Sao Paulo: Brazilian officials have inaugurated the Arena da Amazonia in the jungle city of Manaus on Monday, the ninth World Cup stadium to become available for football’s showcase event.
The brand new 44,000 arena came through its opening test overnight as 23,000 people attended a regional cup encounter between two local sides.
Brazil fought to have the Amazon region included as one of 12 venues despite Manaus having no top football club, raising fears the ground might become a “white elephant” after it hosts four World Cup opening phase games.
The venue still is only officially 97 per cent complete, leading the media to focus in on teething problems such as some seats still smeared with cement and malfunctioning air conditioning units.
Officials admitted there was no time to rest after the milestone of a first game at the stadium, which after hosting Italy and England will also welcome Croatia v Cameroon, Portugal v United States and Switzerland v Honduras.