SAO PAULO (AP) — From the moment a crane dramatically collapsed at the Sao Paulo stadium, it was clear World Cup organizers would have their hands full trying to deliver all 12 venues by FIFA's end-of-December deadline.
The giant crane buckled when hoisting a 500-ton metal structure that came crushing on top of the stadium, clipping part of the roof and cutting through a huge LED panel that runs across the venue's outer facade.
The ravaged crane was seen resting on the ground outside the stadium, while the enormous metal roofing piece stayed atop part of the stands.
Clearly it wasn't just a minor setback for the venue that will host the 2014 World Cup opener on June 12.
Two workers died in Wednesday's accident, which immediately raised doubts about Brazil's preparedness to host football's showcase event. The timing could not have been worse, putting the country under even more pressure just days before the international footballing community begins arriving for a high-profile World Cup draw.
But as bad as the tragedy was at the Arena Corinthians, Sao Paulo is not the only problem for World Cup organizers just weeks before all stadiums must be delivered.
Actually, work in Sao Paulo was almost finished when the accident happened. It was one of the most advanced venues among the six that must be delivered this year.
The story is different in Curitiba, Cuiaba and the jungle city of Manaus, where there are signs they might not make it in time despite claims by local organizers that all three venues will be ready as expected.
FIFA says it will have a better idea of what will be delivered next week, just ahead of Friday's World Cup draw in Costa do Sauipe.
"Next week the preliminary updates on the operations of the 2014 FIFA World Cup will be provided for all operational and infrastructural areas," football's governing body said. "Following these assessments and presentations FIFA will provide an update."
Skepticism about Brazil's ability to deliver the stadiums intensified after organizers failed to keep their promise ahead of the Confederations Cup, when only two of the six venues were completed by the original FIFA deadline. FIFA made it clear it would not tolerate the same delays that plagued the warm-up tournament and, with about 1 million tickets already sold, football's governing body says there is no Plan B for the World Cup.
"Further inspections and assessments will occur in December and January to assess the stadiums, along with the months leading up to the FIFA World Cup," FIFA said.