There are several aspects of football that make it a beautiful game with billions of followers around the world. From international football leagues to local teams, people around the world love football. With a huge fan following worldwide, it is necessary to build massive stadiums to attract avid spectators of the sport.
Most of the stadiums in the world are owned by football clubs across the world as football stadiums often witness various emotions in football matches and that’s why football is called the most beautiful game in the world. As with the most popular sports, it is not a surprise that the game demands big stadiums so that incredible memories can be created. Yet, there are some stadiums that manage to overwhelm others in their size and magnitude. Keeping that in mind, these stadiums are some of the biggest in terms of capacity in world football.
Rungrado 1st of May Stadium, North Korea – 114,000
The Rungrado 1st of May Stadium is in Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea. Also known as the May Day Stadium, this massive stadium can hold up to 114,000 seated patrons. Aside from its large number of seats, the Rungrado 1st of May Stadium encompasses over 1,300 rooms and 80 entrances spanning approximately 2,152,782 square feet of space. The stadium, designed after a parachute or flower, is complete with 16 arches to make up its roof, which is 197 feet from the ground.
Opened in 1989, North Korea’s stadium hosted several important events throughout the decades, including North Korean football team games and the qualification round for the 2018 Asian Football Confederation Men’s Under 23 Asian Cup (AFC U-23).
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Michigan Stadium, USA – 107,601
The Michigan Stadium in the United States is second on the list of the largest football stadium in the world. The venue – with a seating capacity of 107,601 – is best known for hosting the 2014 International Champions Cup fixture between Real Madrid and Manchester United. The match saw a whopping attendance of 109,318, a record for a football game in the US.
Melbourne Cricket Ground, Australia – 100,024
Melbourne Cricket Ground might sound a bit unfamiliar to football fans but it is one of the most iconic stadiums in the world. The stadium has a capacity of more than one lakh people and it also hosts multiple sports including cricket and football.
Despite being a cricket ground it has been used for football activities as it hosts Australian Football League matches. Olympics, Commonwealth Games and Cricket World Cup have been held here while the Australian national football team also played some of the world cup qualifiers at this stadium.
Camp Nou, Spain – 99,354
The Camp Nou hosts FC Barcelona and has a distinction as one of the largest stadiums in the world. It is easily the largest in Spain with its capacity touching almost 100,000. This is an impressive feat for an all-seater stadium. Over the years, the ground has managed to host every conceivable major tournament. It has been able to host the Champions League finals, World Cup games, Summer Olympics, European Nations Cup, and more.
The recent expansions and renovations have ended up costing more than €600 million, which makes it one of the most expensive renovation jobs. Even after spending vast sums of money, Camp Nou remains one of the top European stadiums without a roof over most sections. Despite having a capacity of almost 100,000, the Barcelona board has not stopped coming out with expansion projects and the latest is set to add even more seats when it completes in 2024.
First National Bank Stadium, South Africa – 94,736
The First National Bank (FNB) Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa goes by several nicknames, including Soccer City. The stadium is also named “The Calabash,” due to its resemblance to an African-style pot or gourd. Built between 1986 and 1989, The Calabash could only hold 80,000 people within its space. However, in 2009 that the stadium upgraded its seat capacity to around 95,000 for the sake of the World Cup.
South Africa’s national football team and the South African Premier League team, the Kaizer Chiefs, often play their games at the FNB Stadium. In the past, Soccer City staged events such as the opening ceremonies (and several games) of the 2010 FIFA World Cup and the Africa Cup of Nations in 1966 and 2013.
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Wembley Stadium, London – 90,000
Wembley is an iconic destination for football fans in England. There was a lot of scepticism when the English Football Association decided to take down the Wembley, which is regarded as the home of football, in favour of a new ground. This new stadium opened in 2007 at a whopping cost of almost £800 million. This would translate into a figure of £1.3 billion in current values.
Despite the extravagant cost, the Wembley justified its image as one of the premier football destinations. It is the home of the England national team and it is one of the top destinations where international games are played. However, the increased construction costs forced the England FA to allow games from different competitions to take place.
As a result, the Wembley now hosts games from the League Cup, FA Cup, and many other lower-league competitions. It is also the destination where many event concerts are held. An iconic symbol of the ground is the huge semi-circle that can be seen from a distance. The stadium also manages to host 90,000 under a roof – making it the largest of its category.
Rose Bowl, United States – 88, 565
Rose Bowl stadium is USA’s biggest football stadium. The venue has seen some major international football matches including the 1994 FIFA World Cup final between Brazil and Italy.
It played host to Major League Soccer side Los Angeles Galaxy but they moved to a new stadium back in 2003. Rose Bowl still hosts football games quite regularly as preseason games have been played here almost every season alongside international games. The stadium can house more than 90,000 people on match days.
Estadio Azteca, Mexico – 87,000
An iconic image in Mexico City would be the Estadio Azteca, which is the home turf of the Mexican national team, Cruz Azul, and Club America. One of the major reasons behind the stadium being steeped in history is the prestige of having hosted two World Cup finals – 1970 and 1986. This stadium also witnessed one of the iconic moments in world football when Diego Maradona came up with the infamous ‘Hand of God’ goal against England in the 1986 World Cup.
Estadio Azteca is also widely regarded to have hosted the game between Italy and West Germany in 1970. This game is regarded as ‘Game of the Century’ and it witnessed Italy coming out on top with a 4-3 score after extra time.