The Obvious
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Maracanã Stadium

The Mario Filho stadium

The Maracanã stadium was one of the largest soccer temples of the world with a capacity that neared the 200,000. This number is much lower these days because of security issues and the stadium also became an all-seater. But the stadium still is a big attraction for soccer fans all over the world. A visit to the stadium will leave an impression. One of the places you just have to visit if you're passing by in Rio de Janeiro ! After a complete stop of the activities of FIFA during the turbulent years of the second World War, Jules Rimet took initiative in 1946 to startup the competition again. Brazil was the only candidate to host the World cup of 1950 and so Brazil decided to build a Super Stadium. Two architects - Raphaël Galvão and Pedro Paulo Bernardes Bastos - were put to work to draw up the world's largest stadium (at that time).

The first Stone was laid on August 2nd. 1948 and the stadium had to be finished less than 2 years later for the first WorldCup game sheduled for June 24, 1950. Five weeks before the start of the competition the stadium was far from being ready. So the FIFA mandated Doctor Ottorino Barassi - president of the Italian federation of football and former organizer of the 1934 World Cup in Italy - over to Rio de Janeiro to help out with his expertise. The first game ever played in the Maracanã stadium on June 16, 1950 was a game between the "Rio de Janeiro All-Stars" and the "São Paulo All-Stars" 1 - 3 . Waldyr Pereira (nickname "Didi") was the first soccer player to score in the brand new stadium. At the start of the World Cup Competition on June 24, 1950, the stadium wasn't even finished, not all the toilet facilities nor the press area were ready (and it would take another 17 years before the entire stadium was finished in 1965). But FIFA gave its go-ahead for the competition anyway. At the time of the World Cup only thirteen teams were qualified ,the teams being Brazil, Yugoslavia, Switzerland, Mexico, England, Spain, the United States, Chile, Sweden, Paraguay, Italy, Bolivia and Uruguay . The first match of the World-Cup was between Brazil and Mexico (4-0) and the final of the World-Cup on July 16, 1950 was between Brazil - Uruguay (1-2). The official attendance was 199,854 people. After the World cup the stadium was mostly used for club games of the major clubs in Rio de Janeiro (Vasco, Botafogo, Flamengo and Fluminense). In 1966 the Maracanã stadium got its official name after a Brazilian journalist "Estádio Jornalista Mário Filho" but everybody is still using the name "Maracanã" which is derived from the name of a bird Maracanã-guaçu. On July 19, 1992 an upper stand collapsed injuring some 50 supporters and leading to the death of 3 supporters. After this incident the stadium was transformed into an all-seater, greatly reducing the capacity of the stadium. In the years to follow the Maracanã stadium underwent various transformations setting the capacity of the stadium at 103,022 in the year 2000. In preparation for the 2007 Pan-American Games the stadium was even closed for a period of time and reopened in January 2007 with its actual capacity of 95,000 spectators.


Exept being a soccer stadium the Maracanã was also the venue for various other activities:
1952 The Harlem Globetrotters play an exhibition game.
1980 Pope John Paul II
1980 Frank Sinatra
1980 Exhibition Soccer Game beteween Brazil and USSR for the 30 years of Maracanã 
1983 Kiss
1987 Sting
1988 Tina Turner (Guinness Book of Records for the biggest attendance of a single female performer 188,000 expectators)
1989 Pelé scored his 1000th goal of his career.
1990 Paul McCartney (Guinness Book of Records for the biggest attendance of a single male performer)
1991 Rock in Rio II, a 9 day event (Prince, A-Ha, George Michael, INXS, Guns 'n Roses, New kids on the Block and many others) 
1993 Madonna (120,000)
1995 Rolling Stones
2001 Backstreet Boys (70,000)
2002 Rush
2006 Yvette Sangalo
2007 Pan-American Games opening Ceremony
2007 The Police World Tour
2008 Madonna (Stiky & Sweat Tour)



June 16th 1950


Raphaël Galvão and Pedro Paulo Bernardes Bastos

Total Height

105 ft. (32 m.)

Largest Ax of the oval stadium

1040 ft. (317 m.)

Smallest Ax of the 0val Stadium

915 ft. (279 m.)

Grass coverd Playfield

361 ft. x 246 ft. (110 m. x 75 m.)

Largest distance between a spectator and the field

413 ft. (126 m.)

Maracanã Stadium

Rua Professor Eurico Rabelo Rio de Janeiro RJ 20271-150 Brazil

Latitude: -22.912167
Longitude: -43.230164
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