Estadio Beira-Rio

By the banks of Guaíba

The reflection of sunset on water is a thing of beauty. And there’s no better site to enjoy it than on the banks of River Guaiba. And this is where the historic city of Porte Alegre is located. Internacional and Gremio, two of Brazil’s most famous clubs call this place their home. The 1950s were an era of great success for Internacional and their stadium Estádio dos Eucaliptos was deemed too small. Thus started the construction of Estadio Beira Rio, also known as Estádio José Pinheiro Borda after an elderly Portugese engineer who supervised the building of the stadium. The stadium was constructed on reclaimed land from the river that was donated to Internacional by the city council.

The fan factor

Building works started in 1959, but due to a lack of finances Internacional heavily relied on fans contributing the bricks, cement, and iron works. As a result, works progressed very slowly and it took a decade for construction to complete. The stadium officially opened in April 1969 with a friendly match between Internacional and Benfica. The venue has seen several thrilling derby matches between rival teams Internacional and Gremio. It has also played host to four Copa Libertadores finals.

Beira Rio is the biggest stadium in the Rio Grande do Sul state and also South Brazil. It is also nicknamed “Gigante do Beira-Rio” (The Giant of Beira-Rio). The stadium complex houses a chapel, event center, bars, stores and a parking lot for up to 3000 cars. The stadium hardly changed over the next few decades after its construction. So when it was chosen as one of the venues to host matches during World Cup 2014, extensive redevelopment plans were made.

'Gigante Para Sempre'

The project for restoration of the complex has been named 'Gigante Para Sempre' (Giant Forever). It is expected to bring stadium to an international standard. The main feature of the project is the installation of an innovative metal roof to cover the stands, ramps and turnstile areas. The construction project has been divided into different phases, the idea being to enable its continued use during its refurbishment. The redevelopment also included demolition and reconstruction of the entire lower tier and construction of a new catchy exterior and a roof. The final capacity of the stadium is expected to be around 51,000. Once the restoration works are completed, the stadium will play host to five World Cup games including a round of 16 tie.

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