RIO DE JANEIRO – Brazil's president has taken to the nation's airwaves to deliver a pre-taped address trying to rally the nation behind the World Cup that begins this week.
President Dilma Rousseff said Tuesday that despite the anti-Cup protests the nation has lived through for a year and paralyzing work strikes causing havoc in many cities, all Brazilians should stand behind their team as it prepares for the opening match this Thursday.
Rousseff told Brazil's soccer players that "below that green and yellow jersey you represent a powerful legacy of the Brazilian people. The national side represents our nationality."
The speech was a clear effort by Rousseff to bat down the critics of the Cup and lift the spirits of a nation that many say has never seen a flatter pre-World Cup mood.