Four of Brazil's biggest and most popular clubs are based in the Cidade Maravilhosa: Botafogo, Fluminense, Vasco da Gama and Flamengo, the club with the country's biggest fan base, of over 30 million aficionados.
Football is like a religion for the cariocas, and its temple is undoubtedly the mythical state-owned Maracana, arguably the most famous and once the largest stadium in the world. Officially named Mario Filho Stadium, after a famous sports journalist, the Maracana was inaugurated shortly before the 1950 FIFA World Cup in Brazil and hosted five of the home country's six matches in that competition, including the fateful 1-2 loss to Uruguay in the final match of the tournament. The resounding defeat on 16 July 1950 - dubbed Maracanazo by world champions Uruguay - was to be forever remembered as a national disaster in Brazil.
The Maracana has been completely renewed for the FIFA World Cup, in order to offer absolute comfort while still being the largest stadium in Brazil as a 75,117-seater.
The Engenhão, which was built as a venue for the Pan-American Games in 2007 and will be used in the 2016 Olympic Games, is the home ground of Botafogo. Vasco owns the São Januário, a stadium built in the 1920s that was the largest in the country before the Maracanã was opened.