World Cup Venues – A Virtual Tour
When Brazil won the bidding in 2007 unopposed, due to withdrawal of Colombia from the host selection process, FIFA urged the South American nation to host the cup in eight locations, but Brazil insisted they’d need twelve venues to include all the regions of the nation in the mega event. Eighteen cities expressed interest in hosting, Maceio withdrew, and applications from Belem, Campo Grande, Florianopolis, Goiania and Rio Branco were rejected.
The Cities and Stadiums that host the 2014 World Cup Matches at Brazil
FIFA announced the following twelve cities as the venues for 2014 FIFA World Cup
Sao Paulo, the largest city of the southern hemisphere, is also the financial headquarter of the nation. The city is a true metropolitan and is home to stock exchanges, future market, Formula One Grand Prix, fashion week, aquarium and zoo amidst some of the nation’s tallest buildings, museums and monuments. A string of events is held throughout the year including, the city’s own version of Carnaval, a biennial art gathering, Cultural Turn, FILE – Electronic Language International Festival, film festivals, trade shows, music, game and food fairs to name a few. Numerous parks, monuments and museums are present to quench the thirst of tourists the city attracts from all over the world
Arena Corinthians is the most controversial stadium of the tournament due to its chronic delays and construction overspending, Arena Corinthians or Arena de Sao Paulo is scheduled to host a semi-final, a round of 16 encounter and four group games including the Cup opener, with a stadium capacity of 61,606. Owned by the local club Corinthians, the stadium is purpose built for the 2014 World Cup. The construction of the stadium hit some major roadblocks when an unfortunate accident caused deaths of two workers, another fatally injured in a separate incident
Corinthians, Palmeiras and Sao Paulo FC are the biggest clubs in Sao Paulo and Roberto Carlos and Cafu plied their trade in the city
The construction of the Coastal Highway, Via Costeira, put the picturesque sand dunes on Natal on the tourist map of Brazil prominently since the 80’s. The Fortress of Three Kings (Fortaleza dos Reis Magos) and The Newton Navarro Bridge would top the grand list of picturesque locations that include the coral reef of Maracajau and the Ponta Negra beach.
Natal is home to one of the largest off-season carnivals of Brazil, dubbed as Carnatal, which takes place in the streets around the location of the World Cup stadium, Arena das Dunas.
The name of the stadium and its architecture are inspired from the iconic Genipabu dunes, the posh region with a freshwater lagoon, tourist resorts, the best hotels and is famous for its multi themed buggy rides. The existing Machadao stadium has been replaced by the new stadium, with a capacity of 45,000, to serve the needs of the World Cup.
Marinho Chagas, one of the best brazilian left backs of the 70s briefly played here.
Salvador of Bahia is the party capital of Brazil, hosting the world’s largest carnival. Wedged between the Atlantic Ocean and the All Saints Bay, it boasts the longest stretch of beaches in the nation and one in particular, the Porto da Barra is arguably the best in Brazil. Salvador was the slave center trade center of South America and possesses strong African influence in its traditions, culture and food. The internationally renowned cuisine is made up of an amalgam of seafood and African ingredients.
Rebuilt on the original Fonte Nova location, Arena Fonte Nova, with a capacity of 50,000 viewers, will feature some of the blockbuster matches of the group stage including the repeat of 2010 final between Spain and Netherlands and the crucial Group G encounter Germany vs Portugal.
Former Brazilian forward Bebeto, goalkeeper Dida and current defender Dante are some of the prominent footballing names from Salvador.
The southern gateway of the Amazon, Cuiaba, is another culturally diverse cities in Brazil. The cowboy hats are in vogue here due to its history of being at the center of Brazilian gold rush. Although the World Cup season would be relatively cooler, Cuiaba sports hot and humid tropical climate due to its vicinity to rainforest. The city’s culture is highly influenced on a combination of Portuguese, African and native Indian influences and the resultant cuisine, music and crafts are renowned.
Although Cuiaba is a remote city with no footballing tradition to speak of, it’s chosen to represent the inclusiveness of all the regions of Brazil in the World Cup. A brand new adaptable multi-purpose stadium has been built with a capacity of 39,859, with primary theme of reusability so as not to affect the flora and fauna widespread in the region. Arena Pantanal is scheduled to host four group games.
Belo Horizonte, literally Beautiful Horizon, is notoriously famous for its Minas Gerais food and cachaca drink and is dubbed as the “neighborhood bar capital” of the world. The Comida di Buteco food festival, held annually, is very well known. Although on the heavier side, tasting an assortment of appetizers on offer forms a ritualistic tradition of visiting Belo Horizonte. Completely surrounded by mountains, the city features a number of parks, museums and a mixture of contemporary and classical architecture on display.
One of the largest stadiums in the world, Estadio Mineirao has been renovated extensively for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The revamp followed a theme of sustainability while the pitch has been lowered to improve visibility. Once boasted a capacity in excess of 130,000, the current occupancy has been reduced to a comfortable 62,160. It will host six World Cup games including a round of 16 and a semi-final.
Adriano, Afonso Alves and Bigode are some of the famous footballers from the city.
Owing to its climatic conditions, Recife is bound to be the wettest hosting city in this edition of the World Cup, the city’s tropical monsoon climate receives its highest rainfall in June and July. Also, Recife is notorious for its high crime rate but the recent improvements in tourism have curbed that threat significantly.
Recife boasts of one of the best beaches of the nation, Porto de Galinhas, and is also one of the top industrial and medical centers. Two rivers Beberibe and Capibaribe meet at Recife and a few islands, numerous canals and bridges are found in the city, giving it a moniker “Brazilian Venice”. Recife is also famous for its cuisine, tropical beaches and historical monuments.
A new stadium was purpose built for the World Cup at Recife but the significance is that a 1MW solar power plant was implemented in Arena Pernambuco which would serve the needs of at least 6000 people after the World Cup. The stadium will have a capacity of 46,154 members and would be used by the local club Nautico and will host four group games and a round of 16 encounter.
Some top footballers like Juninho, Vava, Hernanes and Rivaldo hail from Recife.
Fortaleza, the Fortress, is the capital of Ceara, the Land of Light. It is the center of the ongoing protests in Brazil and has witnessed police-protester clashes during the 2013 Confederations Cup. The city features an amazing 25 km of urban beaches such as Iracema, a bohemian beach with nightclubs and bars, while Mucuripe is one with fishing culture and Pedra da Riska do Meio State Marine Park features Scuba Diving. A typical Fortalezense cuisine is served through a string of posh restaurants that mushroomed with the raise of tourism in the city and has established a name for its renowned nightclubs.
With a capacity of 67,037 visitors, the renovated Estadio Placido Aderaldo Castelo will host four group games, a round of 16 encounter and a quarter-final game. It is the World Cup host stadium to be completed and hosts the local clubs Ceara and Fortaleza during the Brazilian season. The revamp of the stadium has concentrated on minimizing the impact of heat on spectators and players to make them comfortable.
Welcome to the Amazon. Manaus is located in the middle of the largest rainforest in the world and it is situated where the River Negro meets another tributary of Amazon, RIver Solimoes. Manaus attracts hordes of adventurous fans owing to its location and to reach there easily one would need to take a boat or a plane. Apart from the flora and fauna, the Manaus Carnival in February, the Dance, Music and Opera festivities during May and June, the film festival in November are must see reasons to visit Manaus. The boat rides, jungle lodges and river cruises form an essential part of the tourism while the meeting of the two rivers is absolutely a delight to watch.
The stadium is an elaborate steel structure in the shape of a woven basket, depicting the straw basket found and used natively. The existing stadium Vivaldao was demolished and the new stadium was constructed reusing most of the material. Plant screens were equipped inside the stadium to control the almost unbearable temperatures of Amazon. The stadium supports 42, 374 fans during the tourney and would play host to four of the group games.
Brasilia is a well planned city built to serve as the new capital of the nation. The modernistic architecture, designed by renowned architects Oscar Niemeyer and Lucio Costa, divides the city into different activity based sectors with elaborate landscape and well divided blocks. The architecture earned the whole city the status of UNESCO World Heritage Site. A string of historical sites and museums, architecturally rich buildings such as the Cathedral of Brasilia, Juscelino Kubitschek Bridge and most of the official federal buildings, would make visiting Brasilia a delightful experience.
Named after arguably the best footballer Brazil have ever produced, the stadium was built in 1974 and renovated for the 2014 World Cup. Estadio Nacional Mane Garrincha is a multi-purpose stadium, with a capacity of 68,009, and often hosts concerts, shows and exhibitions and is home to Brasilia FC. The stadium is scheduled to host seven World Cup games including the third place playoff.
Kaka was born in Gama, a satellite city to Brasilia.
The capital city of the Brazil’s southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre is a strikingly beautiful city situated on the eastern banks of Lake Guiaba, where five rivers meet to form a large coastal lagoon, Lagoa dos Patos. The picturesque sunset best viewed from over a boat is one of the most famous tourist attractions of the city. The region features an exclusive ecosystem with its unique archipelago, punctuated by the hills surrounding the coastline makes it a spectacular sight to behold. Porto Alegre is well known for its extensive nightlife with a range of clubs, pubs and restaurants and during the World Cup months would sport a pleasant chilly climate diverse from the other venues. A string of theaters and galleries, parks and reserves, monuments and museums makes it one of the must visit places in Brazil.
Situated beside the Rio Guiaba, Estadio Beiro-Rio or the Riverside Stadium is well known for the support of the fans and enthusiasts, who contributed the building supplies during its construction in the 1960s. The stadium, also known as the Giant of Beira-Rio, was renovated for the World Cup to hold a capacity crowd of 51,300 is the only privately owned stadium of the tourney and also houses a chapel, several stores and bars and an event center in the complex, the stadium is scheduled to host five World Cup games.
Famous footballer Ronaldinho and the current manager Luiz Felipe Scolari hail from the city.
Rio de Janeiro
Erstwhile capital of Portuguese Royal Crown, Rio de Janeiro (literally January River) oozes of rich heritage, culture and history. Millions of tourists visit Rio’s world famous beaches and the natural settings and parts of the city are designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Christ the Redeemer statue on the Corcovado mountain, the cable car ride over the Sugarloaf, the Carnival parade along the Sambodromo are some of the must-watch attractions of the city. Carioca, demonym for the locals of the city, immerse themselves in extravagant samba, bossa nova and funk carioca styles of music, making the city the cultural hub of South America.
Rio’s Estadio do Maracana is the most famous stadium in Brazil, second largest in size, it had once witnessed close to 200,000 viewers during the 1950 World Cup final game, dubbed as the Maracanazo for the heartbreak the nation suffered when they lost the match and subsequently the World Cup to Uruguay. Named after the River Maracana, the stadium hosts matches of local clubs Botafago, Fluminense, Vasco and Flamingo and Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Zizinho, Zico and Garrincha are some of the legends who graced the pitch.
Maracena, which holds 78,838 viewers during the tournament, will feature the 2014 World Cup Final on July 13 along with four group games, a round of 16 game and a quarter-final. The city is expected to be cool but humid during June and July.
Curitiba, which literally means The Pine Nut Land, is significant for its cultural heritage and is one of the industrial hubs of Latin America with a buzzing economy. Situated on a plateau, 932 meters above sea level, it is one of the coldest regions of Brazil, even experiencing a rare snowfall. The city features numerous attractions that would honor foreign immigrants and is the second largest car manufacturer of the nation. It hosts various festivals, museums and cultural events with an emphasis on arts and entertainment. Curitiba is regarded as one of the prettiest and desirable cities to live in Brazil.
The oldest stadium to host the World Cup matches in this tourney, Arena da Baixada was first used in 1914. The old stadium was demolished and reconstructed in the 90s and is the penultimate stadium in this World Cup to be ready after some chronic delays during the renovation process. Arena da Baixada would feature an expanded capacity of 43,900 during the tournament and would host four group games.