Brazil's modern capital gets a taste of football

The Associated PressApril 11, 2014
Brazil's modern capital gets a taste of football
This Feb. 2014 photo released by Portal da Copa shows an aerial view of the Presidente Juscelino Kubitschek International Airport still under construction in Brasilia, Brazil. Infrastructure experts say that Brazil has run out of time to meet its promise to fully expand and renovate airports that will serve hundreds of thousands of fans pouring into the country for the World Cup that starts in just two months. Improvements are ready at only two of the 13 major airports. (AP Photo/Ademir Rodrigues,Portal da Copa)

BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) -- Locally known as the Mane Garrincha Stadium, the 70,000-capacity Estadio Nacional in Brasilia was completed last year for the Confederations Cup and will host seven matches at this year's World Cup.

The stadium was named in honor of Garrincha, a striker who helped Brazil win the 1958 and 1962 World Cup along with Pele.

The construction of the stadium has been criticized because Brasilia doesn't have a top football club, and there are fears the venue - one of the most expensive built for the World Cup - will become a ''white elephant.'' There are similar fears about stadiums in Natal, Cuiaba and Manaus.

The city of Brasilia was built in the late 1950s to replace Rio de Janeiro as the nation's capital. It's known for its remarkable architectural features, many of them built by Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer. It is the center of the country's political life and its grid layout gives it a different feel from other cities in the country.

Play begins on June 15 with Switzerland facing Ecuador. Other matches are: Colombia vs. Ivory Coast on June 19; Cameroon vs. Brazil on June 23; and Portugal vs. Ghana on June 26. The stadium will also host a match in the round of 16, another in the quarterfinals and finally the third-place match.