RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil -- The first test of Brazils ability to host the World Cup and Olympic Games over the next three years begins on Saturday when the eight-nation Confederations Cup tournament kicks off. The new or renovated stadiums around Brazil are ready, give or take a lick of paint and a final sweep. And violent protests on the streets of two of the biggest cities, Rio and Sao Paulo, have tested authorities ability to deal with civil unrest. The tournament starts in the capital Brasilia with a game between the host and Asian champion Japan. It ends in Rio de Janeiros Maracana Stadium two weeks later. The tournament is held every four years - always one year before the World Cup - between the champions of each football confederation. Workmen were still applying cement onto walls, attaching glass panels and painting at several stadiums as the clock ticked down to kick-off, but FIFA President Sepp Blatter said he was not worried about the last-minute preparations. "Theres a lot of work that will be done in the last minute," he said. "So for me it is not a surprise that two days to go there is still work somewhere. It means that something is not finished so we should just say, okay, and finish it." While the paint and cement dry, tournament officials have been keeping an eye on the street protests, handling team complaints, and hoping Nigeria turn up on time. In the capital Brasilia, about 200 people burned tires and blocked the main road in front of the Brasilia stadium which will host the Confederations Cup opener. The protest was organized by local groups complaining about the excessive cost of the Confederations Cup and World Cup. A black cloud of smoke was seen near the stadium Friday morning as protesters held banners complaining about the local government. Thousands of protesters marched in Rio and Sao Paulo on Thursday to rage against increases in bus and subway fares, and some clashed with police. Officials said roughly 5,000 protesters were in Sao Paulos central area, where they clashed with police who fired tear gas to try to disperse the crowd. Police said 40 people were detained, some with knives and gasoline bombs. Police in Rio said about 2,000 people protested there. FIFA expressed "full confidence" that Brazilian police can cope with disorder in the streets after the violent protests. Asked about the protests, FIFA spokesman Pekka Odriozola said that "we are monitoring the situation and we are in touch with the local authorities." But he insisted that FIFA has "full confidence and trust in the local authorities" to cope with "any circumstance." In Recife, Uruguay was forced to go looking for a new practice pitch because the stadium chosen by the squad was not in good condition following heavy rains. "For the World Cup, we have to be on alert so the same mistakes dont happen again, especially the delays, the increased costs and the use of public funds," congressman and former Brazil striker Romario said. Latin America is represented here by Brazil, Uruguay and Mexico, Europe by Spain and Italy, Africa by Nigeria, Asia by Japan and the tiny footballing nation of Tahiti, which had an easy passage to the tournament against weak opposition in the Oceania group. Italys star forward Mario Balotelli exited the training pitch with a right leg muscle problem, two days before the Azzurri play their first game against Mexico. The Italian football federation said that Balotelli walked off a closed training session with team physician Enrico Castellacci but that it was only for precautionary reasons and related to a previous physical problem. Nigeria gave world football authority FIFA a shock on Thursday when its players threatened to go on strike and not travel to Brazil because the countrys football association suddenly cut players bonus payments. Nigerias players, in Namibia for a game, missed their connection to Brazil and will arrive late on Saturday or Sunday, leaving them very little time to prepare for their first game on Monday. Their first game is against the part-time players of Tahiti, who should present little threat. The competition is split into two groups, with Brazil, Japan, Mexico and Italy in Group A and Spain, Uruguay, Nigeria and Tahiti in Group B. Brazil, Italy, Spain and Uruguay or Nigeria are favoured to reach the semifinals, with many football fans hoping for a Brazil vs.Spain final at the iconic Maracana on June 30. Brazil has dominated global football for years, but has slipped in the last decade, with Spain rising to become the top global team, holding the world and European titles. Brazils football-mad supporters have been embarrassed to be relegated to 22nd in FIFAs latest rankings, sandwiched between Ghana and Mali, and are looking for salvation from the latest goal-scoring sensation Neymar, who signed for Barcelona last month. Neymar will be wearing the No. 10 shirt for Brazil, a weighty burden considering it was worn by Pele, arguably the best player ever. Luiz Felipe Scolari, the Brazil coach who led the countrys national team to its fifth World Cup title in 2002 and is back for a second spell in charge, is playing down Neymars influence. "Hes not going to play with 11 jerseys on his back. He plays with one jersey," Scolari said Friday. "I have nothing to demand from him." On Sunday, Mexico play Italy in Rio and Spain play Uruguay in the rain-soaked northern city of Recife. Tahiti meets Nigeria in Belo Horizonte on Monday, ending the first round of games. Brazil, a rising global economic power which still suffers from some of the headaches of a developing nation, should be able to handle the Confederations Cup with ease because it faces two massive challenges over the next three years. Next year it hosts the World Cup in 12 cities across a country which is similar in size to Europe, and then in 2016 Rio will host the Olympic Games. Logan Cooke Jersey . Brett Kulak and Jackson Houck of the Vancouver Giants were each charged with assault causing bodily harm on Aug. 18, according to the B.C. court services. Will Richardson Jersey . Ouellette, from Montreal, already has three Olympic gold medals since joining the team in 1999. http://www.cheapjaguarsjerseys.us/ . Breaking three of his own world records on his way to winning in Paris, Chan silenced the critics and left the audiences standing in appreciation and awe. Cheap Jaguars Jerseys Free Shipping . Manuel was offered a position the day he was fired. He accepted earlier this week and the team made the announcement Friday. DJ Chark Jersey . -- Sergey Tolchinksy scored his second goal of the game 3:56 into overtime as the Sault Ste.Fernando Alonso does not believe it should come as a surprise that consistent Nico Rosberg is on the brink of beating Lewis Hamilton to F1s world title. For the first time in their four seasons as Mercedes team-mates, Rosberg is on course to beat Hamilton over the course of a full campaign with victory for the German in this Sundays Brazilian GP enough for him to become world champion for the first time.And McLarens Alonso, a double title winner in 2005 and 2006, believes the German has proved himself to be a worthy title contender in his own right. I dont think that anyone thought that the championship was easy for Lewis this year. He didnt even think that way when it started, said Alonso at Interlagos.We know Nico is very consistent and is very strong in some circumstances. Here in Brazil he was winning for the last two years, even if Hamilton was dominating other circuits. So we know that Nico is a very strong driver - and very consistent as well.He normally finishes all the races, [with] many, many podiums, so he will always be a title contender and this year he is even ahead of Hamilton. So lets see what the outcome is. Last season aside, when Hamilton won 10 of the opening 16 races to clinch his second consecutive title with three races to spare, Alonso says the battle at Mercedes has invariably been close.They were quite equal two years ago when the championship was decided in the last race in Abu Dhabi. So they were up and down that year, said the Spaniard.Last year Lewis was much quicker and had the championship [won] with good margin and I think this year Nico was very strong and was more consistent.He had less reliability issues also, Nico, so that was probably a little bit of an advantage. But apart from last yeear, they were always both quite competitive.dddddddddddd.Why Rosberg would be a deserved champ if he wins the titleThe fact Hamiltons title defence has been compromised by several engine failures, notably in Malaysia last month when on course for a comfortable victory, has led some to question whether Rosberg would be a fully-deserving world champion.Jenson Button, Alonsos McLaren team-mate and a former title winner himself, says circumstances have fallen more for Rosberg this year but it still would not dilute the achievement and if you win a world championship youre a worthy champion. However, Button reckons the possibility of a rain-hit weekend in Brazil would mean Rosberg will have to work harder to close it out this weekend.I think this weekend is going to be an interesting one, said Button. If its dry its very easy for him to clinch the title here, but if its wet it really does mix things up.It puts a lot of pressure on both of them if its wet because Lewis knows hes very strong in the wet and he can get a big points haul here. And Nico knows hes got more to lose if its wet.So its tricky in the wet because everythings to play for and one tiny mistake can end in disaster. I hope its wet and its good for Formula 1 if theres a good fight in the wet. Im sure Nico wants it to be dry, but everybody else who watches F1 and is in F1 wants it to be wet. Can Nico Rosberg clinch the title at Interlagos? Watch the Brazilian GP live on Sky Sports F1 on Sunday, the race begins at 4pm; Watch the whole race weekend with a NOW TV week pass - £10.99, no contract Also See: Why Rosberg would be a deserved champ Whens the Brazilian GP on Sky F1? 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