- Associated Press - Friday, April 11, 2014

RECIFE, Brazil (AP) - With its rivers, beaches and coral reefs, the northeastern city of Recife is nicknamed the Venice of Brazil.

Recife will host five World Cup matches at the 44,000-capacity Arena Pernambuco, which was also used at last year’s Confederations Cup.

Recife means “reef” in Portuguese. Along with Fortaleza, it is regarded as the most important city of Brazil’s northeast. It is also represents one of the poorest regions of the country, and the stadium - on the outskirts of the city - was built in the hope of stimulating development.

The opening World Cup match at the Arena Pernambuco will be Ivory Coast vs. Japan on June 14. Other matches include: Italy vs. Costa Rica on June 20; Croatia vs. Mexico on June 23; and United States vs. Germany on June 26.

The group matches will be followed by another in the round of 16.

The stadium is located on the outskirts of town, so it would be a good idea to get an early start on game day with bad traffic very likely.

The city if bounded by sand beaches and swaying palms, but signs along the beach warn tourists to beware of sharks.

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