Rio De Janeiro's Rebuilt Maracanã Stadium The Place To Be At Confederations Cup
Rio de Janeiro's Maracanã stadium "got back to doing what it has always done best" Saturday, according to columnist Ben Smith of the BBC, who covered the event. Smith commented coming into the first competitive game to be played at the new Maracanã, "some feared that something has been lost in the modernisation." However, as Italy beat Mexico 2-1 in the Confederations Cup on Sunday, the overwhelming feeling "was that while it has been reduced in size, it has been enhanced in majesty." Italy midfielder Andrea Pirlo said, "To get onto the Maracana pitch is the dream of every child. To have the chance to win my 100th cap with Italy here -- I am so happy. It is a dream fulfilled." There is "an enduring aura about this new stadium." Every seat "has a perfect view, the lush green turf is smooth and slick, the seats add a dash of local colour, with rows of sky-blue above yellow, like Copacabana sand." Much "had been made of the traffic chaos that would engulf the stadium." A one-mile exclusion zone for vehicles "in the four hours before kick-off meant the traffic was almost non-existent save for those actually going to the match." The turnstiles "clicked with German efficiency, fans from all countries mixed and the experience was one that many will savour." And construction failings have "certainly heaped a degree of shame on Brazil in recent times." And yet both for the players, "who walked out onto a pitch graced by Garrincha, Pele, Zico and so many greats, it raised the hairs on the back of their necks and for the fans and the people of Rio it was a reacquaintance with an old friend" (BBC, 6/17).