Soccer

World Cup stadium inauguration postponed in Brazil

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SAO PAULO (AP)

The first test match at a World Cup stadium in the southern Brazilian city of Porto Alegre will not be played this weekend as planned because infrastructure work outside the venue has not been completed.

The Beira-Rio is not expected to be fully completed until late February, but local club Internacional was set to host matches with limited attendance beginning on Sunday. The matches would serve as test events as the stadium prepares to host five World Cup games in June.

Police said on Thursday a bank inside the stadium was robbed and workers were made hostage for several minutes before being released unharmed, according to the local Zero Hora newspaper. No one was arrested.

The decision not to play at the Beira-Rio this weekend was made because of all the infrastructure work still underway outside the venue. Internacional had already practiced at the new venue a few days ago, with fans not allowed to watch.

Brazil promised to have all 12 World Cup stadiums ready by the end of last year but five remain under construction and the southern city of Curitiba is still in danger of being dropped from the tournament because of delays at its venue. Local organizers have until Feb. 18 to show improvement in the stadium's construction.

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