World Cup's Arena das Dunas to host first competitive clash

It had been feared that the 40,000-seater arena, which was constructed at a cost of €120 million, might not be ready in time for the summer tournament
Alecrim FC owner Anthony Armstrong Emery has expressed his joy at his club being involved in the first competitive fixture at the 2014 World Cup venue Arena das Dunas.

As has been well documented, Brazil has failed to meet a number of the stadium construction deadlines set by Fifa ahead of this summer's tournament.

However, on Sunday, the Arena das Dunas in Natal will play host to a Rio Grande do Norte State Championship clash between Alecrim FC and ABC, much to the delight of Armstrong Emery.

“I am so proud that my team, Alecrim FC, have been chosen to play in the first match at Arena das Dunas," the Brazil-based British entrepreneur told Goal.

"Despite reports suggesting that the stadium wouldn’t be completed on time, all the hard work has paid off and the construction looks amazing.

"We will do everything in our power to represent the best interests of our fans on this historic occasion, and the game will be a great opportunity for the team to prove themselves and make our supporters proud."

The Arena das Dunas is scheduled to host four games at the 2014 World Cup, including the potentially decisive Group D encounter between Italy and Uruguay.

The 45-000 seater stadium will also stage Mexico's meeting with Cameroon, Ghana's clash with United States and Japan versus Greece.