The stadium and its history
In our next article in the series about the CONMEBOL Sudamericana™ stadiums, we look at the famous Estadio Centenario in Montevideo, Uruguay.
This stadium is the biggest football stadium in the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo, and located on Avenida Américo Ricaldoni and Avenida Federico Vidiella in the Parque Batlle quarter. The main clubs playing there are the Uruguayan national team, as well as the clubs “Nacional Montevideo” and “Peñarol Montevideo”.
The stadium was designed by architect Juan Antonio Sacasso. Architecturally, it belongs to the modernist style and is considered to be the first stadium in the world to be integrated into its landscape surroundings. The architect designed it in such a way that the playing field was lowered below the surface of the ground, making it have a low profile overall. The stadium is divided into four sections, being the stands named “Olimpica”, “Colombes”, “America” and “Amsterdam”. These names recall the places of the greatest successes of Uruguay’s national soccer team. The venue is especially important as it was built during a time of modernizing the country. Football should play the biggest role in shaping the national identity, first and foremost in the capital of Montevideo. So, it has been erected as a monument to this idea. The name of it – Centenario – translates as “Stadium of the Century”. This is due to the fact that it was opened exactly 100 years after the creation of the Constitution of the State of Uruguay
The foundation stone was laid on July 21, 1929, two months after the World Cup was awarded. Under enormous time pressure, a tremendous amount of earth had to be moved, and to save time and money, a grandstand was supported by a slope and the playing field was laid out below street level. Concrete work began on February 1, 1930, five months before the kickoff of the first World Cup match. 1,100 workers in three shifts tried to meet the deadlines. But despite all efforts, heavy rains prevented the stadium from being completed in time for the first day of the World Cup on July 13. Six of the 18 games had to be played in other venues.
The Estadio Centenario was declared the only World Football Monument to date by FIFA on July 18, 1983.
The stadium has hosted the Campeonato Sudamericano and Copa América respectively four times so far (1942, 1956, 1967 and 1995), and in each year Uruguay won the title of South American champion without losing a single match in the Centenario. Even Brazil has won only two of 20 matches played in this stadium. Uruguay also won 4-2 against Argentina in the final of the 1930 World Cup, securing the title of the first soccer world champion.
Uruguay played all four World Cup matches in the new venue in 1930 and won them all. The most important victory was achieved in the final against Argentina, where the Celeste could turn a 2-1 deficit to win 4-2 and secure their first-ever World Cup title.
In 1981, Uruguay won the Mundialito (Copa de Oro de Campiones Mundiales) after winning all three games, including the final against Brazil. The other tournament participants were Argentina, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands (by invitation).
Please read this magnificent article (translation required, though) over at FIFA to learn in detail about the stadium’s history. We at PayRetailers are proud to be an Official Sponsor of the CONMEBOL Sudamericana™, with all those venues and participants rich in history. No wonder that football is the most famous sports in the region.