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French and German fans race to game after airport closure

By Jeb Blount

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Fog closed a downtown airport in Rio for more than four hours on Friday morning, delaying arrivals for scores of French and German fans streaming into the city for a quarter-final match in the early afternoon.

The weather forced the cancellation of more than two dozen flights and delayed even more, according to a midday report by state airport operator Infraero.

Dozens of fans raced off the first flights landing at the Santos Dumont Airport and scurried to catch cross-town cab rides to the Maracana stadium, where the game was set to kickoff in less than two hours.

"We're very nervous but we think we can still make it," said Raimundo Neto, a jersey-clad German supporter arriving from Belo Horizonte with his family. "We're probably the lucky ones."

Several flights scheduled to arrive at Santos Dumont, a domestic airport, were also rerouted to Galeao International Airport in the far northern reaches of the city.

Weather has been the number one enemy for traveling fans in the host cities of Rio, Curitiba and Porto Alegre.

"You can't really blame the airline for this," said Thorsten Czech, a fan from Munich with tickets to Friday's game who had waited more than an hour for a friend to arrive at Santos Dumont.

(Additional reporting by Brad Haynes and Caroline Stauffer, Editing by Nigel Hunt)

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