World Cup 2014
The 2014 FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) World Cup will take place from 12 June to 13 July in the host country of Brazil.
The FIFA World Cup is held every four years and countries from around the world compete for the championship. 32 countries have qualified for participation this year.
Football is a popular sport in Brazil and the country hosted the World Cup once before in 1950. Brazil has also won the competition five times since the contest began in 1930, a record that has yet to be beaten.
The matches will take place in twelve stadiums in twelve different cities in Brazil, which is higher than the normal limit of ten cities. An exception was made in Brazil's case due to the size of the country. The twelve cities are: São Paulo, Natal, Fortaleza, Manaus, Brasilia, Recife, Salvador, Cuiabá, Porto Alegre, Rio de Janeiro, Curitiba, and Belo Horizonte. Some of these were constructed as part of an urban renewal and redevelopment project in Brazil, and were specifically built for the World Cup.
Airbus Defence and Space have released imagery of the stadiums for viewing, acquired by their Pleiades satellites. This also includes a feature on the construction of the Arena Corinthians in São Paulo.
Esri have produced a Story Map which looks at the 12 stadiums and other locations of interest in each city.
DMCii have published views of some of the cities hosting the matches from their NigeriaSat-2 satellite.
This page features satellite images related to the World Cup, with a particular focus on the stadiums in Brazil. Click on the thumbnail images to see larger versions.
18 July 2014 - Aachen, Cologne and Bonn, Germany
To commemorate Germany's victory this image shows part of the winning nation, over the cities of Aachen, Cologne and Bonn. The image was acquired by the NightPod instrument aboard the International Space Station on 08 December 2012. NightPod is used by astronauts to acquire night-time images of the Earth, which makes it easy to spot areas of habitation due to light, as we can see in this image.
Cologne was one of the cities where matches occurred during the 2006 World Cup, which was hosted by Germany. The city is visible in the top-right corner of the image.
16 July 2014 - Rio de Janeiro
And the winner is: Germany. A 1-0 victory over Argentina saw Germany claim the World Cup, marking the first time that a European nation has won the tournament in South America. It is the fourth time that Germany has won the World Cup, and the first time that this has happened since the nation was united. The last time Germany won the tournament was in 1990 when West Germany defeated Argentina once again in the final with the same score; 1-0.
The final match took place at the Estádio do Maracanã in Rio de Janeiro. ESA's new Sentinel-1 satellite acquired this radar view of Rio on 13 May 2014. The stadium can be seen as a circular mark towards the coast of the bay in this image.
Credit: European Space Agency (ESA)
10 July 2014 - Arena da Baixada, Curitiba
The semi-finals have finished, and the final match of the 2014 World Cup will be between Germany and Argentina on 13 July. After their dramatic victory over Brazil (7-1), the German team have now scored 17 goals in the tournament, which is the highest so far in this year's contest. The trophy awaits for one of these two nations.
The Arena da Baixada is featured in this below image, from the Pleiades satellites. Seen on 29 January 2014, this stadium was opened in 1999, and replaced an historic stadium on the same site which had been built in 1914.
The stadium came under criticism in January 2014, when FIFA officials were concerned that renovations to the stadium would not be completed in time. Curitiba was almost removed as one of the host cities due to this, but the renovations were completed and four of the matches took place here.
08 July 2014 - Sao Simao Reservoir, Brazil
And we're now down to the final four in the semi-finals: Brazil, Germany, the Netherlands and Argentina. Which will win? One of the deciding matches takes place today, at the Estadio Mineirao between Brazil and Germany.
To celebrate the World Cup, NASA released a gallery of images showing every county participating from space. This image below features Brazil, specifically the Sao Simao Reservoir in southern Brazil. Located at the confluence of the Rio Paranaiba and Rio Verde, the reservoir was constructed to harness the water power for a hydroelectric dam.
The image was taken by astronauts aboard the International Space Station on 11 June 2014.
04 July 2014 - Estádio Beira-Rio, Porto Alegre
Two of the quarter-finals matches take place today, and the next two tomorrow. These will decide which teams move through to the Semi-Finals next week, and from there the Finals.
The Estádio Beira-Rio in Porto Alegre is featured in this Pleiades image, acquired 14 March 2014. One of the older stadiums hosting matches in this tournament, it was the venue for six games, the last of which took place on 30 June. The stadium was opened in 1969 and today hosts a capacity for approximately 51,000 people.
02 July 2014 - Estadio Nacional, Brasília
The Quarter-Finals begin today, with the number of teams now narrowed down to eight. The Netherlands goal total has now reached twelve. But a noteworthy defence in last night's match between USA and Belgium saw the American goalkeeper save 18 separate goals, in what is believed to be a record.
Astronauts aboard the International Space Station captured this view of the Estatio Nacional in Brasília on 28 May 2014. We saw an interior view of the stadium from the Google imagery previously, but this image lets us see the circular stadium from above. Five of the seven matches this stadium is hosting have now taken place, and the next occurs on 05 July.
Credit: NASA Earth Observatory
26 June 2014 - Estádio do Maracanã, Rio de Janeiro
Twelve nations have been eliminated and the remaining teams will soon be narrowed down to the sixteen which will move onto the next stage. The Netherlands continues to maintain the highest number of goals, with ten. Over half of the matches in this tournament have now been played.
The stadium featured below is the Estádio do Maracanã in Rio de Janeiro. Seen by the Pleiades satellite on 17 March 2014, this stadium is older than most in the tournament. It was constructed for the 1950 World Cup, hosted by Brazil, and the final match in the tournament took place in this stadium between Uruguay and Brazil. Uruguay claimed victory that day.
It is hosting seven matches in this year's World Cup, four of which have been played so far. The next will occur on 28 June.
23 June 2014 - Brazil
We are over a week into the World Cup, now. Some teams have returned home to their nations in defeat, while others continue on. The Netherlands still maintain their lead in goals, with eight, but France is narrowly behind them with seven goals.
All twelve of the cities hosting the matches in Brazil can be seen in this image from NASA's Suomi NPP satellite. It is a night-time view in which the white points indicate bright lights. The highest concentration of these lights is clearly Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, the biggest cities in the country. This image was acquired on 04 August 2013.
Credit: NASA Earth Observatory
18 June 2014 - Arena das Dunas, Natal
We are now several days into the World Cup. The Netherlands is currently the highest scorer, with five goals scored against Spain in one match.
Our next stadium featured here is the Arena das Dunas, in Natal. Seen in this Pleiades image, acquired 25 March 2014, the stadium is hosting four of the matches in the World Cup. Two of these have taken place, so far, and the next occurs on 19 June.
Arena das Dunas (Dune Arena in Portuguese) is designed to resemble the sand dunes that the Natal region is known for. The stadium was built for the World Cup, and was completed in January 2014.
12 June 2014 - Arena Pantanal, Cuiabá
The 20th World Cup begins today, with the first match between Brazil and Croatia. Follow all of the matches on the FIFA website.
This image, acquired by the Pleiades satellite on 04 March 2014, shows the Arena Pantanal, in Cuiabá, which will host four of the matches in the contest. The first match takes place on 13 June.
There were some concerns that this stadium, built specifically for the World Cup, would not be finished in time, but it opened at the end of April and hosted its first official match in May, only one month ago.
Nicknamed "O Verdão" (which means "The Big Green" in Portuguese), this stadium has an overall green theme, with a focus on sustainability. One notable feature is that trees and foliage have been planted in each of the four corners of the stadium.
09 June 2014 - Arena Amazônia, Manaus
The Arena Amazônia can be seen in this Pleiades image, acquired on 08 May 2014. This stadium is located in Manaus, in the middle of the Amazon Rainforest, and was opened in March 2014 following four years of construction.
The stadium replaces the previous Vivaldão stadium in the city, and the new Amazônia stadium was constructed specifically for this World Cup. It will host four of the matches in the contest, the first of which takes place on 14 June.
06 June 2014 - World Cup weather from space
The state of the weather is naturally an important factor in any sporting event. Football is no exception, and satellite imagery has been used to aid in weather forecasting and monitoring for decades now.
In this feature the meteorological organisation EUMETSAT study the weather of past World Cups, dating back to 1978. These include images from their own Meteosat series of satellites, such as the below image.
This image was acquired by Meteosat-9 on 11 June 2010, and observes the weather over South Africa, where the previous World Cup took place.
05 June 2014 - Estádio Nacional de Brasília Mané Garrincha, Brasília
Google Maps Street View has released a gallery that features all twelve of the stadiums that are hosting the matches. This enables users to examine the stadiums as if they were there on the pitch.
This example features the Estádio Nacional de Brasília Mané Garrincha in Brasília. The stadium was completed in 1974 and will host seven of the matches in the 2014 World Cup, the first of which will take place on 15 June. The stadium was renovated in 2013 which involved the complete reconstruction of parts of the stadium. Today it can contain a capacity of approximately 70,000 people.
30 May 2014 - Arena Corinthians, São Paulo
The Arena Corinthians, seen in this Pleiades image acquired 29 April 2014, will host the first match in the 2014 World Cup. It will host a total of six of the contest's matches.
Construction of this stadium began in 2011 and was finished on 15 April 2014. It is owned by the Sport Club Corinthians Paulista and will temporarily host a capacity for almost 70 thousand people during 2014. From 2015 onwards it will contain a normal capacity of 48 thousand.
See also a comparative view of the stadium, which shows how it looked in April 2014 and the same area during the construction in 2012.
29 May 2014 - Estadio Mineirão, Belo Horizonte
The Estadio Mineirão, visible in this Pleiades image acquired on 03 May 2013, is located in Belo Horizonte. It will host six matches in the 2014 World Cup, the first of which takes place on 14 June.
The stadium was opened in 1965, after almost six years of construction. Due to uncertain financial circumstances at the time, there were concerns that the stadium would never be finished. The stadium was last renovated in 2012, after Brazil was selected as the host country for this World Cup.