6 Biggest Football Stadiums in the World
Football is one of the most popular sports in the world and stadiums on which it’s played are wonderfully designed and have a great capacity. Here are a few of the largest stadiums in the world where football (soccer) is played.
1. Maracana, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
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Officially known as Estádio Mário Filho, the Maracana Stadium was built to serve as a centerpiece for the 1950 World Cup. It was designed to become the largest football stadium in the world . It opened on 16th June 1950 with a friendly match between selected players from Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
After eight days, the stadium hosted the opening match of the 1950 World Cup between Brazil and Mexico (4-0). It would continue to host four more tournaments in the first round group stage and three more in the second round stage, among which there was the deciding final match between Uruguay and Brazil (2-1).
Officially around 173,000 paying viewers watched the final; but it’s estimated that over 200,000 watched the match live from stands.
Although the stadium was renamed in 1966 after the demise of Brazilian journalist Mario Filho, people still refer to it as Maracana.
Shortly after a deathly accident, it got converted into an all-seater in the 1990s.
It was decided that Maracana would host the 2014 World Cup when Brazil was awarded the event in 2007 and renovation work started in 2010. The renewed stadium has a capacity of 79,000 seats. It reopened on 2nd June 2013 with a friendly international match between Brazil and England (2-2).
Maracana is a regular home to Flamengo and Fluminense, but it’s also used occasionally by other Rio clubs like Vasco da Gama and Botafogo for high-profile matches.
2. International Stadium Yokohama, Yokohama, Japan
Also known as Nissan Stadium, the International Stadium Yokohama, is the largest stadium in Japan. It officially opened on 1st March 1998. It served as the flagship stadium of the 2002 World Cup and hosted four matches, including the final between Germany and Brazil (2-0). It has the capacity of 72,327 seats.
The Nissan Stadium hosted the International Cup between 2002 and 2004, and the final of the FIFA Club World Cup between 2005 and 2008 and in 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2016.
3. Cairo International Stadium, Cairo, Egypt
Originally named Nasser Stadium, the Cairo International Stadium opened in 1960 when it had the capacity of over 100,000 viewers though unofficial entries could reach more than 120,000.
The stadium was refurbished in 2005 for the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations when it hosted the opening and final matches, among others.
The Cairo International Stadium is one of the major playing venues used by Egypt national team, although it’s not a permanent home to any club team. However, various Cairo-based clubs, such Zamalek and Al Ahiy, use it for their prominent matches.
4. Olympiastadion, Berlin, Germany
Olympiastadion was built to host the 1936 Olympic Games after demolishing the old stadium on the site. Architect Werner March created the stadium inspired by the classical world’s sports arenas. It has the capacity to hold 100,000 spectators.
In 1972-73, the stadium underwent a major renovation for the upcoming 1974 World Cup during which it hosted three matches in the first group stage.
Then it underwent a renovation for the 2006 World Cup when it hosted four group matches, a quarter-final and the final between France and Italy (1-1).
The Olympiastadion hosted the Champions League final between Barcelona and Juventus (3-1) in 2015.
5. Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy
Stadio Olimpico, the flagship stadium of Foro Italia sports complex, was officially opened on 17th May 1953 when a match between Italy and Hungary was played. The stadium mainly comprises of terraces and its capacity was originally 100,000. Later in the 1960 Olympics, its terraces were converted to seats and its capacity became 53,000 seats.
Stadio Olimpico served as the principal venue of the Euro 1968 Championships, when it hosted the match for the third place and the final between Italy and Yugoslavia (2-0 after a replay).
In 1980, the stadium again hosted three group matches and the final between West Germany and Belgium (2-1).
Stadio Olimpico again underwent a major refurbishment when Italy got awarded the 1990 World Cup. Started with a plan of a few redesigns, the stadium got completely renovated and its capacity became 74,000 seats.
The stadium hosted all the three group matches of Italy during the World Cup – Italy’s round of 16 match and quarter-final and the final Germany FR and Argentina (1-0).
The last refurbishment of the stadium was done in 2007 to prepare it for hosting Champions League finals. Among other things, this renovation included replacement of all seats.
6. NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium, Kiev, Ukraine
The National Sports Complex Olimpiyskiy Stadium is also called Kiev Olympic Stadium and is the Ukrainian national stadium and is home ground to FC Dynamo Kiev.
The stadium originally scheduled to open on 22nd June 1941 but was officially opened on 12th July 1942 when the Germans entered and took over the city. But the stadium had to be repaired when they retreated after one year and then was reopened on 25th June 1944.
The stadium was enlarged in 1966 with a second tier and its capacity became over 100,000. But in a second refurbishment, its capacity was reduced to around 83,000.
The stadium got selected to host the Euro 2012 final. During the Euro 2012 Championships, three group matches were hosted by the stadium, quarter-finals between Italy and England, and the final between Spain and Italy.
The NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium hosted the 2018 Champions League final.
We hope that the information of these magnificent stadiums is amazing for you and your interest in the sport has still grown.