Not many events pack a stadium as full as a game of soccer, also known as soccer in North America. In fact, football is the most popular sport in the world, with an estimated 3.5 billion fans. It is therefore no wonder that the stadiums where football matches are played must be able to accommodate many people. Often the number of spectators at matches exceeds 100,000. In 1950, for example, Brazil’s Maracana Stadium was packed with nearly 200,000 fans for the FIFA World Cup Final between Brazil and Uruguay, an event that set the world record for the largest attendance for a closed stadium sporting event. Today, the largest stadiums in the world can accommodate between 80,000 and 150,000 spectators. This is the top ten of the world’s largest football stadiums measured by capacity.
10. Borg El Arab Stadium – 86,000
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The Borg El Arab Stadium in Egypt, which was completed in 2007, can accommodate up to 86,000 spectators. It is the second largest stadium in Africa, and was built as part of Egypt’s unsuccessful bid to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup. In 2017, the stadium was completely packed during a 2018 World Cup qualifier between Egypt and Congo.
9. Bukit Jalil National Stadium – 87,411
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The Bukit Jalil National Stadium is located in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia. Completed in 1998 for that year’s Commonwealth Games, the stadium is now the largest stadium in Southeast Asia. The stadium has hosted several international football competitions and is now hosted by the Malaysian national football team. It can accommodate 87,411 people.
8. Aztec Stadium – 87,523
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This stadium in Mexico City was completed in 1966. The venue has a capacity of 87,523. Aztec Stadium is distinguished by the number of private boxes it has to accommodate large corporate clients. There are a total of 856 boxes, an amount of premium seats that cannot be found in most stadiums in the world. The stadium has hosted two FIFA World Cups, in 1970 and 1986, and other international football competitions, such as the FIFA Confederations Cup and the Gold Cup.
7. Wembley Stadium – 90,000
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London, England is home to Wembley Stadium, which has a capacity of 90,000. The current stadium is actually a new version of the original Wembley Stadium, which was located on the same site and was completed in 1923. The current structure was built from 2002 to 2007. A notable feature of Wembley is a giant arch that serves as the main support structure for the roof. Every year the stadium hosts the final of the Football Association (FA) Cup.
6. Rose Bowl – 92.542
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The Rose Bowl is located in Pasadena, California. It is more famous for American football games than for soccer. Nevertheless, the stadium also played host to two FIFA World Cup finals. The stadium was originally built in 1922 and expanded over time. Today, the Rose Bowl has a capacity of 92,542 fans.
5. Soccer City – 94,736
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Soccer City (FNB stadium) is the largest football stadium in Africa, and is located in the South African city of Johannesburg. The stadium was completed in 2009 to accommodate the 2010 FIFA World Cup matches. However, the stadium was not built from scratch, but as a reconstruction of the original stadium built in 1989, during the South African Apartheid era. It has a capacity of 94,736.
4. Camp Nou – 99,354
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Camp Nou is the home stadium of the popular football club FC Barcelona. Located in Barcelona, Spain, Camp Nou is the largest football stadium in Europe, with a capacity of 99,354. Camp Nou, originally built in 1957, is currently undergoing major renovations. The stadium is so loved by fans that a referendum had to be held to approve plans for the reconstruction of the stadium, which is due to be completed in 2022.
3. Melbourne Cricket Ground – 100.024
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As the name suggests, Melbourne Cricket Grounds, located in Melbourne, Australia, was primarily designed to host cricket matches in 1853. Nevertheless, the stadium has also hosted other events, including football matches. In 1997, the venue hosted its first FIFA-recognized international football match, a World Cup qualifier between Australia and Iran. Matches were also played by popular European clubs such as Manchester United and Juventus. The Melbourne Cricket Grounds, popularly referred to as “The G”, has a seating capacity of 100,024.
2. AT&T Stadium – 105,000
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AT&T Stadium is best known as the home of the Dallas Cowboys of American football, although football games have also been played there. Located in Arlington, Texas, the stadium is the largest domed stadium in the world. The roof is retractable and in the center of the stadium hangs a huge high definition television screen, the largest in the world. In addition, the AT&T Stadium has a capacity of 105,000 spectators, the second highest of all football stadiums.
1. May 1 Stadium – 114,000 – 150,000
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The largest football stadium in the world is located in what is arguably the most isolated country in the world, North Korea. The May 1 Stadium or Rungrado Stadium, located in North Korea’s capital Pyongyang, has a capacity of as many as 150,000 people. At least that’s what the North Koreans claim. The actual capacity is believed to be 114,000, but that would still make it the largest in the world. Inaugurated in 1989, the stadium now hosts the annual Arirang Games, the largest gymnastics spectacle in the world according to the Guinness Book of Records. The stadium was renovated in 2014 and reopened in 2015.