Saturday, February 17, 2007

Venezuela spends US$700 million to host football tournament

The official draw for the world's oldest football tournament, the South American Nations cup, also known as "Copa America" was held on Feb. 14 in Caracas, capital of Venezuela. The twelve countries taking part have been divided into the following groups :
Group A: Venezuela, Bolivia, Uruguay and Peru.Group B: Brazil, Chile, Ecuador and Mexico.Group C: Argentina, Colombia, Paraguay and U.S.A.
The event will be transmitted live from June 26 to July 15 via satellite to 180 countries with a total audience of 800 million viewers. The Chavez administration has invested approximately US$700 million to build new stadiums and upgrade others.The South American Football Federation (Conmebol) sent an inspection committee to Venezuela that was extremely pleased with the progress in the construction of the nine sports arenas."We have given our full approval to the Venezuelan stadiums. The world must know that some monumental venues are being built. Venezuela now has the best stadiums in South America, and we are sure this will be the most successful Copa America in history," said Nolberto Alvarez, head of the Conmebol inspectors in an interview with ABN (Venezuela's news agency).Hildo Nejar, a Brazilian inspector went even further with his praises by stating that Venezuela could organize a World Cup in the near future.“We have been very impressed by the constructions. The workers have made a great effort to finish in time and now Venezuela will have some incredible stadiums,” said Nejar.
According to the Conmebol inspectors, the new stadiums comply with FIFA standards and are very similar the best European grounds.“Our stadiums have nothing to envy those seen at the last World Cup. This is a great boost to Venezuela's sporting infrastructure for the future," said Rafael Esquivel, President of the Venezuelan Football Federation.As follows is a description of the stadiums :
Monumental Stadium (City of Maturin ): Probably the most spectacular with a capacity for 52,000. A World Cup class venue. Investment: US$ 58 million. Metropolitan Stadium (City of Merida ): Built in 2005 with a capacity for 42,000 spectators but currently also being upgraded at a cost of US$ 74.5 million. Agustin Tovar Stadium (City of Barinas) : Has a capacity of 27,000 spectators and built at a cost of US$60.5 million.Metropolitan Stadium (Barquisimeto): For 38,000 spectators at a cost of US$ 74.5 million.
Cachamay Stadium (Guayana City): Capacity: 41,000 spectatorsInvestment: US$ 74.5 million.
General JA Anzoategui Stadium (Puerto La Cruz):Capacity: 38,000 spectatorsInvestment: US$ 42 million
Pachencho Romero Stadium :(Maracaibo): Capacity: 35,000 spectatorsInvestment: US$14 million
Caracas Olympic Stadium (Caracas): Capacity: 30,000 spectators.Investment: US$16 million
Pueblo Nuevo Stadium (City of San Cristobal): Capacity: 40,000. Investment: US$60.5 million.
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Friday, February 16, 2007

Chile downed by Russia in Davis Cup

144th-ranked Andreev upsets fifth-ranked Gonzalez

In first-round Davis Cup action this weekend, Russia defeated Chile at home in the resort city of La Serena, Chile.In the first of two singles matches on Friday 4 sept, Marat Safin of Russia (ranked 24th) beat Nicholas Massu of Chile (ranked 42nd), 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.
Massu has shown a slump in his form in the past year. As is tradition, the local team had been allowed to choose the location and pitch. The Chileans had picked a clay surface at sea level in an effort to slow down the hard-hitting Russians.In the next game, local fans were certain that Fernando Gonzalez, the world's No. 5 player, would easily overcome Igor Andreev, ranked 144th. Against all odds, however, Andreev struck a heavy blow to the home team's morale, defeating Gonzalez in three straight sets.The Chilean team went to rest that night without disclosing who would take part in the doubles match.A few minutes before the start of the game on Saturday morning, the crowd of 9,000 cheered as they saw that Gonzalez and Massu would try to keep Chile in the series. The two Chilean players have been playing together since the junior division. In 2004, they won the gold medal in doubles at the Athens Olympic Games.The Russians, Safin and Andreev, were no match for the Chileans, who won 7-6, 6-3, 6-4. Now all was set for the final and decisive match day, when Gonzalez would face Safin and Massu would play against Andreev.Gonzalez recovered his form on Sunday and defeated Safin, 6-3, 7-5, 6-4, boosting the crowd's spirit.Now all the attention was focused on whether Massu could defeat Andreev, the surprise player of the series. The Russian started by playing nearly perfect tennis at the beginning and won the first two sets, 6-2, 6-1. Spurred on by the local fans, Massu made a comeback in the third set to win, 7-1, in the tiebreak. Unfortunately, in the fourth set, Andreev played as well as he did earlier, winning with a final score of 6-2, 6-1, 6-7, 6-4.Chile must now await the draw by the International Tennis Federation to see which country will be its rival in September. Whoever it might be, Chile must win in order to continue in the top flight of world tennis.Other 1st Round ResultsArgentina 4, Austria 1USA 4, Czech Republic 1France 4, Romania 1Germany 3, Croatia 2Spain 3, Switzerland 2Sweden 3, Belarus 2Australia 2, Belgium 3