WITH just over three weeks to go until the FIFA World Cup kicks off on June 13 (AEST), there are issues at every turn.
Here are the worst of the worst:
1. THE STADIUMS AREN'T READY
ALL 12 World Cup stadiums have held test events ahead of football's showpiece tournament, but none of the test matches were held at full capacity because there is still a lot of work left to be done at the venues, including the installation of seats.
Football's governing body usually wants three test events in stadiums hosting World Cup games, but it had to accept less than that in Brazil because of the country's chronic preparation delays.
There's a lot of work left outside the venues too, especially on infrastructure projects aimed at improving nearby roads.
2. THE PROTESTS ARE REAL
MASSIVE anti-government protests across Brazil last year overshadowed the Confederations Cup, a warm-up tournament to the World Cup, with more than a million people taking to the streets on a single night.
Many of the demonstrations turned violent, with protesters and police clashing. At least six people were killed in connection with the protests, most being run over by cars as rallies packed busy streets.
This year, the protests continue with Brazilians angry at the billions spent to host the World Cup, much of it on 12 ornate football stadiums, one-third of which critics say will see little use after the big event.
3. KICK-OFF TIMES
BRAZIL'S own football players association FENAPAF is taking legal action against FIFA in a bid to shift lunchtime kick-offs during the World Cup due to expected soaring temperatures.
FENAPAF reportedly said a request for a court injunction would be submitted in Sao Paulo this week demanding that each of the tournament's 24 games scheduled for 1pm local time be shifted to 5pm.
"We have reached the conclusion that matches played between 1pm and 3pm in the north, northeast and central-west regions are a concern because they could affect players' health," FENAPAF president Rinaldo Martorelli said.
The organisation also wants a mandatory drinks break midway through each half, with a number of host cities traditionally averaging temperatures of 29C-31C over the June/July period.
4. BRAZIL COMPARED TO A WAR ZONE
LAST week, Brazilian sports minister Aldo Rebelo admitted the World Cup faces serious security problems and then, in an attempt to play down those concerns, pointed out that the country was not a war zone like Iraq or Afghanistan.
Why was he making that comparison at all?
Riots rocked Rio de Janeiro's famous Copacabana Beach district last month and fears about safety for thousands of football fans visiting Brazil were heightened this month by the fatal shooting of a man during a clash with police close to the England team hotel in the city.
Robberies that lead to homicide have hit a nine-year high in Sao Paolo.
THEY'RE here to keep the fans safe, but the elite squad of 400 specialist Robocop-style troops are evidence of how serious a threat terrorists are in Brazil.
The BOPE special forces unit will be on 24-hour standby armed with grenades, knives and guns to deal with terrorist threats but have also reportedly been instructed to deal with supporters who step out of line.
If hooligans drink a lot of calpirinhas our national cocktail and does something crazy BOPE are the ones that will deal with him, Lieutenant Colonel Joao Soares Busnello said.
BOPE will also be called if someone is taken hostage or there is a terrorist act or a political or religious riot.
A further 4000 regular police officers will be on patrol and they will be joined by a further 1500 military officers.