2014 World Cup Handicapping: a Look at the Host Cities
by Trevor Whenham - 4/3/2014
The 32 teams in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil will be playing in 12 new or newly-renovated stadiums during the tournament. Just think about how insane that is for a minute - building 12 stadiums when two or three would work just fine. You can accuse FIFA of doing a lot of things, but encouraging fiscal prudence isn't one of them. Regardless, it is what it is, and for bettors it is a good idea to get to know the host cities and stadiums a little bit:
Rio de Janeiro: The second-biggest city in Brazil is the most visited and the one most people know the most about. This is the premier venue for the tournament.
Climate: In June the average high is 77 degrees, with a record high of 94. Rain is likely.
Stadium Capacity: 71,159
Games: Argentina vs. Bosnia-Herzegovina, Spain vs. Chile, Belgium vs. Russia, Ecuador vs. France, Round of 16, Quarterfinal, Final
Sao Paulo: With a population of 21 million, Sao Paolo is not only the biggest city in the Brazil but the seventh-biggest in the world. Not surprisingly, traffic gridlock is expected to be an issue.
Climate: The average high in June is about 71 degrees, with a record high of 84. Moderate rain is possible, but the wet season has long passed.
Stadium: Arena Corinthians
Stadium Capacity: 59,955
Games: Brazil vs. Croatia (first game of the tournament), Uruguay vs. England, Netherlands vs. Chile, South Korea vs. Belgium, Round of 16, Semifinal
Belo Horizonte: This city in southeast corner of the country with more than 5 million people is built on hills. Google maintains an office in the city.
Climate: The average high in June is 77 degrees, with a record high of 86. Rain is very unlikely at this time of year.
Stadium Capacity: 56,091
Games: Colombia vs. Greece, Belgium vs. Algeria, Argentina vs. Iran, Costa Rica vs. England, Round of 16, Semifinal
Brasilia: The fourth-biggest city in Brazil, Brasilia was founded in just 1960 as a planned city to serve as the new national capital. It is a very modern city with the highest per capita GDP in South America.
Climate: The average high in June is 77, with a record of 84, and little chance of serious rain.
Stadium: Estadio Nacional de Brasilia
Stadium Capacity: 65,702
Games: Switzerland vs. Ecuador, Colombia vs. Ivory Coast, Cameroon vs. Brazil, Portugal vs. Ghana, Round of 16, Quarterfinal, Third-place game
Fortaleza: This city of 2.5 million is on the Atlantic coast in northeastern Brazil. It has existed since Spanish explorers arrived in 1500. It is a tourist and beach center.
Climate: The average high in June is 85 degrees, with a record high of 99. Rain is expected on more than half of the days of the month.
Stadium: Arena Castelao
Stadium Capacity: 57,747
Games: Uruguay vs. Costa Rica, Brazil vs. Mexico, Germany vs. Ghana, Greece vs. Ivory Coast, Round of 16, Quarterfinal
Salvador: Salvador is the largest city on the northeast coast of Brazil. It is known as Brazil's capital of happiness because of all the outdoor parties they host. Fans are going to enjoy visiting here.
Climate: The average high in June is 80 degrees, with a record high of 90. More than two-thirds of days will see rain.
Stadium: Arena Fonte Nova
Stadium Capacity: 49,280
Games: Spain vs. Netherlands, Germany vs. Portugal, Switzerland vs. France, Bosnia-Herzegovina vs. Iran, Round of 16, Quarterfinal
Porto Alegre: This is the southernmost state capital in Brazil. It lies on a lake that empties into the Atlantic.
Climate: Average highs in June are just 67 degrees, with a high of 90. They have actually seen snow in June in rare cases. There will be rain on about half of the days.
Stadium: Estadio Beira-Rio
Stadium Capacity: 42,153
Games: France vs. Honduras, Australia vs. Netherlands, South Korea vs. Algeria, Nigeria vs. Argentina, Round of 16
Recife: Recife is a major port on the Atlantic near the easternmost tip of Brazil. In recent years it has become a major hub for the technology sector.
Climate: The average high is June is 84 degrees, with a record of 99 degrees. June is the heaviest month for rain, and some amount will likely fall every day.
Stadium: Arena Pernambuco
Stadium Capacity: 40,604
Games: Ivory Coast vs. Japan, Italy vs. Costa Rica, Croatia vs. Mexico, U.S. vs. Germany, Round of 16
Manaus: Manaus is a city of 2 million situated deep in the Amazon rainforest. Most of the access is by air or boat as roads are unreliable. Manaus is by far the most traditional and rustic of the host cities.
Climate: Heat is going to be a bigger factor here than anywhere else in the tournament. The average high is 88 degrees, with high humidity and little relief at night. June is the tail end of the rainy season, so rain should happen about half the days of the month.
Stadium: Arena da Amazonia
Stadium Capacity: 39,573
Games: England vs. Italy, Cameroon vs. Croatia, U.S. vs. Portugal, Honduras vs. Switzerland
Cuiaba: This city of one million is located inland on the western edge of the middle of the country. It geographically marks the center of South America, and it was founded during a gold rush.
Climate: Highs of 87 degrees in June are expected, with a record of 99 degrees. Humidity is much lower here than most of the country, though, and rain will be almost non-existent during the tournament.
Stadium: Arena Pantanal
Stadium Capacity: 39,553
Games: Chile vs. Australia, Russia vs. South Korea, Nigeria vs. Bosnia-Herzegovina, Japan vs. Colombia
Natal: This city of 1 million is yet another northeastern coastal host city. It is the closest Brazilian capital to both Europe and Africa, and it has a thriving tourism industry. The largest cashew tree in the world is in the city.
Climate: Weather is very consistent throughout the year here - highs in the low to mid 80s, record highs near or below 100, and little rain. In terms of weather, this is the Los Angeles of Brazil.
Stadium: Arena das Dunas
Stadium Capacity: 39,304
Games: Mexico vs. Cameroon, U.S. vs. Ghana, Japan vs. Greece, Italy vs. Uruguay
Curitiba: This city on the southeastern coast of the country has the fourth-largest economy in Brazil. It has been a carefully planned city, and it is regarded as a very good place to live, though it doesn't draw significant tourism.
Climate: Average June highs of just 65 degrees make this the coolest of host cities - the record high for the month is just 86 degrees. Rain will fall about half of the days of the month, but not in significant amounts.
Stadium: Arena da Baixada
Stadium Capacity: 37,634
Games: Iran vs. Nigeria, Honduras vs. Ecuador, Australia vs. Spain, Algeria vs. Russia
Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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