Estadio das Dunas – Natal:
Ever since it was inaugurated back in 1972, the Estadio Joao Claudio de Vasconcelos Machado – better known as the Machadão – has welcomed the biggest clashes in Natal football to the Lagoa Nova neighbourhood. The three leading teams in Natal, the capital of Rio Grande do Norte state, are ABC, Alecrim and America, who last appeared in Brazil’s top flight – Serie A – in 1985, 1986 and 2007 respectively.
However, in order for Natal to become one of the 12 Host Cities at the 2014 FIFA World Cup™, a bigger and more modern venue was required. The solution settled upon was to completely demolish both the Machadão and the neighbouring Humberto Nesi sports hall, known as the Machadinho.
Rising up on the site is the Estadio das Dunas stadium project, with its name relating to the sand dunes that are one of the most impressive natural attractions in the Natal region. Nor do the similarities end there, with the stadium’s daring undulating structure designed to imitate said dunes.
The overall capacity for the stadium is 42,086 people.
The top three teams in the state of Rio Grande do Norte are from Natal: Alecrim Futebol Clube and the city’s two powerhouses and eternal rivals, America Futebol Clube and ABC Futebol Clube. Both teams have shared the vast majority of trophies of the Campeonato Potiguar (‘Potiguar’ being one who comes from Rio Grande do Norte) and were regulars in the Campeonato Brasileiro’s elite until the mid-1980s. ABC have not competed in the top tier since, meanwhile América have had their share of successful spurts and even won the regional title of the North-East Cup in 1998.
ABC’s home ground is the Maria Lamas Farache stadium, popularly known as the Frasqueirão, while both América and Alecrim normally play their home matches at the city-owned João Machado stadium, or the Machadão.