Meet Manaus: England’s first stop in the 2014 World Cup!

By on February 18, 2014

England’s World Cup campaign-opening group match with Italy takes place in a city which all but the best traveled and most geographically learned amongst you are unlikely to have heard of before the draw way made: Manaus.

Here’s a brief guide to some of the essential details on this extraordinary and exotic city…

Meet Manaus

With roughly 2 million inhabitants, Manaus is a major Brazilian city. Not only is Manaus the capital city of the northern Brazilian state of Amazonas, it is also the most populous settlement in the region. Manaus lies slap bang in the middle of a vast expanse of rainforest; a metropolis marooned in the midst of the Amazon.

Founded in 1693-4, the settlement attained city status in 1848. Known colloquially as ‘The Heart of the Amazon’ and ‘City of the Forest’, Manaus forms the cultural and economic heart of the Amazonas area. The rainforest location of the city has ensured a degree of protection for the unique culture, flora and fauna to the local area, with the city only accessible by boat or airplane.

What does this mean for England?

It’s difficult to assess how the culture shock of settling in to an environment as starkly different to home as Manaus will affect the chances of Roy Hodgson’s men when they face Italy in the jungle on June 14th, The conditions will undoubtedly present a challenge to certain players. The temperature and humidity of the forest are unlikely to play into England’s hands – average daily highs of over 30 degrees Celsius will surely favour the more habitually sun-kissed Italians. However this does not seem to have affected the bookmakers onions who see the sides as quite evenly matched, see the latest odds at coral now.

Is this city worth the trip?

For truly adventurous travellers who want to combine soaking up the World Cup atmosphere with a foray into one of Planet Earth’s last great wildernesses, Manaus represents a tantalising travel opportunity. The abundance of bars in the city will ensure an opportunity to watch the game on June 14th (which will certainly be preferable to a trip down the local boozer, especially if England lose), and for those who fancy venturing off the beaten track, Manaus is considered the gateway to the Amazon – if you’re game for some genuine jungle exploration, this is your point of departure in Brazil, with the greatest abundance of land-based life in the solar system laid out right in front of you. Read more on Manaus from the excellent Lonely Planet, here.


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