as overpass collapses in host city

July 04, 2014 10:54 IST

World Cup: One dead as overpass collapses in host city

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At least one person died on Thursday when an unfinished overpass collapsed in World Cup host city Belo Horizonte, overshadowing the buildup to the first quarter-finals in which France face Germany and Brazil take on Colombia.

Nineteen people were also injured in the accident about two miles (3 km) from the Mineirao Stadium where World Cup games are being played and a semi-final is due to be held on Tuesday.

The cause of the collapse, which underlined Brazil's struggle to deliver infrastructure projects safely and on time, was unclear. The overpass was part of a network of bus lanes that Brazil planned to have ready for the World Cup, but was not finished on time.

Groups of people gathered around the scene of the accident, some shouting furiously.

"Because of the World Cup they sped everything up to finish faster," said Leandro Brito, 23, a bank worker.

"That's why this tragedy has happened. They are not making things properly. Everyone is very angry."

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Image: Rescue workers try to reach vehicles trapped underneath a bridge that collapsed while under construction in Belo Horizonte on Thursday
Photographs: Leo Fontes-O Tempo/Reuters

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Delays in construction projects and $11 billion in public spending to stage the world's largest sporting event spurred violent protests across Brazil over the last year, but they have fizzled out as the tournament has progressed.

In fact, with the World Cup generally running smoothly and people transfixed by scintillating football, a poll published late on Wednesday showed President Dilma Rousseff's popularity had increased as she prepares to seek re-election in October.

Support for the leftist president has risen to 38 percent from 34 percent a month ago, the survey of eligible voters by Brazilian polling firm Datafolha said.

It also showed that people in Brazil were more positive about the economy and many more now favoured hosting the World Cup, although whether that optimism continues should Brazil fail to win the trophy remains to be seen.

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Image: Rescue workers inspect a car trapped underneath a bridge that collapsed while under construction in Belo Horizonte on Thursday
Photographs: Ivan Alvarado/Reuters

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