By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – With the FIFA World Cup a little over three weeks away, all twelve host cities are working to ensure they are in top condition for the tournament. The newly built Arena Fonte Nova, in the Northeastern tourist hot-spot of Salvador, has been ready in good time, having helped to host the Confederations Cup last year.
Some of the 2014 World Cup’s most anticipated group games will take place at the Fonte Nova. The best of the lot is likely Spain versus Holland – a repeat of the 2010 World Cup final, which Spain won 1-0 in extra time. This time they face each other on June 13th, the second day of the competition.
Salvador’s involvement continues with European heavyweights Germany and Portugal also meeting at the Fonte Nova on June 16th, with Switzerland versus France, on June 20th, and Bosnia versus Iran, on June 25th, to follow.
Subsequently, a second-round tie, on July 1st, and a quarter-final, on July 5th, conclude Salvador’s hosting in the FIFA World Cup. Of the four host cities in the northeast (alongside Recife, Fortaleza and Natal), Salvador will see the most action in the tournament.
Mark Lassise, an American living in Brazil who hosts and writes the TV series Olhar Estrangeiro as seen on Globo Esport every Thursday, has been visiting all the host cities in Brazil and tells The Rio Times the Fonte Nova is a picturesque setting perfect for hosting World Cup football. “The stadium is comfortable and on top of the action with an open face entrance that looks out over the lake.”
Yet he also added the following tip. “It is not the easiest stadium to get to due to the high density of traffic in Salvador. The city is still waiting for the metro that was promised and funded fourteen years ago and would have had a stop at the stadium.”
Unlike some other newly built stadiums there are no concerns about it becoming a “white elephant” after the World Cup has finished. Salvador giants Bahia and Vitória, who both ply their trade in the Campeonato Brasileiro Série A, will use the stadium for home matches.
However like all newly built stadiums, the Fonte Nova will be more than just about football. Aside from sports, the arena will also be used to host live music events. Organizers claim that the stadium could have a football match on a Sunday afternoon and be prepared to host a concert only a few days later.
The stadium is built in a ring, locking the noise inside the stadium. To help raise the noise levels further, the structure is more vertical than open, in contrast to the majority of modern football stadiums.
Of its 55,000 capacity, 50,000 seats are under cover, and rain in that region of Brazil is common throughout the months of June and July. In addition, there are also two thousand car parking spaces around the stadium.
Once inside, there are seventy VIP boxes, forty food kiosks, 94 public toilets and ten elevators for easy access to seating. To increase security, the arena boasts more than two hundred CCTV cameras in hi-definition.