Top 6 World Cup Arenas

1. June 2014 12:59 by Julie Merar in Sports   //  Tags: , ,   //   Comments ()

 

Twelve cities across Brazil will play host to the FIFA World Cup. These cities are located everywhere from the sunny coasts to the depths of the Amazon Rainforest. As such, each arena will present its own unique set of challenges for players. Gameplay is likely to be affected not only by the heat and humidity, but also the hours of travel time in between venues. The Brazil World Cup will certainly be a test of endurance as each team fights for the glory of winning. Here are the top six arenas and the hot matchups they are hosting during the tournament.

6. Arena da Amazonia - Manaus
The city of Manaus is located right in the middle of the Amazon Rainforest, the largest and densest rainforest on Earth. The Arena da Amazonia is actually a refurbished version of the pre-existing Estadio Vivaldao. In order to make the stadium into a tournament-ready arena, the entire venue will be enclosed in a large metal structure with a shape inspired by the woven baskets that are characteristic of the city.

Matches to look out for:
The Arena da Amazonia will host four group matches. The hottest matchup to hit Manaus will likely be the USA and Portugal Group G game on June 22. The United States is in what has been called the "Group of Death" given the extremely high caliber of all the teams. This matchup will be the U.S. team's second after facing off against old rivals Ghana in Natal, and will test the players' endurance after having traveled over six hours by plane.

5. Arena da Baixada - Curitiba
Curitiba is home to one of the oldest arenas being used in the 2014 World Cup. The stadium was originally built in 1914, though it underwent extensive renovations in 1999 and 2012. The city is located in the southern part of the country, just south of the capital Sao Paulo.

Matches to look out for:
The Honduras vs. Ecuador match on June 20 will be interesting to watch as Team Ecuador plays against their old coach Luis Fernando Suarez. After leading Ecuador to a World Cup win in 2006, Suarez will now be forced to play against his old team in Curitiba.

4. Arena de Sao Paulo - Sao Paulo
The largest city in the southern hemisphere, Sao Paulo is located along Brazil's coast. The arena is completely new and will become the home of the local team, Sport Club Corinthians Paulista, after the World Cup is over.

Matches to look out for:
Arena de Sao Paulo will host the opening match on June 12. Brazil will play Croatia in what many may initially view as an easy win for the home team. However, if the Croatians manage to score early, they have a chance of silencing the local fans.

3. Arena Fonte Nova - Salvador
The original capital city of Brazil, Salvador is a port city on the country's east coast. The new World Cup stadium is being built on the site of a demolished stadium originally constructed in 1958. The new arena will include a restaurant, soccer museum and concert venue.

Matches to look out for:
The Netherlands will have a chance to redeem themselves in Salvador after losing to Spain in the finals of the 2012 World Cup. The June 13 match should be intense, as the Oranje get another chance to meet the Red Fury on the pitch.

2. Estadio Nacional de Brasilia - Brasilia
The third stadium to be built in the capital city of Brasilia, the Estadio Nacional has the second-largest capacity of any stadium in the country, capable of holding 68,009 cheering fans. The city is located pretty far inland, meaning the players won't have the luxury of cool sea breezes to fend off the heat.

Matches to look out for:
The Portugal vs. Ghana match is likely to be one of the more interesting games at this stadium. Scheduled for June 26, it will be one of the last games that each team plays during the group match round. If Ghana can hold up after their previous matches better than Portugal, they may have a shot.

1. Estadio do Maracana - Rio de Janeiro
Originally built for the 1950 World Cup, which Brazil also hosted, the Maracana is a huge arena, boasting a total capacity of 73,531. The old structure is undergoing renovations for the 2014 tournament to ensure the facility is completely modernized and able to act as an appropriate host. The facade, however, remains untouched, as it has been recognized by the National Institute of Historical and Artistic Heritage.

Matches to look out for:
The highlight of the Maracana will be the final championship match, played on July 13 in front of what is sure to be a packed house. The stadium is also set to host a quarterfinal on July 4 and a round of 16 game on June 28. While the exact teams set to play in these events are not yet known, they are sure to be exciting matchups heading into the title fight.

Which matchup are you looking forward to? Tell us on Facebook!

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