Image: VANDERLEI ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images

Once a symbol of hope and regeneration, the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is today little more than a dark and dilapidated shell. Its windows have been smashed. Its seats have been ripped out. Even the copper wires embedded in its walls have been plundered by desperate looters.

Image: YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images

Unbelievably, the stadium was once a showpiece venue and the host of prestigious international fixtures, including the Olympic Games and the soccer World Cup Final. With a capacity of around 80,000, its galleries once thronged with spectators, but those days appear to be gone.

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