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Belo Horizonte avoids World Cup delays

AP - Sports

BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil (AP) -- Belo Horizonte was one of the first Brazilian cities to be ready for the World Cup, avoiding the delays that marked the preparations of nearly all other host cities.

Matches will be played at the renovated Mineirao Stadium, one of Brazil's most revered football venues. It was inaugurated in December 2012, and was one of the two (along with Fortaleza's Castelao Stadium) not to miss FIFA's deadline for the Confederations Cup.

The venue was used in the semifinals of the World Cup warm-up tournament, when Brazil beat Uruguay to stay on track to eventually win the title.

The Mineirao will seat more than 62,000 fans and will host four group matches: Colombia vs. Greece on June 14; Belgium vs. Algeria on June 17; Argentina vs. Iran on June 21; and Costa Rica vs. England on June 24. It will also host a match in the round of 16 on June 28, possibly with Brazil playing, and a semifinal match on July 8.

The southeastern city, which is also home to the training camps of Argentina and Chile, is filled with football tradition, fueled by the rivalry between Cruzeiro and Atletico Mineiro, two of the country's most successful clubs.

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