Natal, Brazil


World Cup

Arena das Dunas, Natal - Stadium of the World Cup 2014

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Facts and Information

City: Natal, capital of the State of Rio Grande do Norte.

Capacity: 32,000 attendants.

Official name: Arena das Dunas - Estadio Joao Carlos de Vasconcelos Machado.
Origin of name: Natal is known as City of Dunes; all the Brazilian coast from Rio Grande do Norte to Maranhao is covered by dunes (the dunes of Lencois Maranhenses attract tourists from all over the World).
Joao Carlos de Vasconcelos Machado is the engineer who designed the old stadium, popularly known as Machadao.
It is not certain yet whether the new arena will maintain the old name.

Design: Populous(formerlyHOK Sport Venue Event).

Constructor: OAS.

Estimated cost: R$ 400 million.
The budget of Arena das Dunas is the most uncertain of all stadiums of the World Cup 2014.
First off, the initial project was totally changed. The image at the top of this page shows that the project included the construction of the stadium, the reconstruction of the entire Government administration, and the inclusion of a complex of hotels, business towers, etc. Today, the stadium alone (see image below) would make everybody happy enough.
In March 2010, the Government was still thinking how to conduct the bidding. The first tender had no bidders (November 2010). It was only in March 2011 that the constructor (OAS) was defined.
Rumors go that, to not run the risk of staying out of the Cup, Natal was very generous with OAS; the newspapers inform that the total cost of the stadium would fetch R$ 1 billion.

Matches and teams

Natal will host only four matches of the Cup 2014, all in the first stage.
The most important teams in Natal do not play in the major divisions, and very rarely do they bring more than 10,000 fans to the stadium. Natal is a certain candidate to host one of the white elephants of the World Cup, once the event is finished (the other ones are the stadiums in Cuiaba, Manaus and Brasilia).
The eight teams which will play in Natal are not known yet, but it is certain that the Brazil team is not coming.
Two countries have strong Historic ties with Natal: Netherlands (which invaded Natal back in the 1600s) and USA (many American soldiers came to Natal during the World War II); Dutch and Americans would have much to see.

Matches of World Cup Brazil in Natal:
June 13th (Friday):
June 16th (Monday):
June 19th (Thursday):
June 24th (Tuesday):

Map of Arena das Dunas stadium, Natal

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More images and photos of Arena das Dunas

Above: the new project, much simpler than the original one (top of this page). Photo above: November 2011, when the demolition of the old stadium Machadao started.
Above: Febrary 2012; at the time, Arena das Dunas was the most delayed of all stadiums of the World Cup 2014. arena-das-dunas-building Above: October 2012 (source). In November, the Mayor of Natal was impeached, accused of fraud; contractors had to pay bribes to the Mayor and several members of her Cabinet; along with the Mayor, several other officials were prosecuted, including the Secretary in charge of the World Cup in Natal.

More information: World Cup in Natal.

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