TERESPOLIS, Brazil - Brazil's World Cup squad have been forced to run a gauntlet of 200 striking teachers as they headed for their tournament base camp against a backdrop of public anger over the cost of staging the event.
"An educator is worth more than Neymar," teachers chanted yesterday, referring to the star striker, as the team bus edged through the protesters from Rio de Janeiro's international airport to the squad's base about 90km away at Teresopolis in the hills north of Rio.
Despite a heavy police presence, the demonstrators managed to hold up the team's convoy long enough to plant anti-World Cup stickers on their bus before it finally eased past the throng.
At the squad's Granja Comary training complex, where they were met by more protests, coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said his charges had what it takes to win the country's sixth World Cup.
"We have a great mix (of youth and experience). The young players have experience having played at the top level in Europe," he told Globo television.
The players minus Marcelo, given dispensation to fly in late after winning the Champions League on Saturday with Real Madrid gathered after breakfast for their bus transfer and arrived at their training complex around midday.
The Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) said Marcelo would arrive today.
The players will train from tomorrow and undergo fitness checks after a long season in Europe, where all but five of the 23 play.
They will stay in Granja Comary until Sunday before travelling to the central city.