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Tests games scheduled at stadium of WCup opener

(AP Photo/Andre Penner)

By TALES AZZONI

AP Sports Writer

SAO PAULO (AP) Brazilian club Corinthians has scheduled at least three test events at the stadium that will host the World Cup opener in less than two months.

The club in charge of the Itaquerao said Tuesday that the first full test will be a Brazilian league match on May 17 against Figueirense, about three weeks before the Brazil-Croatia opener on June 12.

A match between construction workers will be played on May 1 for about 10,000 people, and an exhibition between Corinthians teams from past and present is planned for May 10 for about 20,000 fans.

The club also wants to host another league match on May 25 or May 26, but details haven't been finalized yet.

"We'll see if there's time for that one," said former Corinthians president Andres Sanchez, who is in charge of the stadium's construction.

The club is also planning to bring about 5,000 children for an event to test the facility in about two weeks.

Although there is still work to do at the Itaquerao, constructors handed over the stadium to the club in a ceremony on Tuesday.

The Itaquerao wasn't finished by the end of last year as requested by FIFA and is one of the most delayed stadiums for the World Cup.

The 20,000 temporary seats needed for the opener are still being installed and the temporary structures required for the media, sponsors and technical teams are far from being completed.

A crane collapse killed two workers and caused severe damage to the venue late last year, and last month another worker died and prompted authorities to temporarily halt part of the construction site because of safety concerns.

The Itaquerao, which cost about $450 million, will hold nearly 70,000 fans during the World Cup. In addition to the opener, it will host three group matches, one second-round game and one of the semifinals.

Two other World Cup stadiums remain under construction - one in the wetlands city of Cuiaba and another in the southern Brazilian city of Curitiba. Nine have been officially inaugurated, but infrastructure work around most of the venues remains far from over.

Tales Azzoni on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tazzoni

Updated April 15, 2014

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