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Maracanã – Estádio Jornalista Mário Filho – Rio De Janeiro

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There are very few sporting arenas in the world that can be rightly claimed as truly historic monuments. Estadio Jornalista Mario Filho, or the Maracana as it is commonly known, with its expansive seating capacity and sublimed architecture, is undoubtedly one of them.

Mário Filho is the official name of the stadium which was given after the honorable Carioca journalist, (brother of Nelson Rodrigues). The popular name of this stadium is procured from the Maracanã River, whose origin is in the jungle-covered hills, crossing different neighborhoods of Rio’s North Zone. The word ‘Maracanã’ is derived from the indigenous Tupi–Guarani which refers to a parrot that inhabited the region.

Once the largest stadium in the planet, housing crowds of up to 200,000 attendances ever seen in the chronicle of the game, the Maracana now has a minimized capacity of 73,531 for Brazil world cup 2014. Still, this remains the country’s biggest football ground. There are in fact only a few stadiums in the world that can match this one.

rio de janeiro fifa world cup 2014 maracana stadium old view

Initiated on August 2, 1948, with the laying of the cornerstone, 1,500 workers were engaged to construct the stadium. Near around two thousand workers were added in the final months. In spite of having come into use in 1950, the works were properly concluded in 1965.

Jornal da Noite is known as The A Noite newspaper mirrored  the towering sense of pride felt by all the Brazilian citizens at the time:

 “Brazil now has the largest and the best stadium in the world. Today we have a truly incredible setting where the total world can admire our sporting splendor and capability.”

Established for the 1950 FIFA World Cup Brazil, the Estadio Jornalista Mario Filho, pledged the venue for that year’s truly unforgettable decider between the host nation and Uruguay, maybe the dramatic most chapter in the history of the competition.

However, Maracana represents an almost impregnable fortress for the Brazilians and has taken on mythical proportions within the realm of South American football.

Some of Brazil’s greatest ever players, Zico, Romario, Garrincha, and, obviously Pele have all graced the sacred ground where devoted crowds of up to 183,000 mean only the very toughest sports admirer survive.

It can be considered as the most evocative and wretched chapters in the stadium’s history came on January 20, 1983, when one of the all-time greats of Brazilian football, Garrincha passed away and his remnant was brought to the stadium. A couple of Thousands of fans were present there to respectfully bid the final farewell to the Idol.

Certainly, the saddest moment in the history of Brazilian football was met by a spectral, haunting silence in the extensive stadium. Media all over the globe entitled the shocking defeat as the Maracanazo, a term which is still used for a visiting team wins at the stadium.

João Havelange, former president of FIFA expatiated like,

“Grown men cried after the game. Some left just before the end, thinking Brazil as champions. But by the time they were at the main gates, their dreams were gone up in smoke,”

Some can still say that Brazil has never actually avenged the defeat, but on July 16, 1989, a goal by Romario was fair enough to beat Uruguay in the final of  Copa America on the same ground.50 years after the legendary Maracanazo, in 2000, the stadium again hosted the final of the first FIFA Club World Cup.

Second most popular tourist attraction of Rio de Janeiro, the Maracana always attracts football fans from all over the world, even at the time of its renovation. Visitors here at Rio can watch unfold the stadium even take a miniature piece of the old stadium away with them as a souvenir.

And after all these unavailing words we can terminate with the great Pele:

“The Maracana is a unique place for all Brazilians, bu for me it is really something else. This is where I scored my very first goal for the Auriverde, against Argentina, and as a matter of fact I also scored my 1000th goal later at this home. Almost 1,700 people have played on that ground and the aura of the place is spectacular.”

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