SALVADOR, Brazil (AP) — Wire stadium fences were being unfolded, new X-ray security machines were being unpacked at entrances and clouds of dust billowed across roads leading to the World Cup venue.
There appeared to be a desperate sense of urgency among construction workers as Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador was being prepared to host a Group B game on Friday, a rematch of Spain's victory over the Netherlands in the 2010 final.
The work in progress on Thursday suggested that everything might not be ready in time.
"That is the Brazilian style," says Maria Flavio, a volunteer working at a media gate. "We leave everything for the last moment."
Salvador, Brazil's third-largest city after Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, will host six World Cup matches at the 52,000-capacity stadium which was one of the venues used in last year's Confederations Cup.
The stadium's construction was plagued by delays, and a small part of its roof collapsed last year following heavy rain less than three weeks before the World Cup warm-up tournament.
The modern-looking stadium at the foot of a favela hillside slum looked like a big construction site Thursday.
But it is not the only stadium in Brazil plagued by construction delays. FIFA has criticized Brazil over the late-running preparations, including the construction of promised road and airports.
"We will get this done, maybe not tomorrow, but by the end of the World Cup for sure," said jokingly a construction worker who identified himself as Joao. He was putting up one of several new metal light poles next to the Salvador arena's VIP entrance.
The old Fonte Nova was demolished in 2010 to mae way for the new arena.
The other group matches to be played at the stadium are Germany vs. Portugal on June 16, Switzerland vs. France on June 20, and Bosnia vs. Iran on June 25.
The Fonte Nova will also host a match in the second round on July 1 and a quarterfinal match on July 5.