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World Cup Stadium GuideEdit

Estadio do Maracana
City: Rio de Janeiro
Year of completion: 1950
Capacity: 76,804

The showpiece venue for the 2014 World Cup, the famous Maracana will provide the setting for the final on July 13 where the finest players of their generation will look to write another chapter into the stadium's remarkable history.

In a city that boasts the statue of Christ the Redeemer, Sugarloaf Mountain and the Rio carnival, the Maracana comfortably holds its own as one of Brazil's most iconic tourist attractions and is visited by thousands of football fans each year.

The venue played host to one of the most memorable and dramatic matches ever played - the final of the 1950 World Cup, where Uruguay shocked hosts Brazil 2-1 in front of  just short of 200,000 spectators.

It was built for that tournament, and has since become one of the most legendary grounds in the world.

Officially named after journalist Mario Filho, but better known as the Maracana, the venue has undergone an extensive refurbishment to update it in time for this year's global gathering, although organisers have been keen to avoid tampering too much with its iconic design, with the original facade officially listed as an artistic and historical heritage landmark.

The Maracana will host seven matches in total, including the 2014 final - more than any other stadium.  


Arena Amazonia

City: Manaus
Year of completion: 2014
Capacity: 42,374

Situated in Manaus, northern Brazil, the Arena Amazonia is located just five kilometres from the Rio Negro tributary of the Amazon river, deep in the rain forest.

Work started on the stadium in early 2011, on the site of the former Estadio Vivaldao, which was demolished in March 2010. Originally due to be completed in December 2013  the project was beset by delays, with construction also overshadowed by the death of three workers.

Back in December, two construction workers died on the site just hours apart after one fell from a height of around 35 metres and a second suffered a heart attack. A third man was killed after being hit by a crane in February.

The purpose-built stadium is enclosed by a metal structure, the design of which is intended to resemble a traditional indigenous straw basket, famous in the region.

The arena will host four group-stage matches at the World Cup - the high-profile Group D clash between England and Italy, as well as the Group A clash between Cameroon and Croatia, USA v Portugal in Group G and Honduras' match with Switzerland in Group E.

It has been built with sustainability in mind, with Amazon rainwater set to be collected for use in the stadium's sanitation system and to water the pitch, while solar energy will help to power the associated facilities.

After World Cup 2014, the stadium will be used by a number of local Brazilian sides, including Nacional of Serie D.




Estadio Castelao
City: Fortaleza
Year of completion: 1973
Capacity: 64,846

Situated in Fortaleza, on the north-east coast of Brazil, the Estadio Castelao is in the country's fifth-largest city in an area that boasts 25 miles of beaches.

First built in 1973, the stadium has been completely revamped for the finals and will host six World Cup 2014 games, including four group matches.

The highlights will be Brazil's second group match against Mexico, a second-round clash which could feature Spain, Holland, the tournament hosts or Croatia and the first quarter-final - a potential encounter between the Selecao and either England or Italy.

Officially known as Estadio Governador Placido Castelo, the arena hosted three matches at the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup - two group games and Spain's penalty shootout win over Italy at the semi-final stage, all of which saw attendances of over 50,000, marking the second highest average attendance of all the tournament's host venues, after Rio de Janeiro's Maracana.

Teams can expect a superb playing surface after the Estadio Castelao pitch won the award for the best on show at the Confederations Cup, quite an achievement given the tropical climate of Fortaleza.

The stadium is home to Ceara Sporting Club in the Brazilian second tier and was the first of the 12 World Cup venues to be completed and ready for matches.




Estadio das Dunas
City: Natal
Year of completion: 2013
Capacity: 42,086

The 42,000-seater 'Stadium of the Dunes' represents one of the most eye-catching on show at the 2014 World Cup and is so named after the region's impressive sand dunes - a feature reflected in the undulating structure of the stadium's roof design.

Located in Natal, the north-eastern capital of the Rio Grande state, the city is the closest to Europe of any in the Americas and with an average of 300 days of sunshine a year is nicknamed 'Sun City'.

A stadium has stood on the site since 1972, but the existing Machadao venue and the neighbouring Machadinho sports hall were demolished to make way for a new purpose-built arena.

The Estadio das Dunas was officially opened in January 2014, following completion of the majority of the construction work a month earlier.

The venue will host four matches at the World Cup, starting with Mexico v Cameroon in Group A. Ghana v USA from Group G and the Group C meeting between Japan and Greece will follow, before the venue's final match between Italy and Uruguay, winners of six World Cups between them.

Football is hugely popular in the region, with Alecrim FC, America FC and ABC FC the three local teams. The latter two have a more successful history and are the city's big rivals.

Although the arena now boasts an impressive array of facilities, annoyance at its reported cost of more than 400million Brazilian real (£100million) and the anti-World Cup protests in Natal have reflected the mixed feelings of the local population.




Arena Pernambuco
City: Recife
Year of completion: 2013
Capacity: 44,248

The city of Recife on the north-east coast of Brazil is home to this new stadium built especially for the World Cup.

The 44,000-capacity structure was built partly with the aim of helping to regenerate a region that has traditionally been deprived, and it is hoped that the five matches at the 2014 World Cup will make a significant contribution to leaving a real legacy for the local area.

Among the matches, the highlight is a meeting between USA and Germany, which will see America coach Jurgen Klinsmann go up against the country he won the World Cup with as a player in 1990, and later went on to manage.

In addition, the stadium will also host a second-round clash between the winners of Group D - featuring Italy, Uruguay, England and Costa Rica - against the runners-up in Group C, which will be one of Colombia, Greece, Ivory Coast and Japan.

Football is a huge part of the region's culture, with Recife having been one of the six host cities for the 1950 World Cup.

Officially opened in May 2013, the stadium hosted three matches at last year's Confederations Cup, with a total of 18 goals scored at the venue.

The arena was praised for a distinctive atmosphere during the tournament, due to the close proximity between the crowd and pitch.

The stadium also contains a solar power plant as part of a sustainable research and development program, which it is claimed will generate electricity for as many as 6,000 of the local population.




Arena Fonte Nova
City: Salvador
Year of completion: 2013
Capacity: 48,747

Despite being one of the newly-built stadiums in use at the 2014 World Cup, there are shades of history about the Arena Fonte Nova.

The arena is built on the site of the Complexo Esportivo Cultural Professor Octavio Mangabeira - named after a notable engineer, teacher and politician of the Bahia region - which stood from 1951 to 2010.

The Fonte Nova has been modelled on its predecessor, and will bring several high-profile matches to the east-coast city of Salvador - Brazil's first capital.

Now with a capacity of around 50,000, the venue will host six games at the 2014 showpiece, including a repeat of the 2010 final as Spain take on the Netherlands. In addition, Germany, Portugal and France all feature, as well as a round-of-16 match and a possible Spain-Italy quarter-final.

The structure is a public-private joint venture, with a big emphasis on sustainability - such as the use of recycled materials. It will also be one of the venues for the football at the 2016 Olympics.

The stadium hosted three matches at the World Cup warm-up, the 2013 Confederations Cup - where Brazil beat Italy, Uruguay triumphed over Nigeria and Italy claimed a tense penalty shootout win over Uruguay to seal third place.




Arena Pantanal
City: Cuiaba
Year of completion: 2014
Capacity: 42,968

Situated in Cuiaba, the city known as the exact centre of South America, fans and players alike can expect sweltering conditions in what is the hottest state capital of Brazil and one of the world's largest wetland areas.

While the 42,000-capacity stadium is one of the last to be finished, it should hopefully prove to be worth the wait.

Incorporating the area's rich variety of flora and fauna into the design of the surrounding areas, the eye-catching stadium has gained the appropriate nickname of O Verdao (The Big Green).

The Arena Pantanal, which occupies the site where the Estadio Jose Fragelli used to be, will host four matches at the World Cup, with Chile set to face Australia before Russia play South Korea, Nigeria meet Bosnia-Herzegovina and Japan take on Colombia in Group C.

The Mato Grosso region is populated by a number of local clubs, including the successful Mixto Esporte Clube and their rivals Cuiaba Esporte Clube. Both could take advantage of the new venue after the World Cup has finished, with the stadium also featuring an adaptable structure, which can be reduced in size as necessary.

The construction of the venue has encountered problems and delays, with a fire on the site in October holding up the project amid reports of structural damage.




Estadio Nacional
City: Brasilia
Year of completion: 2012
Capacity: 68,009

Fully titled the Estadio Nacional Mane Garrincha - named after the Brazilian football icon and double World Cup winner - the 68,009-capacity stadium is situated in Brasilia, the nation's federal capital.

The new sustainable structure was built in 2012, two years after the old Estadio Nacional was almost completely demolished, and represents one of the most architecturally stunning of all the 2014 World Cup venues.

Apparently inspired by the work of Oscar Niemeyer, one of the country’s most celebrated architects whose influence is felt throughout the city of Brasilia, the stadium features 288 pillars that hold up the roof as well as a lowered pitch to create unobstructed views.

Estadio Nacional will host seven matches in total, including the hosts' final group match against Cameroon before a second-round tie and a potential quarter-final match featuring one of the tournament favourites, Argentina. It will also host the tournament's penultimate match - the dreaded third-place play-off.

The venue was used for the opening match of the 2013 Confederations Cup - Brazil’s victory over Japan in which player of the tournament Neymar scored in a 3-0 win - and it will also host Olympic football in 2016.

It ranks as one of the country’s most modern venues but that cutting edge came at a high price, reportedly costing more than 1 billion Brazilian real (£250million), far exceeding the original 688million (£172million) budget.




Estadio Mineirao
City: Belo Horizonte
Year of completion:  1965
Capacity: 62,547

One of the oldest stadiums to be used at this year’s World Cup, the Estadio Mineirao boasts plenty of history and provides a fitting backdrop for some of the greatest players on the planet to show off their talents.

Originally built in 1965 - and known for its passionate crowds - the stadium is the home of two of Brazil's most famous clubs in the shape of Atletico Mineiro and Cruzeiro and has hosted legends of the game such as Ronaldo and Tostao down the years.

The city itself also has a rich footballing pedigree, with Belo Horizonte one of the six cities used for the 1950 World Cup, won by Uruguay.

Originally boasting a much larger capacity - the record attendance at the ground is believed to be over 132,000, set in 1997 - to make it fit for purpose for this year's tournament, an extensive makeover was launched, including lowering the pitch, reconstructing the bottom tier and extending the roof.

The venue will witness Brazil's arch-rivals Argentina in action in their Group F clash with Iran, while also hosting group matches for Colombia, Belgium and England.

In addition, it could potentially see Brazil play the Netherlands in last 16 and will also be the scene of the first semi-final of the tournament. 

 

Arena de Sao Paulo
City: Sao Paulo
Year of completion: 2014
Capacity: 65,807

The eyes of the world will be on the Arena de Sao Paulo - otherwise known as the Arena Corinthians - when it hosts the opening game of the 2014 finals between Brazil and Croatia on June 12.

However, the stadium has been in the spotlight for less desirable reasons in the build-up to the World Cup.

The subject of plenty of wrangling in the initial design and scoping stage, the construction of the Arena de Sao Paulo made international headlines in November 2013 when an accident involving a crane resulted in a partial collapse of the east building, killing two workers.

It was also one of the stadiums that missed the FIFA-imposed deadline of December 2013 for completion, with final construction pushed back to April 2014.

As well as Brazil's high-profile opener against Croatia, the stadium will host group matches for Uruguay against England, the Netherlands' fixture with Chile and Belgium's battle with South Korea, together with a last-16 clash and one of the semi-finals.

Sao Paulo itself is one of the most populated cities in the world and has a rich footballing history, with Sao Paulo, Corinthians and Palmeiras boasting 19 national titles between them.

Corinthians will inherit the stadium after the tournament, with 20,000 temporary seats set to be removed to make it suitable for club football.




Arena da Baixada
City: Curitiba
Year of completion: 1914
Capacity: 41,456

The city of Curitiba is the setting for the Arena da Baixada, trumpeted by organisers as one of the most modern stadiums in Brazil.

The term Baixada means 'lowland' in Portuguese, with the stadium named in honour of the lower, wetter suburbs in which it is located - an area called Agua Verde, meaning 'Green Water'.

First built back in 1914, the stadium has undergone a series of renovations, with the latest set of improvements designed to bring it up to speed for the 2014 finals, as well as increasing the capacity to over 40,000.

However, Curitiba very nearly missed out on its moment in the spotlight after FIFA threatened to take games away from the city following a missed deadline for construction work to be completed.

FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke had publicly expressed his concern at a string of delays that meant building work fell way behind schedule, and it was not until February this year that a final decision was taken that the Arena da Baixada would be allowed to host its scheduled games.

The venue will be the setting for the Group F match between Iran and Nigeria, as well as Honduras v Ecuador from Group E, Spain's Group B game with Australia and the Group H encounter between Algeria and Russia.

At a reported cost of only 180million Brazilian real (£45million) the construction cost is the lowest of all the venues at the World Cup, largely due to the fact that the stadium is privately owned.




Estadio Beira-Rio
City: Porto Alegre
Year of completion: 1969
Capacity: 48,849

Another of Brazil's historic stadiums that has undergone an extensive updating programme for the World Cup, the Estadio Beira-Rio was first opened in 1969.

The home of Internacional - one of the most famous clubs in Brazil - the venue is used to hosting high-profile fixtures, having regularly witnessed the fierce local derby between Internacional and neighbours Gremio, as well as four Copa Libertadores finals.

Estadio Beira-Rio – known by Brazilians as ‘The Giant of Beira-Rio’ - replaced Internacional's previous stadium, the Estadio dos Eucaliptos, a host stadium of the 1950 World Cup.

Local legend has it that the club's fans played an integral part in the stadium's construction, donating bricks, cement and iron to the cause, as well as their own labour.

Situated on the picturesque banks of the River Guaiba, the Estadio Beira-Rio will host five World Cup games at this year's tournament, including France versus Honduras, Australia against the Netherlands, Nigeria's Group F clash with Argentina and South Korea versus Algeria.

There is also the potential of a last-16 tie likely involving Germany or Portugal.