A pitch invasion and sound-system problems marked the first major test event at the World Cup stadium in the jungle city of Manaus, where Roy Hodgson’s England will begin their campaign this summer.
World Cup organisers said they were satisfied with how the stadium handled the nearly 40,000 fans for the Brazilian Cup match between Vasco da Gama and Resende, but admitted some issues will have to be addressed before England’s game against Italy on 14 June.
The nearly 600 stewards who were being tested for the first time could not keep some fans from getting onto the pitch after the 0-0 draw between the two Rio de Janeiro clubs.
Fans faced a series of problems entering the Arena da Amazonia, and communications inside the stadium also did not work properly, according to organisers. Before kick-off, players lined up for the national anthem but the sound system failed.
“This was the first official test event, we didn’t expect everything to be perfect,” said Tiago Paes, one of the officials in charge of operations at the World Cup organising committee. “In general, we were very satisfied with the results in Manaus.”
The Arena da Amazonia was officially inaugurated on 9 March, when only 20,000 fans were allowed into the 44,000-capacity stadium for security reasons. At the time, fans reported a lot of unfinished work at the venue, which was one of the six not completed by the end of last year, as requested by Fifa.
The pitch invasion happened after the final whistle, when at least three Vasco da Gama fans got past stewards to try to get near the players. They did not make any threats, but organisers admitted they were not supposed to get in.
“We will analyse the images of the invasion to find out what went wrong and who was not paying attention at the time,” Paes said. “This will not happen in World Cup matches.”
Construction at the stadium has been marked by three workers’ deaths. In addition to the match between England and Italy, Manaus will also host Cameroon against Croatia, United States against Portugal and Switzerland against Honduras.
“Our challenge now is to make sure we can keep improving in all operational areas,” said Miguel Capobiango, an official in Manaus.
Three of the 12 World Cup stadiums have yet to be inaugurated, including the one in Sao Paulo that will host the opening match on 12 June. Work in part of that stadium has been stopped since Monday following a worker’s death at the weekend.