Brazil 2014: Stadium-by-Stadium Guide to How World Cup Preparations Are Going
The FIFA World Cup in Brazil is now just 18 months away and, as of the present time, none of the 12 stadiums being built or transformed ahead of the event have been completed.
By the end of the year, though, there should be progress, and construction work on several of the arenas is moving on schedule with little danger of missing proposed deadlines.
Some of the projects, though, are offering reason for concern, and Brazil must act fast in the coming months to ensure that targets are met in order to host the best World Cup possible.
So, let's take a look at the progress of all the stadiums set for use in June 2014.
Maracanã (Rio De Janeiro)
The Maracanã stadium is one of the most iconic locations in world football and, unsurprisingly, will host the final of the 2014 tournament.
Construction at the stadium is planned to be completed by March 2013 ahead of a grand opening in which Brazil take on England in a friendly encounter next June before the Confederations Cup.
There are, though, fears over its readiness by next summer.
The expected completion date has been unofficially moved back to April, and that will still be an impressive achievement, given current progress.
Preparations are in place to add the structure's roof in the coming weeks, while there is still also plenty of work to do in fitting the 76,000 seats the stadium will eventually hold. Work is not being helped by recent protests over the stadium's ownership and forced demolitions.
There was, though, some good news for FIFA executives this week, as the stadium's first hospitality box was unveiled.
Mane Garrincha (Brasilia)
The 71,000-capacity Mané Garrincha stadium will host the opening game of the 2013 Confederations Cup and, as of November, work in the Brazilian capital is 81 percent complete.
The supports for the stadium's roof are now in place, and the addition of this enormous structure is the next step along the road to completion.
The ground will eventually be covered by a 90,000-square-meter self-cleaning membrane that will supposedly retain heat, allow the passage of natural light and remove air pollution—a primary focus of the country, which has invested heavily on eco-friendly projects across the 12 locations.
The stadium, by all accounts, is well on its way to being complete in time for next summer, but questions remain over its post-World Cup usage.
Arena Corinthians (São Paulo)
The Arena Corinthians construction crew this week installed the sixth section of its roof structure but, with the project at just 58-percent completion, the brand new stadium is not expected to open until the end of 2013.
The remaining three modules of the East Stand roof will be added later this month before work will switch to adding the ten sections of coverage to the West Stand in January. Both ends of the ground are rapidly also rapidly taking shape.
The Arena will host five matches at the 2014 World Cup, including the tournament's opening fixture, and looks set to be completed well in advance of the initial deadline, if current estimates are to be believed.
The upgraded 65,000-seat Castelão is one of the shining lights of Brazil's World Cup plans, with work expected to be completed on December 16 when the "glass skin" is completed.
The 580-inch giant screens will be installed Tuesday, with the support structures having been completed earlier this week, while synthetic grass is already being laid inside the arena.
President Dilma Rousseff and singer Fagner will appear at a ceremony to mark the stadium's completion next week, while the official opening, scheduled for January, will feature a match between local giants Fortaleza and Ceará.
Mineirão (Belo Horizonte)
Like the stadium in Fortaleza, the Mineirão is set to celebrate the completion of construction work later this month, with a ceremony scheduled for December 21.
The big screens are in place, the seats are being installed and even the changing rooms are close to being ready for action, including the artificial grass area installed for player warm-ups.
The Mineirão has been a renovation project, rather than a complete rebuild, and should be the second of the stadia to officially close construction work. The most important addition to the 62,000-seat stadium is a new roof that will now ensure that all those in the stands are now covered.
The stadium is scheduled to officially open with a match between its two historic tenants, Cruzeiro and Atlético Mineiro on February 2, 2013, before hosting the Confederations Cup in the summer.
Beira-Rio (Porto Alegre)
The renovation of the Beira-Rio still has a ways to go: The stadium is scheduled to reopen in September 2013, although work on a new roof will not be fully complete by then.
The modernisation project is currently reported to be 52.5 percent complete, and organisers have been granted more time to finish the project after Porto Alegre was not chosen to host the Confederations Cup over the summer.
Work at the stadium is of one of the most complicated designs proposed for the tournament, with the existing lower tier having been demolished and the stands moved closer to the pitch.
Progress is well underway on this task, and the foundation blocks of the future roof are now also in place.
An underground car-park is also being installed under the giant square that will lead up to the stadium.
With work on-track at present, there appears no reason why the stadium will not be ready with plenty of time to spare.
Arena Fonte Nova (Salvador)
Another of the stadia chosen to host the Confederations Cup in June 2013, work at the Arena Fonte Nova is also nearing completion well ahead of FIFA 2014.
Latest estimates suggest the ground will be opened on March 29 when local rivals Bahia and Vitória are likely to become the first teams to play at the arena in a Salvador derby.
Work at the stadium is more than 80 percent complete, and the magnificent new roof structure is already in place, meaning that the major challenges have now been overcome.
There are still over 4,000 employees working on site, but tasks are now of a more cosmetic nature, with the stadium's shell fully installed.
Focus has turned to the laying of the pitch ahead of the completion of construction work early next year.
Arena Pernambuco (Recife)
At present, the official organisers of the World Cup report that the stadium in Recife is just 70 percent complete.
That said, work to install a roof is already well underway, and the pitch is currently being grown away from the grounds and will be transported into the stadium at a later date.
The stadium is scheduled to host its first match on April 14, ahead of hosting games at the Confederations Cup in the summer. Local Série A side Naútico will be the first to make use of the new facilities.
There have been changes to the designs for the stadium over the past few weeks, with the glass and aluminium exterior set to be replaced by EFTE plastic, as used at the Allianz Arena. The change has been implemented to speed up construction.
Alongside the Maracanã, the Arena Pernambuco will be FIFA's biggest worry ahead of the Confederations Cup.
Most other stadiums to be used are nearing completion this month, but there is still great confidence that Recife will be ready well in advance of the Confederations Cup in June.
Arena Pantanal (Cuiabá)
Work on the stadium in Cuiabá has recently been delayed by heavy rains in the region, which was originally set to be completed later this month.
That deadline has now been extended by six months.
The four stands are largely complete with just the upper tier still in need of major attention. The 44,000-capacity stadium is designed to be reduced by 30 percent after the tournament, as there is no major local side to occupy an arena of that size.
With the stadium set to be finished well in advance of the 2014 tournament, there was more encouraging news for Cuiabá this week when it was announced that work to upgrade the city's airport would finally get underway—a year later than initially planned.
Arena Amazônia (Manaus)
It was announced on Friday that work on the new stadium in Manaus has reached 48-percent completion, with contractors still expected to meet the predicted deadline in December 2013.
Work on the upper tiers is now underway while executive boxes are being fitted in the East Stand.
The next stage in the construction of the 42,000-seat stadium will be to put in place the massive steel structure that will support the roof.
Work on that will take place in early 2013.
FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke recently admitted that he was concerned by progress in Manaus but reaffirmed that all 12 stadia would be completed in time for the 2014 tournament.
Arena Das Dunas (Natal)
Work at the arena in Natal is falling behind schedule, and matters were only made worse in November as workers at the site went on strike over payment conditions.
The stadium cannot afford too many more hold-ups in the coming months.
Since the strike ended, work has begun on creating the lower terraces, but it is clear from recent pictures that those in charge of the project still need to pick up the pace somewhat.
That said, according to state official Demétrio Torres, the stadium is not only ahead of schedule, it should be halfway to completion at the end of the year with work currently taking place around the clock.
Work is now expected to be completed in December 2013.
Arena Da Baixada (Curitiba)
There has been news of a delay emerging from Curitiba in recent days, with the estimated date of completion of the stadium now set for July 2013. It was originally slated for completion in March.
The stadium is said to be just 52 percent complete, but club side Atlético Paranaense are positive they will be able to return to their home soon after the end of the Confederations Cup.
It was also announced earlier this week that the stadium will be the first in Brazil to be fitted with a retractable roof, which will take just 15 minutes to close once implemented.
This impressive roof structure will then also house a solar energy generator, which will have the capacity to power the stadium and a further 5000 houses.