Countdown to Brazil's World Cup

From soccer-themed public art projects to social unrest, the FIFA tournament is already visible all over the country.

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Reuters

With just four weeks left until the start of the 2014 World Cup, its presence is already visible all over host country Brazil.

From new infrastructure to social unrest, the world will be watching to see how Brazil handles this massive major event. It's the first World Cup in Brazil since 1950, when six different cities hosted matches between 13 national squads. The 2014 event will see 32 teams play in 12 different cities, seven of which boast completely new stadiums

Aside from new architectural toys and international attention, the public money poured into the event (combined with the upcoming 2016 Summer Olympics) has come alongside unrest within some of the country's poorest neighborhoods. In just the last three weeks, violent protests fueled by police mistrust erupted in Rio's favelas, and a bus strike has added to the chaos.

Construction workers, meanwhile, are still at work finishing the massive infrastructure projects built for the tournament. São Paulo's brand new international terminal just opened over the weekend, part of a $1.3 billion airport upgrade. That city's other big project, the Corinthians Arena, hosted its first event May 10 despite reports of "missing seats, exposed pipes and unfinished access roads" two weeks prior.

Even among those who despise the politics behind the World Cup coming to their home country, soccer is just as important to Brazil as ever. Amid protests which seem unlikely to stop before the tournament begins, signs of the upcoming event are all around:

Boys play a Sunday "pelada" soccer match on a street closed to traffic for the day in Sao Paulo, a World Cup host city, May 4, 2014. (REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker)
A worker inside the new international terminal 3 at Guarulhos International airport in Sao Paulo May 10, 2014. The new international terminal is set to open at a fraction of its eventual capacity on Sunday, handling just one in four foreign flights - less than 10 percent of overall traffic at the airport. The automated baggage check and immigrations systems originally promised will not be ready for the World Cup. (REUTERS/Chico Ferreira) 
Residents simulate bad service at a public hospital during a protest against the 2014 World Cup, organized by non-governmental organization (NGO) Rio de Paz (Rio of Peace) at the Jacarezinho slum in Rio de Janeiro May 10, 2014. The protest was held to raise awareness and to improve public services to FIFA standards, according to the organization. (REUTERS/Sergio Moraes)
Residents watch a protest against the 2014 World Cup, organized by non-governmental organization (NGO) Rio de Paz (Rio of Peace) at the Jacarezinho slum in Rio de Janeiro May 10, 2014. 
A general view is seen of the Arena de Sao Paulo Stadium, one of the venues for the 2014 World Cup, before a soccer match test in the Sao Paulo district of Itaquera May 10, 2014. The stadium will host the opening match of the 2014 World Cup. (REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker) 
Graffiti artist Tot works on a mural depicting Brazilian soccer player Neymar in celebration of the 2014 soccer World Cup in Rio de Janeiro May 9, 2014. The mural will be a part of a contest organized by Rio de Janeiro's city hall, local media said. (REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes) 
Workers take mobile phone 'selfies' with Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff during her visit to the Arena Sao Paulo Stadium in Sao Paulo May 8,2014. The stadium will host the opening match of the 2014 World Cup. (REUTERS/Nacho Doce) 
People get into a van at a bus station during a bus strike in Rio de Janeiro May 8, 2014. The strike renewed concerns about services and public order one month before Rio and 11 other Brazilian cities play host to the upcoming World Cup soccer tournament. It came two weeks after the death of a dancer in a police shootout prompted riots in a slum near the city's most popular tourist district. (REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes) 
Street vendors observe as people wait for transport at a bus station during a bus strike in Rio de Janeiro May 8, 2014. The strike renewed concerns about services and public order one month before Rio and 11 other Brazilian cities play host to the upcoming World Cup soccer tournament. It came two weeks after the death of a dancer in a police shootout prompted riots in a slum near the city's most popular tourist district. (REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes)
Brazilian soccer legend Pele poses next to a public telephone booth with an image of his face painted by Brazilian artist Sipros after he autographed it, during the Call Parade art exhibition in Sao Paulo May 8, 2014. The Call Parade is a street art exhibition involving artists who decorated and painted public telephone booths with the colours of Brazil's national soccer team for the World Cup. (REUTERS/Nacho Doce) 

Labourers work at the assembly line of Panini's factory, where FIFA's Brazil World Cup stickers and album are produced, in Tambore, an industrial suburb north of Sao Paulo May 5, 2014. The World Cup is around the corner and millions of fans are putting down their iPads to collect and trade soccer stickers, a decades-old hobby that has defied the digital age. Picture taken May 5, 2014. (REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker)

A soccer fan poses with a World Cup trophy replica as he stands amongst federal policemen protesting for wage increases and better working conditions outside the concert house where Brazil's national soccer coach Luiz Felipe Scolari is announcing the Brazilian squad for the 2014 World Cup in Rio de Janeiro May 7, 2014. (REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes)
A man rides his motorcycle along a street decorated in celebration of the upcoming World Cup in Rio de Janeiro May 6, 2014. (REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes) 

Top image: People watch on television the news conference of Brazilian national soccer team head coach Luiz Felipe Scolari in Rio de Janeiro May 7, 2014. Scolari announced the names of the 23 players who will play in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. 2014. (REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker)

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