The National Stadium of Costa Rica (Spanish: Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica) is a multi-purpose stadium in La Sabana Metropolitan Park, San José, Costa Rica. It is the first modern sport and event arena to be built in Central America. The stadium was completed in 2011 and officially opened its doors to the public on Saturday, March 26 of that same year, with a capacity of 35,175 seats. The stadium replaces the original National Stadium. It also serves as the home stadium of the Costa Rica national football team.
The Costa Rica national football team, nicknamed La Sele or Los Ticos is the national team of Costa Rica and is controlled by the Federación Costarricense de Fútbol. Costa Rica is the third most successful team in CONCACAF after Mexico and the United States. They are the most successful team in Central America having qualified to four World Cups, including reaching the last sixteen on their debut in Italy 1990. In 2006, Costa Rica qualified for the World Cup in Germany, with their worst World Cup to date, finishing 31st out of 32 teams. Costa Rica has qualified first in the CONCACAF Final Round in both the 1990 World Cup qualification final round and 2002 World Cup qualification final round. Costa Rica finished second in the CONCACAF Final Round for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
The edge in both CONCACAF and UNCAF Nations Cup titles is also significant over regional national teams. Costa Rica have been CONCACAF champions three times (1963, 1969, 1989) and have won the UNCAF Nations Cup seven times. The nation has also participated in four Copa América tournaments, making the quarterfinals in 2001 and 2004.
The stadium has one high-definition 160-square-metre (1,700 sq ft) screen, located in the southern section of the stadium, along with a smaller monochromatic screen, and another monochromatic screen of the same dimensions in the northern section.
It will be used to host matches during the 2014 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, including the opening game, the third place match and the Final.
Funding and Construction
Although the cost was programmed at the beginning to around million, this was later adjusted to 0 million.
The Chinese government financed the construction of the stadium in its totality, along with its furnishing, and assumed all other costs. Demolition of the old National Stadium began May 12 of 2008, after the match between UCR (Universidad de Costa Rica) and Brujas FC and the 200M event where Nery Brenes set a new national record (20:28 seconds).
The construction of the stadium formed part of the agreements signed between the presidents of Costa Rica and China, Óscar Arias and Hu Jintao, respectively, during Arias’ first visit to the Asian country in October 2007. The construction began on March 12, 2009 and finished in 2011.
The Chinese company Anhui Foreign Economic Construction was charged with the construction of the stadium and brought 800 Chinese labourers to complete the work.
The inauguration ceremony was celebrated on the night of Saturday, March 26, 2011. National and international sports activities and entertainment went on through April 10. An official stadium inauguration web site was created, which informed the population of all inaugurating events.
The main inaugurating event was a friendly association football match between Costa Rica and China, which ended 2-2, with Álvaro Saborío scoring the first goal ever in the stadium. In March 29, in front of 35,000 people, the second match in the stadium was played against Argentina, ending 0-0.
In 2011, Shakira headlined a concert at the stadium on 10 April. Miley Cyrus performed on 21 May and the Red Hot Chili Peppers performed on 12 September. Pearl Jam played on 20 November, and Judas Priest and Whitesnake played on 27 September.
In 2012, Elton John performed on 3 February and Lady Gaga played on 3 November, in front of 29,014 people.
On 13 March, 2014 Paul McCartney announced his first ever concert in Costa Rica, to be held on May 1st 2014.
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