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Maracana Info and History

The Estádio do Maracanã , officially Estádio Mário Filho, is an open-air stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Owned by the Rio de Janeiro State Government, it is, as the Maracanã neighborhood where it is located, named after the Rio Maracanã, a now canalized river in Rio de Janeiro. It was opened in 1950 to host the FIFA World Cup, and in the final game Brazil was beaten 2-1 by Uruguay. Since then, it has mainly been used for football matches between the major football clubs in Rio de Janeiro, including Botafogo, Flamengo, Fluminense, and Vasco da Gama. It has also hosted a number of concerts and other sporting events. Although the paid attendance at the final game of the 1950 FIFA World Cup was 199,854 (being the world's largest stadium by capacity, when it was inaugurated), the stadium currently seats 78,838 spectators, making it the largest stadium in Brazil and South America. It was the main venue of the 2007 Pan American Games, hosting the football tournament and the opening and closing ceremonies.

The Maracanã was partially rebuilt in preparation for the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, the 2014 World Cup which will be the first one held in Brazil since 1950, and also the 2016 Summer Olympics, and the 2016 Summer Paralympics. The stadium held a test game in April 27, 2013 with teams led by Ronaldo and Bebeto. The first official match is scheduled for June 2, 2013 between England and Brazil National teams.


The official name of the stadium, Mário Filho, was given in honor of an old Carioca journalist, (the brother of Nelson Rodrigues), who was a strong vocal supporter of the construction of Maracanã.

The stadium's popular name is derived from the Maracanã River, whose point of origin is in the jungle covered hills to the west, crossing various bairros (neighborhoods) of Rio's Zona Norte (North Zone) such as Tijuca and São Cristóvão via a canal which features sloping sides constructed of concrete. Upon flowing into the Canal do Mangue, it empties into Guanabara Bay. The name Maracanã derives from the indigenous Tupi–Guarani word for a type of parrot which inhabited the region. The stadium construction was prior to the formation of the Maracanã neighborhood that was once part of Tijuca.


After winning the right to host the 1950 FIFA World Cup, the Brazilian government sought to build a new stadium for the tournament. The plans for the stadium were drawn up by seven Brazilian architects, Miguel Feldman, Waldir Ramos, Raphael Galvão, Oscar Valdetaro, Orlando Azevedo, Antônio Dias Carneiro and Pedro Paulo Bernardes Bastos. The first stone was laid at the site of the stadium on August 2, 1948. With the first World Cup game scheduled to be played on June 24, 1950, this left a little under two years to finish construction. However, work quickly fell behind schedule, prompting FIFA to send Dr. Ottorino Barassi, the head of the Italian FA, who had organized the 1934 World Cup to help in Rio de Janeiro.

The construction of Maracanã was criticized by Carlos Lacerda, then Congressman and political enemy of the mayor of the city, general Ângelo Mendes de Morais, for the expense and for the chosen location for the stadium, arguing that it should be built in the West Zone neighborhood of Jacarepaguá. Still it was supported by journalist Mário Rodrigues Filho, Mendes de Morais was able to move the project forward. At the time, a horse racing arena stood in the chosen area. The competition for the work was opened by municipality of Rio de Janeiro in 1947, with the construction contract awarded by engineer Humberto Menescal, and architectural contract awarded by Michael Feldman, Waldir Ramos, Raphael Galvão, Oscar Valdetaro, Orlando Azevedo, Pedro Paulo Bernardes Bastos, and Antônio Dias Carneiro. The works initiated on August 2, 1948, with the laying of the cornerstone. 1,500 workers constructed the stadium, with an additional two thousand working in the final months. Despite having come into use in 1950, the works were only completed in 1965.

Opening and World Cup 1950

The opening match of the stadium took place on June 16, 1950. Rio de Janeiro All-Stars beat São Paulo All-Stars 3–1; Didi became the player to score the first ever goal at the stadium. Despite hosting a match, the stadium was still unfinished. It lacked toilet facilities and a press stand, and still looked like a building site. It was said that the stadium could house 200,000 standing spectators, overtaking Hampden Park as the largest stadium in the world.[citation needed] Despite the stadium's unfinished state, FIFA allowed matches to be played at the venue, and on June 24, 1950, the first World Cup match took place. Brazil beat Mexico with a final score 4–0, with Ademir becoming the first scorer of a competitive goal at the stadium with his 30th minute strike. 81,000 spectators attended the game.

Built for the 1950 World Cup, the Maracanã's first official match was in that competition on June 24, 1950. The game saw Brazil defeat Mexico 4–0, with two goals from Ademir and one each from Baltasar and Jair. The match was refereed by Englishman George Reader. Five of Brazil's six games at the tournament were played at the Maracanã (the exception being their 2–2 draw with Switzerland).

The Maracanazo

Eventually, Brazil progressed to the final round, facing Uruguay in the final match of the tournament on July 16, 1950. Brazil only needed a draw to finish top of the group, but Uruguay won the game 2–1, shocking and silencing the massive crowd. This defeat on home soil is a significant event in Brazilian history, being known popularly as the Maracanazo. The official attendance of the game was 199,854, with the actual attendance estimated to be about 210,000.

Post 1950 World Cup years

On March 21, 1954 a new official attendance record was set in the game between Brazil and Paraguay, after 183,513 spectators entered the stadium with a ticket and 194,603 (177,656 p.) in Fla-Flu (1963). In 1963, stadium authorities replaced the square goal posts with round ones, but it was still two years before the stadium would be fully completed. In 1965, 17 years after construction began, the stadium was finally finished.

Since the World Cup left Brazil in 1950, the Maracanã Stadium has mainly been used for club games involving four major football clubs in Rio— Vasco, Botafogo, Flamengo and Fluminense. The stadium has also hosted numerous domestic football cup finals, most notably the Copa do Brasil and the Campeonato Carioca.

In September 1966, Mário Rodrigues Filho, a Brazilian journalist, columnist and sports figure, died, leading to the administrators of the stadium renaming the stadium after him to Estádio Jornalista Mário Rodrigues Filho. However, the nickname of Maracanã continued to be used. Mario Rodrigues Filho was a prominent campaigner who was largely responsible for the stadium originally being built. In 1969, Pelé scored the 1,000th goal of his career at the Maracanã against Vasco in front of 65,157 spectators. In 1989, Zico scored his final goal for Flamengo at the Maracanã, taking his goal tally at the stadium to 333, a record that still stands as of 2011.

1990s and 2000s

An upper stand in the stadium collapsed on July 19, 1992, leading to the death of three supporters and 50 more being injured. Following the disaster, the stadium's capacity was greatly reduced as it was converted to an all-seater stadium in the late 1990s. Despite this, the ground was classified as national landmark in 1998, meaning that it could not be demolished. The stadium hosted the first ever FIFA Club World Cup final match between Vasco da Gama and Corinthians, which Corinthians won on penalties.

Following its 50th anniversary in 2000, the stadium underwent renovations which would increase its full capacity to around 103,000. After years of planning and nine months of closure between 2005 and 2006, the stadium was reopened in January 2007 with an all-seated capacity of 82,238.

The stadium is part of a complex that includes an arena known by the name of Maracanãzinho, which means "the Little Maracanã" in Portuguese.

Rebuilding for the World Cup 2014 and the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games

For the 2014 World Cup, a major reconstruction project was accomplished. The original seating bowl, with a two-tier configuration, was demolished, giving way to a new one-tier seating bowl. The new seats are colored yellow, blue and white forming along with the green of the match field, the Brazilian national colors. In addition, the grayish tone returns as the main façade color of the Maracana stadium or estádio do Maracanã.

The original stadium's roof in concrete was demolished and substituted with a fiberglass tensioned membrane coated with Teflon. The new roof will cover 95% of the seats inside the stadium, unlike the former design, where protection was given to some seats in the upper ring and also from the seats of the bleachers above the gate access of each sector. The old boxes level, which were installed above the stands for the 2000 FIFA Club World Cup, were dismantled in the reconstruction process.

On May 30, 2013, a friendly game between Brazil and England scheduled for June 2 was called off by the local justice due to safety concerns related to the stadium. The government of Rio de Janeiro appealed against the decision with the game going ahead as originally planned, the final score being a 2−2 draw.


2014 FIFA World Cup

Date Time (UTC-03) Team #1 Res. Team #2 Round Attendance
June 15, 2014 19:00  Argentina Match 11  Bosnia and Herzegovina Group F  
June 18, 2014 16:00  Spain Match 19  Chile Group B  
June 22, 2014 13:00  Belgium Match 31  Russia Group H  
June 25, 2014 17:00  Ecuador Match 41  France Group E  
June 28, 2014 17:00 Winner Group C Match 50 Runner-up Group D Round of 16  
July 4, 2014 13:00 Winner Match 53 Match 58 Winner Match 54 Quarter-finals  
July 13, 2014 16:00 Winner Match 61 Match 64 Winner Match 62 Final  


Last Updated: Saturday, September 19, 2015


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