The stadiums: Estadio Beira-Rio, Porto Alegre
Located in a picture-postcard setting, on reclaimed land on the banks of the River Guaiba, the Estadio Beira-Rio is the home of Internacional, arch-rivals to their Porto Alegre neighbours Gremio. The venue of many a thrilling city derby and no fewer than four Copa Libertadores finals, the stadium is now preparing to host five games at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™, among them a Round-of-16 tie.
The largest football ground in the south of Brazil and nicknamed the “Gigante do Beira-Rio” (The Giant of Beira-Rio), the stadium is officially known as the Estadio Jose Pinheiro Borda and was opened in 1969. It had taken nearly a decade to build, with Inter fans lending a helping hand in its construction by donating bricks, cement and iron. So anxious were some supporters to see the ground built that they would even leave games at the club’s existing ground, Estadio dos Eucaliptos, whenever the team was losing and head to the Beira-Rio to cheer the builders on.
The cost of revamping the stadium is being met by the club itself through the programme “Gigante para Sempre” (A Giant for all time). 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, at the end of which the Beira-Rio will have a capacity of 50,287.