SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazilian officials have inaugurated the Arena da Amazonia in the jungle city of Manaus, the ninth World Cup stadium to become available for football's showcase event. Three still have to be finished, including the one hosting the opener in Sao Paulo in about three months.
The Arena da Amazonia was not fully completed on Sunday but local authorities inaugurated the venue with a regional championship match with nearly 20,000 people in attendance, including workers who helped to build the venue.
The 44,000-capacity stadium will host four World Cup matches in June, including England vs. Italy and United States vs. Portugal.
The Arena da Amazonia was one of six stadiums not completed by the end of last year as wanted by FIFA. It was expected to be inaugurated last month but the event had to be postponed because there was too much work left at the time.
Sunday's match between Nacional and Remo, which ended in a 2-2 draw, was organized to be a simulation of a World Cup event.
"This shows that the stadium is ready to host matches," Amazonas state Gov. Omar Aziz said. "There are still details to be finalized, but that's why we are doing these test events."
Aziz said that at least two other test matches are expected before the World Cup begins.
Only fans with tickets were allowed inside a 1-kilometer (0.6-mile) perimeter near the stadium. In addition to the 13,000 tickets sold to the general public, 7,000 were given to stadium workers and their relatives.
More than 2,500 policemen were on duty during the match, including 200 in charge of monitoring ticket scalpers outside the stadium and some 70 officers inside the venue working on the pitch and the stands.
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