Without a doubt, this has to be the home of football! Other than the nature, travel and photography, my other big passion is football, so on our recent trip to Rio de Janeiro we could not miss out on the Maracanã.
The Estádio do Maracanã, or the Maracanã Stadium for English speakers, is the main football stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and has recently been renovated and re-opened and hosted the FIFA Confederations Cup, but next year will host the FIFA World Cup.
The stadium originally opened in 1950 to host the FIFA World Cup for the first time on Brazilian soil. These days the stadium is predominantly used for matches between the four major football clubs in Rio de Janeiro; Botafogo, Flamengo, Fluminense, and Vasco da Gama.
But, back to 1950, Brazil progressed to the final round, facing Uruguay in the final match of the tournament on July 16, 1950. Brazil only needed a draw to finish top of the group, but Uruguay won the game 2–1, shocking and silencing the near two-hundred thousand spectators who attended the game. This defeat on home soil is a significant event in Brazilian history, being known popularly as the Maracanazo. The official attendance of the game was 199,854, with the actual attendance estimated to be about 210,000. So a lot of unhappy Brazilian supporters after this shock defeat. A record attendance for any football match. Today the capacity is around the 80,000 level.
This of course, in the days before the legendary Pele helped bring the World Cup home to Brazil three times from 1958 to 1970, I think he was a tender 17 years old at the 1958 tournament. The Maracanã is the same stadium where England mustered a 2-2 draw with Brazil recently, the game being the official re-opening of the revamped stadium for the FIFA 2014 World Cup.
The official name of the stadium, Mário Filho, was given in honor of an old Carioca journalist. The stadium’s popular name is derived from the Maracanã River, whose point of origin is in the jungle covered hills to the west, crossing various neighbourhoods of Rio’s North Zone, such as Tijuca The name Maracanã is derived from the indigenous Tupi–Guarani word for a type of parrot which inhabited the region. Can’t seem to get away from the birds in this country, but not complaining!
Travel, photography, nature and football all in one trip!