A lot of people didn’t think World Cup games should be held in Manaus.
The Amazonian city is 1,700 miles from Sao Paulo and surrounded by 2.1 million square miles of rain forest.
National team coaches have complained about the oppressive heat and humidity. Brazilians have complained about the exorbitant cost of building a soccer arena in the middle of the jungle — a city so remote that it took a 20-day boat voyage to deliver the steel to build the 42,000-seat stadium.
With just three days to go until the Italy-England game, the pitch at the Arena Amazonia is in horrible shape.
As these great photos from Reuters, Getty, and the AP show, Manaus is gorgeous (it sits on the banks of the Rio Negro), large (the 7th-biggest city in Brazil), and industrial (its free port is a hub of trade).
But given the construction costs, the travel headaches, and the playing conditions, it’s also a head-scratching choice for a World Cup host city.
It also cost $US290 million to build, and with no pro team in Manaus it could become a white elephant.
The Colina Training Center looked like this in January. Many World Cup venues were behind schedule last winter.
In 2013, police evicted 5,000 Amazon Indians from an area of rainforest near the city, drawing protests.
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