A less-than-capacity crowd at Sunday’s final World Cup test event at the Itaquerao venue in Sao Paulo means it will host a full crowd for the first time at the tournament opener.
About 70,000 fans are expected at the stadium when Brazil plays Croatia on June 12. However, event organizers were unable to sell tickets to one of the two temporary seating sections in the upper level due to lack of fire department approval.
For Sunday’s match, a crowd of around 37,000 was in attendance at the venue which will host six World Cup matches.
“The stadium is marvelous, but it’s not even finished,” one fan told the LA Times, “and that’s completely unacceptable.”
Parts of the stadium were reportedly visibly unfinished, including exposing concrete walls and constructions materials lying in unused part of the grandstand. Some concession stands were unfinished and not yet working properly.
Two other stadiums in Natal and Porto Alegre are not yet complete.
There were no major problems in executing the event, however, though some fans complained of heavy traffic and poor access instructions. There were long lines at security as metal detectors were used for the first time. Some fans did not make it into the match before the game’s first goal in the 25th minute.
“We are certain that everything will be ready. We have a week and a half of a lot of work, but all is on track to being ready for the opener,” said organizer Tiago Paes.
A minimum of three test events are usually played at World Cup venues. However, exceptions were made for several of Brazil’s facilities due to construction delays.
By INSIDER’s Nick Devlin