Brazil 2014: Latest News and Pictures of All 12 World Cup Stadiums
The World Cup is just a year away and FIFA's "firm" deadline of December for the completion of all stadia is now fast approaching. (Reuters)
"Not all operational arrangements will be 100 percent" for the Confederations Cup were the words of FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke earlier this month, as grounds in Brasilia and Rio de Janeiro missed the deadline for readiness ahead of the Confederations Cup.
The World Cup will be different, though, with Valcke insisting: "The deadline for the FIFA World Cup stadiums delivery stands firm as December 2013. There will be no compromise."
Brazil, then, has had its warning and work continues apace to ensure that those targets are met. Generally, worries over preparations are proven to be unfounded, and FIFA will hope that this is no exception.
Let's, then, take a look at progress at all 12 stadia to be used at the World Cup next summer.
Maracanã (Rio De Janeiro)
While latest pictures may suggest there is still some way to go regarding work at the Maracanã, the official Portal 2014 website (Portuguese) suggests that work is scheduled for completion later this month.
Work on the terraces is complete, bar the fitting of seats, while the pitch was laid late last month and has taken well to the ground on which it has been placed says O Globo.
Once seats are fitted and work on the roof is complete, it will be a simple matter of fitting the box office area and temporary structures that FIFA require at the ground for major tournaments.
With work having overrun, the Maracanã is set to open on June 2 as Brazil host England in a friendly fixture ahead of the 2014 World Cup. (BBC)
Mane Garrincha (Brasilia)
At 95 percent of completion, the Mane Garrincha stadium in Brasilia is all set for its official inauguration on May 18, when it will host the final of the local state championship.
A week later, on May 25, the stadium will host Flamengo vs. Santos in the first round of the Brazilian championship in a game moved specially to celebrate the opening of the new stadium.
Come the World Cup, the stadium will be known as the "National Stadium of Brasilia" rather than its official Mane Garrincha name due to FIFA naming conventions. A full discussion of the naming issue can be found on Portal 2014. (Portuguese)
Arena Corinthians (São Paulo)
Work is currently 70 percent complete at the Arena de Sao Paulo, as it will be known at the World Cup. What the stadium's official name will be, though, is up for debate with three companies currently competing for naming rights.
The current task is to complete roof installations on the west of the stadium, which is scheduled for completion in May. The stadium itself is still slated for readiness in December, six months ahead of the World Cup next summer.
A loan of R$400 million (£131.5 million) from the Banco Nacional do Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social (BNDES) has been negotiated and should prevent potential hiccups, following worries over the availability of funds last month.
The Castelão in Forteleza was completed in December 2012 and opened for business in January with a match between local rivals Fortaleza and Ceará.
To date, the stadium has hosted around 20 test events and should be primed for use at the Confederations Cup this summer.
The stadium made headlines this week for negative reasons, when two fans were shot en route to another encounter between Fortaleza and Ceará. (Daily Mail)
A total of 180 arrests were made for incidents of violence and vandalism ahead of the encounter, but security arrangements for the upcoming FIFA events should prevent repeats of incidents on such a large scale.
Mineirão (Belo Horizonte)
Another success story ahead of the Confederations Cup is the Mineirão in Belo Horizonte, which opened in February when it hosted a local derby between Brazilian giants Cruzeiro and Atlético Mineiro.
Although that game saw incidents flare up over a lack of available refreshments, with the stadium's bars not yet open, the ground has been in regular use since with little sign of trouble.
Now, with the stadium itself practically ready for the challenges ahead, it is just issues of accessibility that must be overcome ahead of hosting the World Cup.
Work is already well underway on many urban mobility projects in the city and should be completed in time for the tournament.
Next Wednesday, the ground will host its first international game since renovation as Brazil face Chile in a friendly encounter.
Beira-Rio (Porto Alegre)
Renovation work at the Beira-Rio is already 65 percent complete, with the lower terraces having been completely rebuilt closer to the pitch.
The focus of activity has now moved to the upper tier, where the existing structure is being granted additional support and a more modern feel. Work is expected to be completed on this stage of the project in August.
Work on the stadium's new roof, however, will not be complete by the time of its reopening in September. The tunnel, changing room areas and offices should, though, be ready.
The stadium's renovation is still scheduled for completion in December 2013. (All information via. Portal 2014)
Arena Fonte Nova (Salvador)
The Itaipava Arena Fonte Nova, as it is officially known following the signing of a $10 million/year naming rights contract with beer brand Itaipava, is up and running in Salvador well ahead of time to host the Confederations Cup. (Portuguese)
The stadium hosted a fierce local derby between Bahia and Vitoria earlier this month and, while there were some issues with ticket sales, the stadium opening largely passed without incident.
The state of Bahia, then, is ready and prepared for its World Cup, although transportation projects are currently behind schedule and could prove problematic with the influx of visitors to the area this summer.
Arena Pernambuco (Recife)
The Arena Pernambuco in Recife recently became the fourth stadium to become operational ahead of the Confederations Cup this summer, with Brasilia and Rio de Janeiro the two to miss the April 15 completion deadline.
Technically, according to official press releases, the stadium is currently at 97 percent completion, with some work still being completed on the internal fittings. However, by the time of the official inauguration on May 22, work should have finished entirely.
Reports confirm that the stadium will now undergo a "test phase" in which events will be held to ensure that all facilities are operational, before the stadium is officially put to use ahead of the Confederations Cup in June.
All information via Globo Esporte. (Portuguese)
Arena Pantanal (Cuiabá)
Since our last update on the progress of World Cup stadia in February, there has been no official update on the progress of work in Cuiaba—with work remaining at 62 percent of completion.
It is a major worry for organisers and it was recently reported by Lancenet that a local tribunal has said that work must proceed at three times the current pace if it is to finish on time, following a change in construction company. (Portuguese)
The stadium currently has no official expected date for completion, according to the Portal 2014 website, and looks a major worry ahead of FIFA's official December cut-off date for stadium completion.
The Arena Pantanal will eventually hold nearly 44,000 people, with the capacity set for a 30 percent reduction following the tournament.
Arena Da Amazônia (Manaus)
Now at 58 percent completion, the Arena da Amazonia is another stadium without an expected completion date and another worry ahead of FIFA's official December deadline.
Work is currently focused on the upper tier, where the North-West corner is still incomplete. However, all is expected to reach its conclusion at the end of April. Work will then begin on the metal facade and roof structure. (Portuguese)
Sadly, a worker was killed at the end of March after falling from scaffolding at the site in what is just one of a couple of fatalities in the past month at the sites of new stadia in Brazil.
Speculation continues as to how the ground will be inaugurated, but there is still much work to be done before plans can be put in place in that regard.
Arena Das Dunas (Natal)
Following a recent surge of work at the construction site of the Arena das Dunas, the stadium is now ahead of schedule reports the official site for tracking World Cup projects.
That said, having originally fallen well behind target, the current scheduled completion date remains exactly on FIFA's December deadline.
Work, though, is now 61 percent complete, and it is clear that activity in Natal has majorly gathered pace following the previous delays to construction activity.
The reports suggest that 89 percent of the stadium's basic structure is now complete and, following a visit by minister Aldo Rebelo on Monday, the organising committee have reiterated that work is once more ahead of schedule.
Arena Da Baixada (Curitiba)
The final stop on our tour of the Brazil 2014 stadia is the Arena da Baixada, with renovation work currently at 55 percent completion and also without an expected completion date. (Portuguese)
Those in charge of construction have recently received a further loan from the BNDES, but work is still being completed on the main supporting blocks for the new stadium.
The official update, though, suggests work will begin on the stadium's retractable roof within the next month.
Terra reported in late March that the stadium is in danger of missing FIFA's December deadline for completion of all stadia and, while funds have now been secured, the recent delays in financing could mean that Curitiba struggles to meet that target.
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