Everyone loves a good party. An excuse to invite friends over, get dressed up and have a great time. It’s even better when that party is also an international sporting event with thousands of visitors coming to your city for the day. A country’s ability to host an international sporting event proves its infrastructure and hospitality. An effective national team leaves little room for error before inviting another major tournament. This is how Chile prepared for the FIFA World Cup 1962...
Football Culture in Chile
Chile’s love affair with football began in the late 19th century when British sailors arrived in the country and introduced the sport.
The first match in Chile was played in 1892 at the Estadio San Carlos, now Estadio Nacional, in the capital city of Santiago. Chile’s love of football developed so much that in 1915, the country became one of the founding members of the Asociación del Football Latinoamericano (AFL), now known as the Union of South American Football (UNAFE). The Chileans also played a key role in setting up the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL), which hosts the Copa América every four years. As a result of the country’s devotion to the sport, FIFA selected Chile as one of the 16 host countries for the World Cup.
Hosting the FIFA World Cup is an opportunity that few countries are given. For this reason, Chile was incredibly determined to be successful in its bid for the event. Its first attempt to host the competition was rejected in 1949, but it didn’t give up and tried again in 1957 and 1958. In addition to stadium development and transportation infrastructure, one of the main challenges that Chile would have to face was the climate. The South American country’s weather is very changeable, which means there is a high risk of extreme temperatures during certain times of the year. Chile is located in a seismic region, which means that it is at a high risk of experiencing earthquakes. The city of Santiago is in a particularly earthquake-prone area, which would need to be taken into consideration.
Building the Stadiums
When the FIFA World Cup 1962 was announced and Chile was chosen as a host nation, the country had already started planning for the event. The stadium in the capital city of Santiago was built in 1920 and was first used in the South American Games of 1923. The stadium was later renovated to accommodate the World Cup. The Estadio Nacional de Chile, as it was called, hosted the Chile-Brazil semi-final match and the third-place match. It held a total of 55,000 spectators. The stadium in the city of Rancagua was also built in 1920 and was later renovated to host the World Cup. The Estadio Casa de Gobierno, as it was called, held a total of 35,000 spectators. The stadium in the city of Concepción was built in 1930 and was also renovated for the World Cup. The Estadio Municipal, as it was called, held a total of 30,000 spectators. The stadium in the city of Temuco was built in 1939 and was also renovated for the World Cup. The Estadio Temuco, as it was called, held a total of 35,000 spectators. The stadium in the city of Chillán was built in 1939 and renovated for the World Cup. The Estadio Francisco Seymour, as it was called, held a total of 24,000 spectators.
As hosting the FIFA World Cup is a large-scale event, Chile needed to make decisions that would improve its transportation infrastructure. The country decided to encourage the construction of new highways and railways to make traveling easier.
Chile’s main airport was the Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport, which is also known as Santiago Airport. It was a small airport at the time, so it needed considerable expansion to be able to welcome everyone who would be visiting for the World Cup. It was expanded by adding more runways and terminals. The Comodoro Benítez Airport is now the country’s main airport and is used by thousands of people every day.
Other Pre-Event Developments
Another thing that Chile did to prepare for hosting the FIFA World Cup in 1962 was to build a new hotel in Santiago. The hotel was called Hotel Carrera and this was where most of the journalists stayed during the tournament. The government also built a new stadium in Concepción. It was called Estadio Municipal de Concepción and was completed in 1962. This stadium was used for a few other sporting events after the FIFA World Cup was over.
The FIFA World Cup is a very large-scale sporting event that requires plenty of preparation. Chile was incredibly determined to host the tournament at the first opportunity and put considerable effort into preparing for the event. The country focused on stadium development, transportation infrastructure, and other pre-event developments to prepare for the FIFA World Cup in 1962. After hosting the tournament, the stadiums and other infrastructure were put to good use until this day.
But despite the country having a strong football culture, the infrastructure in the country is not well-developed enough today to support hosting another World Cup. The
stadiums are not modern enough to support the level of play.