Cuiaba brings WCup matches to Brazil’s heartland
CUIABA, Brazil (AP) — World Cup host city Cuiaba is the capital of Mato Grosso state in the west of Brazil, near Bolivia.
The state boasts about 29 million head of cattle — 10 times the human population. The town was established during the 18th century as a gold-mining outpost, and it still has some of that frontier mentality and spirit.
The new stadium, which was one of three still incomplete only three months before the World Cup, is Arena Pantanal. It will seat 43,000 spectators and was built on the site of a former stadium.
The stadium will be host to four games, beginning with Chile vs. Australia on June 13. That will be followed by: Russia vs. South Korea on June 17; Nigeria vs. Bosnia on June 21; and Japan vs. Colombia on June 24.
Cuiaba is one of four World Cup venues with a new or rebuilt stadium that doesn’t have a top-flight club to occupy it.