World Cup 2014

Estadio das Dunas, Natal

Capacity: 42,086

Opened: 2013

Cost: Initially projected at 400 million reals ($180 million), there are reports that construction costs will climb to 1 billion reals ($450 million)

Fixtures: Will host matches in Group A (Mexico vs. Cameroon, June 13), Group G (Ghana vs. USA, June 16), Group C (Greece vs. Japan, June 19) and Group D (Italy vs. Uruguay, June 24).

History: Estadio das Dunas sits on the former site of Estadio Joao Claudio de Vasconcelos Machado, which did not meet FIFA requirements and was demolished to clear the building site for the construction of the 42,086-seat stadium that will serve an area that normally draws around 5,000 people for its club matches. The capacity of the stadium will be reduced by 10,000 following the World Cup.

Designed by noted Australian architecht Christopher Lee, he called the arena “the most perfect stadium in South America.” The project also includes a shopping center, commercial buildings, hotels and an artificial lake surrounding the stadium. The structure is intended to mirror the area’s iconic sand dunes. 

Surrounding area: Enjoy beach living? Book a trip to Natal for the USMNT’s World Cup opener against Ghana and enjoy the miles of white sand beaches. The city is the capital of Rio Grande do Norte and is home to more than a million people, which support two Serie B clubs, America and ABC. Its coastline produces a bounty of seafood, the state is home to the nation's largest salt and petroleum reserves and the sand dunes and buggy rides offered are a major tourist attraction.

Of note: An American airbase was constructed in the city’s suburbs during World War II because of its proximity to Africa. Thousands of American troops were sent to the city on the way to and from the battlefields in North Africa.