The Maracanã stadium re-opened with great fanfare with a match against England on 2 June, returning to the city its long lost temple of football for the first time since 2010. It might still look similar from the outside, but here now sits a modern 78,000-seat bowl of unrestricted football-viewing pleasure ready for the biggest tournament on the planet.
The 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup is the final chance for the authorities to iron out any cracks and serves as a curtain raiser of sorts for the World Cup proper a year later, getting the footballing juices flowing as the countdown begins in earnest. Seven other teams will try and rain on Brazil's parade, with the hosts involved in the opening game in Brasília as they take on Japan. Mexico and Italy complete Group A, whilst in Group B, Tahiti, Nigeria, Uruguay and Spain compete for the next round and a boost to their own pre-World Cup preparations.
Two first-round games and the final will be played at the Maracana, with tickets available through the official website fifa.com. The schedule for the Rio games looks like this:
16 June, 4pm
Mexico Vs. Italy
20 June, 4pm
Spain Vs. Tahiti
30 June, 4pm
It will also be the first international competition at this level to use goal-line technology, but no doubt the officials will come up with whole new ways of injecting a little controversy into proceedings. The countdown to the World Cup begins right here.