Blatter: South African stadiums better than Europe

JOHANNESBURG - FIFA president Sepp Blatter lavished praise on South Africa's World Cup stadiums on Thursday, saying they were better than in Europe.

"These stadiums are jewels from the architectural point of view, they are really, really good stadiums," he told reporters.

"Wherever the spectators are in the stadium, they have a complete view of the pitch.

"There is not one single European country which has so many good and high level stadiums as the ones which are here in South Africa."

Blatter expressed hope that former South African president Nelson Mandela would be present at Sunday's final between Spain and Netherlands.

"If he can come to the stadium, it will be good," he said. "Whether he can stay for the whole final, I do not know.

"He has had the trophy in his hands in Zurich in 2004 and it would be a wonderful moment for him, for football, for Africa, if this could be a possibility."

Despite a tournament marred by some play-acting and occasional refereeing controversies, Blatter praised the behaviour of the players.

"The fair play of the players is a compliment to the teams and coaches because the statistics have shown that there are less injuries and this is very important, there have been less yellow and red cards, the players have been respectful to their opponents.

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