RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — The Associated Press is following events in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday. The Confederations Cup final between Spain and Brazil starts at 6 p.m. EDT. Follow this live feed for updates:
Italy leads Uruguay 1-0 at halftime in Salvador in the third-place match at the Confederations Cup. The goal was scored by Davide Astori. The ball appeared to go into the net off the back of Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera after a free kick from Alessandro Diamanti hit the post in the 24th minute. Diamanti originally was credited as the scorer, but the FIFA website now says it was Astori.
Uruguay lost to Brazil in the semifinals, and Italy was beaten by Spain in a penalty shootout. Cesare Prandelli, the coach of Italy, has complained about the third-place match, calling for FIFA to review whether it’s needed. The Italians are upset because they have had only two days to rest since Thursday’s draining loss; Uruguay last played on Wednesday. Another cause of contention is the start time. The third-place match is the only game of this tournament to start at 1 p.m., when it can be quite warm in Brazil, especially up north in Salvador.
SITTING THIS ONE OUT
Mariela Simao, a 22-year-old biotechnology student who lives near Maracana Stadium, has decided to sit this one out — both Sunday’s protest and the Confederations Cup final. Simao, who first took the streets about two weeks ago when many Brazilians let their rage spill over into violence while calling for government reforms, tells AP’s Rob Harris that she is staying behind this time because she is afraid of the police.
“They are not only looking at the people doing bad stuff, breaking windows, they are shooting everyone indiscriminately,” Simao said, referring to police firing rubber bullets and tear gas. She also said she loves soccer and supports Brazil’s national team, which will be facing Spain in the final of the World Cup warmup tournament, but she is now more concerned about other problems in the country. “I hope they are champions,” Simao said, “but the country needed to invest in a lot of things before bringing the World Cup here — hospitals, schools.”
POLICE HALT PROTESTERS
Protesters marching toward the stadium for the Confederations Cup final have been stopped on Avenida do Maracana by a battalion of military police carrying shields, AP’s Jenny Barchfield says. There are also busloads of police reinforcements nearby in case of violence. Standing in front of a line of police and yelling at them is a middle-aged woman with a T-shirt that says “Grandma.” Protesters have taken to the streets all over Brazil in the past two weeks, calling for a wide range of reforms.
Some of their ire has been targeted at the high cost of staging next year’s World Cup and the 2016 Olympics. Brazilian police told AP’s Tales Azzoni that they would allow people to protest outside Maracana Stadium as long as the demonstrations were peaceful. People without tickets usually are not allowed near the venue in FIFA tournaments, but the Maracana sits in a crowded Rio neighborhood and authorities said they would not keep local residents away from the venue.
A few civil law enforcement officers and an elite police unit were in front of the main entrance, so far just watching the demonstrators. A handful of people were calling for attention to human trafficking, and others complained of poor conditions at Rio de Janeiro hospitals. “We want better conditions in the health services in Rio,” said 59-year-old Geralda Ramos, who works at a local hospital. “We need to speak up because the government is not paying attention to us. We need better salaries and better equipment to be able to treat our people.”
SOCCER, TANKS, RIOT GEAR
A crowd of protesters has started to make its way from Saenz Pena, a square not far from central Rio, and is heading for the Maracana, says AP’s Jenny Barchfield. Once they get near the stadium, they’ll find officers in riot gear and tanks awaiting them. If there is going to be a violent standoff, it’s likely to occur there. The tournament has been marked by violent anti-government protests, partly aimed at the high cost of staging next year’s World Cup. Several thousand police have been put on alert, but as of noon in Rio, only a few hundred people had gathered in the center of the city, according to Barchfield. Outside the stadium, a handful of protesters held banners saying, “How much is silence worth?”
DRESSED IN YELLOW
Brazilian fans are out on the streets in force, many wearing the team’s traditional yellow. In the country that will host next year’s World Cup, soccer is indeed serious, and the match against world champion Spain may be one to remember. Brazil’s national team has been rebuilding under coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, man who led the team to its fifth and last World Cup title in 2002. But the team has so far met Scolari’s expectations, winning all four of its matches to reach the final. Spain made it through by beating Italy in a penalty shootout in the semifinals, and could even be considered the underdog for the match since it will be played at Maracana, Brazil’s most renowned soccer venue.