Named after one of the greatest players in the history of Brazilian football, and the fifth 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ stadium to be completed and handed over, the Estadio Nacional de Brasilia Mane Garrincha was officially opened on Saturday. The stadium will host the opening match of the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 between Brazil and Japan on 15 June.
Attending the ceremony, which took place before the Federal District league championship final between Brasilia and Brasiliense, were the President of Brazil Dilma Rousseff, Brazilian Minister of Sport Aldo Rebelo, the Governor of the Federal District of Brasilia Agnelo Queiroz and the CEO of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Organising Committee (LOC) Ricardo Trade.
FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter, who was unable to attend the opening, sent a message of congratulations addressed, in particular, to the people of Brazil.
“There are some amazing stadiums that have taken shape, changing the face of Brazil’s football infrastructure and creating a legacy that will extend beyond the final whistle,” said Blatter. “The Estadio Nacional de Brasilia Mane Garrincha is one of these stadiums, a tribute to a true FIFA World Cup legend. I can still recall his incredible play in 1958 and in 1962 in particular. They were unforgettable moments. There are few Brazilian cities that can match Brasilia when it comes to architecture, and this impressive new stadium is a reflection of that.”
The Brazilian President also spoke of the talent of the two-time world champion Garrincha, who died in 1983.
“We are making a historic tribute to Mane Garrincha, a great Brazilian athlete,” said Rousseff. “This tribute, here in our country’s capital, is long overdue and deserved, and it is paid to a sportsman who was a genius in the art of football.”
As well as Saturday’s match, the Estadio Nacional de Brasilia Mane Garrincha will host another test event on 26 May, when Santos and Flamengo face off on matchday one of the Brazilian championship.
“Today Brasilia is handing over the most beautiful of the FIFA Confederations Cup and FIFA World Cup stadiums to its residents, Brazil and the world,” commented Rebelo. “This monument to sport and football is every bit as impressive as the buildings that brought to fruition Brasilia’s dream of becoming a capital of national unity, integration and development.”
Governor Queiroz praised the monumental scale of the stadium, which, with its 288 pillars – each standing 36 metres high – is a landmark on the Brasilia skyline.
“This is more than a stadium,” he went on to say. “It is a monument erected in the heart of the city and blending in harmoniously with the other buildings that make up the open-air museum that is Brasilia. We will be here again next month for the match between Brazil and Japan, which will open the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013.”
In addition to the opening game of next month’s Festival of Champions, the Estadio Nacional will stage seven matches at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil: four group-phase games, one Round-of-16 tie, a quarter-final and the Match for Third Place.