Built for the 1950 FIFA World Cup Brazil™, the Estadio Jornalista Mario Filho, better known as the Maracana, provided the venue for that year’s truly memorable decider between the host nation and Uruguay, one of the most dramatic chapters in the history of the competition.
The Rio de Janeiro stadium will be in the limelight once again at Brazil 2014, hosting seven games in all, more than any other venue. Among those matches will be the Final on 13 July.
Once the largest stadium in the world, packing in crowds of up to 200,000 – among the highest attendances ever seen in the history of the game – the Maracana now has a reduced capacity of 74,738 for Brazil 2014. It remains, nevertheless, the country’s biggest football ground.
Respecting the original layout of the stadium, the project for its refurbishment included the demolition of the lower ring of seats, the construction of a new ring offering improved visibility, the expansion of the access ramps and the replacement of all seating. The stadium is also be fitted with a new roof complete with a rainwater collection system. The facade, which has been listed by the National Institute of Historical and Artistic Heritage, remains untouched.
Rio’s second most popular tourist attraction, the Maracana continued to attract football fans from all over the world, even as it underwent renovation. Visitors to the stadium could watch work unfold from the Torre de Vidro (Glass Tower), built especially for the occasion, and could even take a piece of the old stadium away with them as a souvenir.