Brazil has poured more than $11 billion into making the World Cup a success, but in the 12 cities where the matches will be played, construction delays have meant a last-minute rush to prepare airports, road and stadiums.
Crews in Sao Paulo were still working this week to get the city's World Cup stadium ready in time to host Thursday's opening match between Brazil and Croatia, reports CBS News' Elaine Quijano. The stadium includes thousands of temporary seats and has not been tested with a capacity crowd.
Getting to the stadiums will be a challenge. Brazil's major cities are notorious for constant gridlock, made worse in recent weeks by on-again-off-again transit strikes.
Just days before kickoff , a monorail under construction and behind schedule collapsed, killing one worker.
American professor Chris Gaffney lives in Rio de Janeiro. He's been studying the country's World Cup preparations and its attempts at transformation.
"The sense of being tricked is very strong in Brazil because, of course, people love football, and people love the World Cup as a cultural event," Gaffney said. "But the FIFA event is something new to Brazil, and that has generated a lot of disenchantment."
The disenchantment is playing out on streets across the country. At a protest in Sao Paulo, activists and citizens rallied against the government's World Cup spending.
Activist Danilo Cajazeira said working class fans can't afford the sky high ticket prices to the home team's games, and in the long run most Brazilians won't benefit from the new stadiums.
"People are losing their houses, they are losing their lives, and in the end we are not even able to watch the games, so I think the message is, 'these are not for you,"' Cajazeira said.
On Tuesday night, Brazil's president, Dilma Rousseff, delivered a nationally televised speech defending the games. She said that despite all the protests and strikes, every Brazilian should support their team and country as the team prepares to play their first match.