World Cup 2014

Maracana, Rio de Janeiro

Capacity: 75,117

Opened: 1950

Cost: 1 billion reals ($500m) for renovation

History: The famous stadium has undergone an extensive makeover ahead of its moment in the spotlight, including replacing all of the seats and the addition of a new roof. It was received with mixed emotions from followers concerned with the history of the building.

It reopened in April, amid protest, to an exhibition game between the Friends of Ronaldo and Friends of Bebeto. And its first official match was a 2-2 draw between Brazil and England on June 2. It will also be the host stadium for the 2016 Olympic Games.

Fixtures:

  • Argentina vs. Bosnia & Herzegovina, June 15 (Group F)
  • Spain vs. Chile, June 18 (Group B)
  • Belgium vs. Russia, June 22 (Group H)
  • Ecuador vs. France, June 25 (Group E)
  • Round of 16, June 28
  • Quarterfinals, July 4
  • Final, July 13

The city and surrounding area: Rio de Janeiro is a study in contrast. The iconic city flaunts unprecedented luxury as the marquee playground for the rich and famous. The finest restaurants, bars, hotels and beaches can be found in Rio. The historic city is also steeped in culture from its diverse background of 6.3 million people, making it the sixth largest city in the Americas and 26th in the world. Rio’s mystique has inspired novels, movies, songs, poetry, you name it.

But is isn’t all white sand beaches and caipirinhas. There are drastic differences between the city’s rich and poor. One fifth of the city’s inhabitants live in slums called favelas, where housing is not regulated and crime and racism is rampant. Protests over the country’s growing inequality, highlighted by Rio’s significant differences, marked part of the Confederations Cup tournament, seen as a test run to the World Cup.

Marcana is located in the city’s Zona Norte, which is just west of the city center and sprawls for miles inland.

Of note: When inaugurated for the 1950 World Cup, Maracana set a record for the world’s largest stadium by capacity. A crowd of 200,000 reportedly was on hand for the championship match, a 2-1 Uruguay win over Brazil.