While Brazil might be vying to win a record sixth World Cup, the mood around the country’s stadiums was anything but award-winning, the chairman of England’s soccer body said yesterday.

In São Paulo, the streets of Brazil’s biggest city were showing little of the thrill seen at the tournament’s edition four years ago in South Africa, the English Football Association chairman Greg Dyke, said. The possibility of protests during the month-long event and the objection by some Brazilians to public money being spent on sports venues might explain the lack of interest in a country that lives and breathes soccer, he said.

The start of world sport’s most watched event has been marred by threats of street protests and a wave of strikes including subway and museum workers as opposition to the event grows.

A poll released last week by the Pew Research Centre found that 61 percent of Brazilians said hosting the event is bad for the country because it took money away from schools, health care and other services.

Streets in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro were missing the decoration and painting that preceded past tourneys. – Bloomberg