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Rain and Flaws Mark the World Cup Opening Stadium's Inauguration

05/19/2014 - 11h29



With 25 days to go before hosting Brazil vs Croatia in the opening game of the World Cup, Itaquerão Stadium was inaugurated on Sunday, May 18, among ongoing construction and a number of problems inside and outside the stadium, from the signage at the gates to malfunctioning telephones and internet.

Corinthians opened its dream stadium with a defeat to the up to now champions, Figueirense.

To the frustration of some 36,000 Corinthians fans, the first goal in the history of the arena was scored by unknown, Giovanni Augusto, at 3 minutes into the second half, sealing the victory for the team from Santa Catarina.

All this occuring under a strong hailstorm, while the unfinished stadium roof was unable to protect fans.

The first problem came in the morning, when hundreds of Corinthians fans tried to buy the 2,000 tickets that were intended for Figueirense supporters.

Sale was canceled, and those without tickets were only dispersed after a shouting match with the police, who threatened to use pepper spray.

There were also scalpers selling tickets for US$ 270 each, and street peddlers, frustrating attempts of form a belt that would restrict access to only those holding tickets.

Inside the arena, some of the restrooms and cafeterias were closed, there were ticket with non-existent numbering, and several fans got lost due to a lack of information.

Signs of construction in progress were everywhere. Inside, parts of the stands were missing. Outside, workers were welding access stairways a few hours before the match.

Cell phones experienced widespread outages, with slowdowns and lost signals.

On the positive side was security and transportation to the stadium, as there were no problems on subways and train lines.

Opening with at least five months of a delay, Itaquerão Stadium, budgeted at approximately US$ 452 million, will now only reopen on June 12.

Translated by STEVE HUGHES

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