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Natal(Estadio das Dunas)

On 25 December 1597, back when Brazil was a colony of the Portuguese crown, a group of Portuguese officials reached the Potengi River with the duty of reclaiming the captaincy of Rio Grande do Norte, which was then dominated by French buccaneers. Twelve days later, on 6 January, Three Kings' Day for the Catholic Churc, the group started the construction of the fortress that would remain the most prominent landmark in the state of Rio Grande do Norte until today: the Three Kings' Fort.

 

Following Portugal's recovery of the territory, expedition leader Jeronimo de Albuquerque redefined the limits of that village by the Potengi river on 25 December 1599. There is uncertainty about on which of the two dates the name originated - that 25 December or the one two years earlier - but that was how it all started for Natal (Portuguese for ‘Christmas').

 

The capital of Rio Grande do Norte enjoyed moderate growth until the 20th century, when its innumerous striking beaches and sand dunes were finally surrounded by the proper infrastructure for tourists. The construction of the Via Costeira - a large coastal avenue - in the 1980s was a milestone for the development of Natal, which is now one of the preferred destinations for foreigners visiting Brazil. They come for such wonders as Ponta Negra, Genipabu, Redinha, Pipa, Pirangi and several other spectacular beaches within the city and right next to it.

Natal is proudly known as Cidade do Sol (Sun City) thanks to its faultless tropical climate that provides an annual average of 28º C, and roughly 300 sunny days a year. Its location, as close to Europe as any other city in the Americas, has also boosted international tourism.

 

Football
The top three teams in the state of Rio Grande do Norte are from Natal: Alecrim Futebol Clube and the city's two powerhouses and eternal rivals, America Futebol Clube and ABC Futebol Clube. Both teams have shared the vast majority of trophies of the Campeonato Potiguar (‘Potiguar' being one who comes from Rio Grande do Norte) and were regulars in the Campeonato Brasileiro's elite until the mid-1980s. ABC have not competed in the top tier since, meanwhile América have had their share of successful spurts and even won the regional title of the North-East Cup in 1998.

ABC's home ground is the Maria Lamas Farache stadium, popularly known as the Frasqueirão, while both América and Alecrim normally play their home matches at the city-owned João Machado stadium, or the Machadão.


Owner: America-SP

Capacity: 42086

Country: Brazil

City: Natal

Address: Av. Prudente de Morais,5121, bairro Lagoa Nova, Natal

Value: $450 million

Inauguration: 2013

Average temperature in June: 25°C

Profile:
Ever since it was inaugurated back in 1972, the Estadio Joao Claudio de Vasconcelos Machado – better known as the Machadão – has welcomed the biggest clashes in Natal football to the Lagoa Nova neighbourhood. The three leading teams in Natal, the capital of Rio Grande do Norte state, are ABC, Alecrim and America, who last appeared in Brazil’s top flight – Serie A – in 1985, 1986 and 2007 respectively.

However, in order for Natal to become one of the 12 Host Cities at the 2014 FIFA World Cup™, a bigger and more modern venue was required. The solution settled upon was to completely demolish both the Machadão and the neighbouring Humberto Nesi sports hall, known as the Machadinho.

Rising up on the site is the Estadio das Dunas stadium project, with its name relating to the sand dunes that are one of the most impressive natural attractions in the Natal region. Nor do the similarities end there, with the stadium’s daring undulating structure designed to imitate said dunes.

Matches:
13/06/2014 13:00 Mexico vs. Cameroon
16/06/2014 19:00 Ghana vs. USA
19/06/2014 19:00 Japan vs. Greece
24/06/2014 13:00 Italy vs. Uruguay

Local hero:
Marinho Chagas was an early example of a left-back who could defend well but also attack like a winger. He played for Brazil in the 1974 World Cup and won 36 caps.

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