Must-see Football Stadia Around the World
Daniel Anwar | 10 December 2018
Coral have compiled a list of some of the world’s most interesting football stadiums.
Football is beloved by people all around the world and there are some truly awe-inspiring stadiums where you can watch the beautiful game being played.
London’s Wembley Stadium is seen by many as the home of football, but few would describe it as the most spectacular place to watch the sport.
We’ve taken a look at eight grounds that are must-see destinations for any football fan. Plus check out the latest football odds and upcoming matches at these stadiums and beyond with Coral Sportsbook.
Allianz Arena – Munich, Germany
Home Teams: Bayern Munich, TSV 1860 Munich (from 2005 to 2017), Germany national team
The Allianz Arena opened in 2005 and it has quickly established itself as one of the most iconic football grounds anywhere.
It’s the first stadium in the world to have a full colour-changing exterior, which means the whole structure can be lit up in the colour of the home side. Seeing the red glow from afar on a Bayern match day is always a spectacular sight.
It’s displayed in white when Germany play there, and it was blue when 1860 Munich were hosts.
Bayern are now the only side that regularly play there. It was initially constructed as a joint-development between Bayern and 1860, but 1860 sold their 50% share to their neighbours in 2006 to address financial issues.
1860 continued to play at the Allianz without retaining any ownership until 2017. They then returned to their previous home – the Stadion an der Grunwalder Strasse – after being relegated from 2. Bundesliga.
As well as hosting the occasional Germany international fixture, the stadium was also used during the 2006 World Cup. Four Group Stage games, a round of 16 tie and one of the two semi-finals were played there.
Estadio Hernando Siles – La Paz, Bolivia
Home Teams: Club Bolivar, The Strongest, La Paz F.C., Bolivia national team
A trip to Estadio Hernando Siles is a huge challenge for any side, no matter how good they are. It sits all the way up at 3637m (11,932 feet) above sea level. And it’s very hard for sides that aren’t used to playing at that altitude to prepare.
Diego Maradona’s Argentina side couldn’t cope and lost a crucial World Cup qualifier 6-1 there in 2009. Lionel Messi threw up on the pitch at half-time when La Albiceleste returned in 2013. Angel Di Maria and Javier Mascherano had to take in extra oxygen through a mask to get through that same game.
Brazil star Neymar also called the conditions “inhuman” following a 0-0 draw in 2017.
During qualification for the World Cup from 2006 to 2014, Bolivia won 14 games at home and drew 10 more. They only managed two draws and not a single win on their travels during the same period.
After complaints that the stadium gave Bolivia an unfair advantage, FIFA banned World Cup qualifiers in stadiums that were more than 2500m above sea level. Bolivian president Evo Morales argued the ban was essentially discrimination, so the governing body later revised the limit to 3000, while giving the Estadio Hernando Siles a special exemption.
The stadium is named after Hernando Siles Reyes, who was President of Bolivia from 1926 to 1930.
As well as football, it’s also hosted major concerts, with the likes of Bon Jovi, Enrique Iglesias and Guns N’ Roses having played there.
Estadio Municipal de Braga – Braga, Portugal
Home Team: S.C. Braga
Backdrops don’t come much more striking than Braga’s home ground. The Estadio Municipal de Braga is also known as A Pedreira (The Quarry) because it was carved right from the face of the Monte do Castro quarry.
If you face one goal, the rock face towers in front of you. Turn around to look at the other goal and you’ll see the city of Braga’s landscape stretched out.
This distinctive stadium only has two stands, one alongside each of the touchlines. The two stands are connected by steel strings, which took inspiration from South American Incan bridges. There’s a 5000sqm plaza underneath the stadium that allows fans to get to their seats.
It was built in 2003 as a venue for the 2004 European Championships and hosted two Group Stage matches during the tournament.
Portugal have also played selected games here, with the most recent being a 1-0 win over Denmark in Euro 2016 qualifying.
Svangaskard – Toftir, Faroe Islands
Home Team: Faroe Islands national team, B68 Toftir
The village of Toftir is home to less than 1,000 people, but it also houses one of the most picturesque stadiums anywhere in the world.
But if you do pay a visit to Svangaskard, you’ll want to make sure that you’re well wrapped up. It’s perched on the top of a hill. It’s right on the coast and there are rumours that a man in a boat has to retrieve any stray balls that drop into the sea.
If you do brave the cold, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and the surrounding scenery.
It was the Faroe Islands national team’s home ground from 1991 until 1999, when the Torsvollur Stadium opened in Torshavn, the capital city. Despite the change, Svangaskard does still host the odd international fixture.
While it’s mainly used and thought of as a football stadium, it can also be set up to host athletics events.
Estadio BBVA Bancomer – Guadalupe, Mexico
Home Team: Monterrey
Monterrey’s home stadium isn’t actually located in their resident city anymore. But the jaw-dropping view of the Cera de la Silla mountain more than makes up for the short distance between Monterrey and Guadalupe.
The stadium is built in the shadow of the mountain, which looms through the roof while games are being played.
It was completed in 2015 to mark Monterrey’s 70th anniversary, replacing Estadio Tecnologico which had been the club’s home for more than 60 years.
The stadium was designed by renowned architectural firm Populus, who were also responsible for the new Wembley, the Emirates Stadium and the FNB Stadium (formerly known as Soccer City) which hosted the 2010 World Cup Final in South Africa.
However, the new development wasn’t universally popular. El Gigante de Acero (The Steel Giant) has caused controversy because of its financial cost and the potential impact it could have on wildlife and the surrounding area.
Sapporo Dome – Toyohira-ku, Sapporo, Japan
Home Team: Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo
Far too many stadiums are built to host a major event and then struggle to find a purpose when the crowds and attention have gone. That definitely hasn’t been a problem for the Sapporo Dome, which was one of the venues built for the 2002 World Cup.
The stadium hosted three games during that tournament, most famously England’s win over Argentina which saw David Beckham score the winning penalty.
It’s now home to Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo, as well as the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters baseball team. It also hosted the opening ceremony of the 2017 Asian Winter Games and is planned to be used in the 2019 Rugby World Cup and the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.
The stadium was cleverly built with a retractable pitch, which can be switched between a grass surface for football and artificial turf for baseball.
One wall of the stadium opens up, allowing the desired pitch to move inside and rotate into position. The seats electronically shift into place once the surface is in place. The whole process of changing from one pitch to the other can be done in less than two hours.
Beijing National Stadium – Beijing, China
Home Team: Chinese national team
The Beijing National Stadium, commonly known as the Bird’s Nest, is one of those stadiums that has become something of a white elephant. It was one of the centrepieces of the 2008 Olympics and Paralympics but has been rarely used since.
Saying that, it was used for the 2017 League of Legends World Championship. The stadium will also be a part of the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, becoming the first stadium to host the opening ceremonies of the Summer and Winter Games.
It doesn’t have a permanent tenant though and reportedly costs $9m a year to maintain. However, it is still profitable because it attracts between 20,000 and 30,000 visitors a day, each of whom pay an admission fee. And it is definitely worth seeing this incredible structure.
The architects behind the striking design studied Chinese ceramics for inspiration, as they aimed to create something that was “porous” but still a “collective building, a public vessel”.
The Float @ Marina Bay – Singapore
Home Team: None
You won’t see a high standard of football if you head to The Float @ Marina Bay, but you will get an exceptional view of the Singapore skyline.
The Float is made entirely of steel and is the world’s largest floating stage. The platform itself can hold around 9,000 people, with a stand on the shore that can accommodate up to 30,000.
The platform is the ideal size for a football pitch, but it’s only hosted amateur matches to date. As it’s surrounded by water, it’s probably not ideal for a professional game. Just think of how many ball boys and girls would be needed.
The Float forms part of Turns 17 and 18 of the Marina Bay Street Circuit, which hosts the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix. It can also host concerts and exhibitions. The 2010 Youth Olympics Opening Ceremony is one of the major events to have been held there, as seen above.
It was initially built as a temporary venue for the National Day Parade while the National Stadium was redeveloped. It is now set to become a permanent attraction and renamed NS Square as a space to commemorate national service.