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Brazil World Cup held in too many cities: Rio mayor

Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes says it was a bad idea for Brazil to spread the World Cup over 12 cities.

Tournament in Brazil being held in 12 cities

An aerial view shows fireworks over the Beira-Rio stadium during its opening ceremony in Porto Alegre April 5, 2014. The stadium will be one of the stadiums hosting the 2014 World Cup soccer matches. (Diego Vara/Reuters)

Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes says it was a bad idea for Brazil to spread the World Cup over 12 cities.

"We are a continental country, we are very big," Paes said on Thursday. "We made a mistake. We should have fewer cities hosting the World Cup than we have."

The World Cup starts in a week, but several of the 12 stadiums are still being finished, and work outside many continues with roads and sidewalks being put down, and sponsor and media areas still under construction.

Brazil is spending about $11.5 billion US on the World Cup with about $4 billion US going to build or renovate 12 stadiums.

FIFA requires only eight venues for a World Cup, but Brazilian politicians decided to sprinkle the games across the country, building at least four new stadiums that are expected to be white elephants when the World Cup ends in Rio on July 13.

Paes said repeated delays have hurt the country's image.

"There was huge damage to our reputation," he said. "When you don't have everything ready, that is a big damage."

Asked if Brazil had let an opportunity slip away, he replied: "I don't think we blew it. Let's wait until next week. We're going to have a great World Cup."

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