The most leg­endary, the main sta­di­um of the great­est foot­ball nation. No superla­tives are enough to describe the Mara­cana — it is the heart of Brazil, the sym­bol of Fla­men­go’s vic­to­ries, the great­est sta­di­um in the world. We will tell you about the his­to­ry of this sta­di­um, about the most inter­est­ing events and facts relat­ed to Mara­cana


Entry relat­ed to loca­tion: Brazil

I warn you right away, there will be a lot of text, but I will try to accom­pa­ny it with inter­est­ing pho­tographs. The his­to­ry of Mara­canã was orig­i­nal­ly linked to the his­to­ry of the 1950 FIFA World Cup. The com­pe­ti­tion was revived in Rome (1946) after the Sec­ond World War, and in 1950 was orga­nized in Brazil, which was the only appli­cant coun­try. For this event, the Brazil­ian state decid­ed to build a giant sta­di­um, which became the largest in the world, and also the most spa­cious — for a long time the capac­i­ty of Mara­cana was 200,000 peo­ple
Maracanã stadium

In fact, the exact max­i­mum capac­i­ty of the sta­di­um is unknown. Brazil claims it could be more than 200.000, the Guin­ness Book indi­cates 180.000 fans, oth­er sources indi­cate approx­i­mate­ly 155.000. The first stone of the sta­di­um was laid on August 2, 1948 — this is the offi­cial date of birth of the Mara­canã sta­di­um. Five weeks before the start of an inter­na­tion­al com­pe­ti­tion, FIFA sends Ottori­no Baras­si, pres­i­dent of the Ital­ian Foot­ball Fed­er­a­tion and orga­niz­er of the pre­vi­ous com­pe­ti­tion, to Brazil to help the Brazil­ians make final prepa­ra­tions for the cham­pi­onship. On June 16, 1950, the cham­pi­onship begins with the open­ing match between the youth teams of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, the Sao Paulo team wins with a score of 3–1. The first goal in the his­to­ry of Mara­cana is scored by a young foot­ball play­er Didi. Despite the host­ing of the World Cup, the Mara­canã sta­di­um was still not com­plet­ed — the press box had not yet been com­plet­ed, there were not enough toi­lets. But all this did not mat­ter at that time — the main part of the sta­di­um was fin­ished, the com­pe­ti­tion could begin (it is worth not­ing that it took anoth­er 15 years to com­plete the sta­di­um)
1950 Maracana World Cup

Due to the dis­or­ga­ni­za­tion of nation­al foot­ball fed­er­a­tions in the post-war peri­od, only thir­teen teams were qual­i­fied for the com­pe­ti­tion. The USSR refused to take part for polit­i­cal rea­sons, and the French team invit­ed to replace the Sovi­et team was not yet ready for such a trip. India refused due to FIFA’s refusal to com­ply with their request — they want­ed to play with bare feet. There were also pos­i­tive moments: for the first time, the Eng­land team agreed to play in such high tem­per­a­tures. The pecu­liar­i­ty of the cham­pi­onship was in four uneven groups, in each of which a mini-cham­pi­onship was held. The first group includ­ed four teams (Brazil, Yugoslavia, Switzer­land, Mex­i­co), the sec­ond group also had 4 teams (Eng­land, Spain, Unit­ed States, Chile), the third group had 3 teams (Swe­den, Paraguay, Italy), and the fourth only two (Bolivia and Uruguay). The rea­sons for this dis­tri­b­u­tion were pure­ly finan­cial — Brazil demand­ed that the most attrac­tive teams play the Mara­canã
Goalbrazil national team

See also
Vancouver Olympic Games Opening Ceremony

Games held in groups: in group 1, Brazil-Mex­i­co (4–0, 82.000 spec­ta­tors) and Brazil-Yugoslavia (2–0, 142.000 spec­ta­tors); and in group 2, Eng­land-Chile (2–0, 30.000 spec­ta­tors), Spain-Chile (2–0, 16.000 peo­ple) and Spain-Eng­land (1–0, 74.000). Brazil, hav­ing played 2–2 with Switzer­land (the team was the open­ing of the cham­pi­onship, sur­pris­ing every­one) in São Paulo, were qual­i­fied for the next round. Pop­u­lar enthu­si­asm was huge, and the gov­ern­ment announced a hol­i­day on the day of the nation­al team match­es. The final group was formed by Brazil, Spain, Swe­den and Uruguay (qual­i­fied after a sin­gle match against Bolivia, 8–0 win!). I was sur­prised by the rel­e­ga­tion of the Eng­land team, who lost to the USA with a score of 1–0 and Spain with the same score. Italy was also elim­i­nat­ed, defeat­ed in the group by Swe­den

Brazil con­firmed their posi­tion as favorites dur­ing their first match­es in the final group. Swe­den was beat­en on July 9, 1950, with a score of 7–1 (139,000), and Spain on July 13, with a score of 6–1 (153,000 fans). Huge crowds of fans sup­port­ed their team, gen­er­al eupho­ria reigned. Dur­ing the final match against Uruguay, there were 173,000 spec­ta­tors in the sta­di­um — almost a tenth of the pop­u­la­tion of Rio de Janeiro. The Brazil­ian nation­al team had enough of a draw to become the world cham­pi­on, before the match no one bet on Uruguay — every­one was con­fi­dent in the vic­to­ry of the Brazil­ian ball magi­cians. From the very begin­ning of the match, the Brazil­ians dom­i­nat­ed, con­stant­ly attack­ing, but Uruguay defend­ed well and kept a draw in the first half of the match. On the way to the lock­er room, the dis­ap­point­ed stands of Marakana saw off their play­ers with a whis­tle — they demand­ed to go on the attack and score

At the begin­ning of the sec­ond half, the audi­ence fell silent, they were seized with doubts. But all this uncer­tain­ty quick­ly evap­o­rat­ed, for 46 min­utes the Brazil­ians opened the scor­ing, forc­ing Mara­cana to rejoice. But this scored goal did not guar­an­tee Brazil a suc­cess­ful final result — the score was too dan­ger­ous. The play­ers under­stood this and began to play ner­vous­ly on hold, while Uruguay had noth­ing to lose and played their game. This brought the result, in the 65th minute the Uruguayan Juan Schi­affi­no scores, the score becomes 1:1. Brazil con­tin­ues to play to keep the score, which still guar­an­tees vic­to­ry. But Uruguay played out in earnest, and in the 79th minute Alides Chig­gia scored the sec­ond goal, real­iz­ing the advan­tage of Uruguay — this goal was fatal for the Brazil­ians. It’s all over, the stands are furi­ous — a real war has been declared. Ref­er­ee George Reed­er blows the final whis­tle: the Brazil­ian play­ers col­lapse on the grass, help­less, mourn­ing the loss, the Mara­cana stands are furi­ous (a few fans even had a heart attack). Lat­er, the police evac­u­ate the play­ers from both teams and the ref­er­ee to avoid blood­shed. Brazil­ian coach Flavio Cos­ta flees angry fans
goal in the 1950 final

In the mem­o­ry of the Uruguayan fans, this com­pe­ti­tion has for­ev­er received the name: Mara­canaz­zo. In the mem­o­ries of the Brazil­ians, this loss will for­ev­er remain as a cat­a­stro­phe on a nation­al scale, even after many decades. Moasir Bar­bosa, the goal­keep­er of the Brazil­ians, lived the rest of his life in agony, being on the one hand the best goal­keep­er in the his­to­ry of Brazil­ian foot­ball, and on the oth­er, the goal­keep­er who missed the ill-fat­ed goal in the final. Bar­bosa died in 2000, nev­er for­giv­en by many fans. It is worth not­ing that in par­al­lel with Mara­canaz­zo there was a match for third place, where the Spaniards unex­pect­ed­ly lost to Swe­den with a score of 3–1
tribunes of Maracanã

See also
How to buy plane tickets at the height of the tourist season and not go broke

But the sto­ry of Mara­cana does not end there, although the next 50 years can sim­ply be list­ed as details. Mara­canã host­ed big match­es of the three main clubs in Rio de Janeiro: Botafo­go, Fla­men­go and Flu­mi­nense. But to under­stand how deeply this sta­di­um embod­ies Brazil­ian foot­ball, you need to list the names that played here and became leg­ends. You can start with the same Bar­bosa and the infa­mous final, Dida — the best goalscor­er of Mara­cana, who scored 244 goals in offi­cial match­es for Fla­men­go (the sec­ond goalscor­er after Zico) and of course Pele, who was called the King. The god of all Brazil­ians, but the oppo­nent of the Rio de Janeiro clubs, who played for the São Paulo team. On March 5, 1961, Pelé scored the most beau­ti­ful goal in the his­to­ry of Mara­cana, beat­ing six Flu­mi­nense defend­ers and the goal­keep­er. Here, on Mara­cana, Pele scores the thou­sandth goal of his career.
This moment was planned in advance, because the King real­ly want­ed to score 1000 goals in this sta­di­um. It hap­pened in a match with Vas­co da Gama in front of 125,000 fans, the ball was scored from the penal­ty spot. There is no short­age of foot­ball tal­ent in Brazil, so the list of celebri­ties who have played the Mara­canã is end­less.
Rio de Janeiro stadium

Mara­cana host­ed the most impor­tant match­es many times and the capac­i­ty of the sta­di­um was sim­ply amaz­ing. Atten­dance records have always been ris­ing: after 173,830 spec­ta­tors at the Mara­canaz­zo match (Brazil-Uruguay), a new lev­el was reached on March 21, 1954 at the Brazil-Paraguay match, which was attend­ed by 183,513 fans. How­ev­er, it was always believed that the max­i­mum num­ber of spec­ta­tors was pre­cise­ly at the Brazil-Uruguay match in 1950, it was just that many made their way to the sta­di­um for free, which made it dif­fi­cult to accu­rate­ly deter­mine the atten­dance. Mara­cana holds the record for the high­est atten­dance for a match between clubs in the his­to­ry of world foot­ball. At the 1963 Fla­men­go vs Flu­mi­nense match, there were 177,656 spec­ta­tors who bought tick­ets (imag­ine how many fans sneaked into the sta­di­um for free). It sounds fun­ny, but the low­est num­ber of vis­i­tors was reg­is­tered at the match between the clubs Ban­gu Tsuna­mi and Deporti­vo de Quito
bird's eye view of the stadium

The offi­cial name of Mara­cana is Mario Fil­ho (Esta­dio Jor­nal­ista Mario Fil­ho), in hon­or of the famous sports jour­nal­ist who died in 1966. He was the founder of the coun­try’s lead­ing sports mag­a­zine, a friend of many play­ers, the author of numer­ous foot­ball books, and one of the con­trib­u­tors to the con­struc­tion of Brazil’s great­est sta­di­um. Many believe that Mario Fil­ho should be buried in the sta­di­um
mario filho

See also
The flooded forest of Lake Kaindy

The heart of Brazil­ian foot­ball has also host­ed oth­er impor­tant events. One of the leg­ends of Mara­cana is John Paul II bless­ing the Brazil­ian peo­ple at the sta­di­um. The sta­di­um’s thir­ti­eth anniver­sary was cel­e­brat­ed with a Brazil-USSR match, and Frank Sina­tra also comes and holds one of his most suc­cess­ful con­certs here. Kiss, Sting, Tina Turn­er, Paul McCart­ney, Madon­na, Rolling Stones per­formed at the Marakana. Music stars liked to feel the spir­it of a huge crowd, so the con­certs were always held with a spe­cial mood. Foot­ball at that time fad­ed into the back­ground, not to men­tion vol­ley­ball (Brazil-USSR in 1983)

Mara­cana is a his­toric build­ing, immor­tal in every sense. The sta­di­um has been offi­cial­ly a his­tor­i­cal mon­u­ment since 1998, so it can­not be seri­ous­ly mod­i­fied. All restora­tion and mod­ern­iza­tion projects are relat­ed to improv­ing the safe­ty and com­fort of spec­ta­tors. In 1992, part of the fence col­lapsed due to the pres­sure of the fans, three peo­ple died. After this inci­dent, sev­er­al stands of the sta­di­um were closed, a thor­ough inspec­tion of the struc­ture was car­ried out and strong signs of struc­tur­al fatigue were found.
Due to the huge num­ber of vis­i­tors, the con­crete struc­ture of the sta­di­um need­ed a major ren­o­va­tion, which hap­pened in 2000, when the sta­di­um turned 50 years old. The sta­di­um’s capac­i­ty has been reduced to 103,045.

After years of plan­ning and nine months of ren­o­va­tion in 2005–2006, the sta­di­um was reopened in 2007, but the capac­i­ty was again reduced to 88,992 spec­ta­tors. Due to FIFA’s require­ment for only num­bered seats, the new­ly built Mara­canã was elim­i­nat­ed the “ger­al” sec­tor — stand­ing places out­side the goal and bench­es where the poor­est fans sat. A tick­et to the ger­al cost only one dol­lar — a pure­ly sym­bol­ic price that allows almost every­one to attend the match of their favorite team. Ger­al was con­sid­ered the most demo­c­ra­t­ic sec­tor of the Mara­canã and became an inte­gral part of Brazil­ian foot­ball cul­ture.
reopening after restoration
Due to the changes in this sec­tor, the capac­i­ty of the sta­di­um will increase again — up to 95,000 fans. Because of all these recon­struc­tions, the Mara­canã has lost the sta­tus of the largest sta­di­um in South Amer­i­ca, yield­ing to the Mon­u­men­tal Sta­di­um in Ecuador. If we talk about icon­ic sta­di­ums, then in Europe we can cite the no less leg­endary Camp Nou in Barcelona as an exam­ple.
Symbol of Brazil

The future of the sta­di­um is indeed not yet final­ized. Rumors of pri­va­ti­za­tion sub­sided after the acqui­si­tion of Mara­cana by the Brazil­ian state. But the sta­di­um will not last long with­out fur­ther ren­o­va­tions, which will cer­tain­ly take place, because it is unthink­able to imag­ine the Brazil­ian nation with­out foot­ball, and with­out this sta­di­um, which is an inte­gral part of the Brazil­ian cul­ture.

Rio de Janeirostatue and stadium