It’s an enchanting view of an enchanting city, and it’s one you could see if you peak out of the aeroplane window on your way to the FIFA Confederations Cup or next year’s FIFA World Cup™ - one from the beautiful blue skies down on to Rio Janeiro. Conspicuous on the picture is, of course, one of the world’s most iconic stadiums: the Estadio Mario Filho or, as it is better known, the Maracana.
It was initially built for the fourth FIFA World Cup in 1950, and staged Brazil’s exhilarating thrashings of Sweden and Spain in the final round – 7-1 and 6-1 respectively – which left them requiring just a point in what was effectively a decider against Uruguay. Unfortunately for the masses in attendance at the Maracana, they witnessed La Celeste stage a stunning 2-1 comeback victory.
The Maracana was recently renovated ahead of Brazil 2013, and it reopened in spectacular style last month, with the Friends of Ronaldo beating the Friends of Bebeto 8-5 in a thrilling exhibition match.
“The reopening of the Maracana marks a very special moment for a stadium with so much history and such an aura,” said FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter. “It’s every fan’s dream to watch a game in this footballing temple at least once in their lifetime."