• Year Built:2013
• Average June Temperature:26C (celsius)
The 42,000-seater ‘Stadium of the Dunes’ represents one of the most eye-catching on show at the 2014 World Cup and is so named after the region’s impressive sand dunes – a feature reflected in the undulating structure of the stadium’s roof design.
Located in Natal, the north-eastern capital of the Rio Grande state, the city is the closest to Europe of any in the Americas and with an average of 300 days of sunshine a year is nicknamed ‘Sun City’.
A stadium has stood on the site since 1972, but the existing Machadao venue and the neighbouring Machadinho sports hall were demolished to make way for a new purpose-built arena. The Estadio das Dunas was officially opened in January 2014, following completion of the majority of the construction work a month earlier.
The venue will host four matches at the World Cup, starting with Mexico v Cameroon in Group A. Ghana v USA from Group G and the Group C meeting between Japan and Greece will follow, before the venue’s final match between Italy and Uruguay, winners of six World Cups between them.
Football is hugely popular in the region, with Alecrim FC, America FC and ABC FC the three local teams. The latter two have a more successful history and are the city’s big rivals.
Although the arena now boasts an impressive array of facilities, annoyance at its reported cost of more than 400million Brazilian real (£100million) and the anti-World Cup protests in Natal have reflected the mixed feelings of the local population. Click below for a view of the stadium courtesy Google Maps.