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FIFA World Cup: Floods hit Recife before US-Germany showdown

Recife: Flooding hit the northeastern Brazilian city hosting the crunch US-Germany World Cup clash yesterday, blocking roads and forcing cars to slow through rising water.

But the Pernambuco Arena in Recife was not affected and three buses carrying relatives of the German team arrived there without problem, a civil defense spokeswoman, Fabia Gomes, told AFP.

Gomes said the heavy rain began Wednesday and could last until Friday.

"There are flooded locations and traffic is slower because of the rain, but it's not a generalized situation," she said.

An AFP correspondent described driving conditions as difficult with puddles reaching above wheel height in places, forcing cars to slow to a snail's pace.

About 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the stadium, some USA fans were spotted trying to hitch-hike to the Arena, following reports of major traffic congestion.

Police were controlling traffic to improve the flow in an apparent effort to allow all cars heading to the stadium slightly easier access.

However, on a key road leading to the stadium only accredited vehicles seemed able to pass.

Germany and the United States were due to kick off at 1600 GMT in a final Group G game that will decide whether both head to the last-16 round.

Group rivals Ghana and Portugal play simultaneously in Brasilia.

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