The 2014 World Cup will open in a brand new stadium in Sao Paolo on June 12 and end on July 13 at the famed Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro according to the tournament match schedule, which was unveiled on Thursday. Matches for the tournament will be hosted in 12 cities with matches beginning between noon and 10 pm local Brasilia time (10 am and 8 pm ET).
As the hosts, Brazil will play in the tournament's opening match in Sao Paolo. They will then play their remaining group stage matches in Fortaleza and Brasilia. Their schedule, along with the rest of the slate, make it clear that the organizing committee and FIFA did not take Brazil's large size into account. Instead of keeping teams in cities close together with some sort of pod system, the schedule will make teams fly as many as four hours from one match city to another.
The 12 cities that will host matches are Belo Horizonte, Brasilia, Cuiaba, Curitiba, Fortaleza, Manaus, Natal, Porto Alegre, Recife, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador and Sao Paolo. In addition to hosting the opening match, Sao Paolo will also host one of the semifinals, with Belo Horizonte hosting the other semifinal. Each host city will host at least four group stage matches with eight of the 12 cities also playing host to at least one knockout stage match.
Start times for the match are a nice change for those in the Americas, who have had to watch matches in the middle of the night or early morning for every tournament since 1994. With afternoon and evening starts in Brazil though, Europe will have to watch some matches in the middle of the night. Some matches will start at 4 pm CET, but some will also start as late as 2 am in Europe.
A link to the entire match schedule can be found here.