Take a look at the world’s largest football stadiums from each continent
What is the biggest football stadium in the world?
This article will take a look at the biggest football stadiums in the world by looking at each continent. Only purpose-built stadiums will be listed, but multi-purpose stadiums will be recognised. Continents with a high volume of huge stadiums will appear more frequently in the list, but there will be at least one stadium from each continent with a professional setup. Sorry Antarctica!
Europe – Europe has 14 stadiums with a capacity of over 70,000. We focus on 2 cathedrals of football
The biggest football stadium in Europe
Location – Barcelona, Spain
Capacity – 99,354
Home – FC Barcelona
The Camp Nou is the largest stadium in Europe with a capacity of almost 100,000 seats. Which makes it one of the biggest football stadiums in the world. The Camp Nou was built in 1957 and translates to the “new stadium”. Camp Nou is located in Barcelona and is a symbol of the Catalan independence movement. Barcelona’s on-pitch success can be seen in the stadium museum. On a tour of Camp Nou, visitors can see 22 league titles as well as 4 Champions League wins.
Barcelona fans have seen some of the greatest players of all time. The likes of Messi, Iniesta and Xavi define the modern era. However, other big names such as Cruyff, Ronaldinho and Maradona have played on the hallowed turf. Despite a recent decline in performance, stature and financial disarray at Barcelona, the Camp Nou is still iconic in the world of football.
The UK’s largest football stadium
Location – London, England
Capacity – 90,000
Home of the English national team
Known as the ‘home of football’, Wembley was rebuilt in 2002. Wembley’s iconic arch is synonymous with English football and represents the ultimate goal of any club. Not only the national team plays here, but also deserving club teams of different levels.
The FA Cup, League Cup, Play-Offs and lower-tier FA Cup finals are held at Wembley, making it the Mecca of English football. Of course, winning the 1966 World Cup is the most important game staged under the Wembley name. The new stadium has however had its fair share of ultimate clashes such as the Champions League finals of 2011 and 2013.
Asia – Asia has 13 stadiums that can accommodate more than 70,000. However, most are multi-purpose stadiums
Bukit Jalil National Stadium
Location – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Capacity – 87,411
Home of the Malaysian national team
The stadium was built in 1995 and opened in 1998 ahead of the Commonwealth Games. The stadium still hosts a few sporting competitions, but its main use is for the Malaysian national facility. Bukit Jalil National Stadium is definitely not the biggest stadium in Asia. Rungrado May Day Stadium in Pyongyang, North Korea can hold 150,000 people at full capacity.
Premier League clubs including Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United have played pre-season tour matches at this stadium. Bukit Jalil National Stadium is an attractive destination for those Premier League clubs looking to expand their brand influence in Southeast Asia.
Oceania – Home to some of the most impressive stadiums in the southern hemisphere, but which is the biggest football stadium?
The Australian national team does not have a national football/soccer stadium. The MGC can hold over 100,000 people and is a multi-purpose stadium which primarily hosts cricket and Australian rules football. Similarly, the 83,500 capacity Stadium Australia is a multi-purpose stadium. As soccer/soccer is a smaller sport in Oceania, finding a purpose built stadium which is so important in Europe and the Americas, I decided to look at the larger A League stadium.
The GMHBA Stadium (Kardinia Park) in Geelong, Victoria is home to League A side Western FC. With only 36,000 seats, it shows that domestic football is not important on the continent. The stadium is however the largest in a regional city with Geelong located outside of Melbourne. Ultimately, Oceania has beautiful stadiums, but lacks a purpose-built football stadium.
Africa – Impressive stadiums look like the game is truly global?
First National Bank Stadium
Location – Johannesburg, South Africa
Capacity – 94,736
Home – Kaizer Chiefs FC
The 2010 World Cup Final was played at FNB Stadium. 84,000 fans watched Iniesta beat Spain 1-0 against the Netherlands in a physical final. The stadium is also the home of the dominant Kaizer Chiefs FC. FNB Stadium was built in 1989 and has played an important role in South African politics. Mandela’s first speech after his release from prison was given at FNB Stadium in 1990 and in 2013 a memorial service for the former president was held.
The stadium hosted Africa Cup of Nations matches in 1996 and 2013 and will also host 2 Lions tour matches in the coming weeks. Across the African continent, there are exceptional venues that are the largest football stadiums in the world, such as the Borg El Arab Stadium in Egypt. Should football leaders look to Africa to develop the game into a truly global game?
North America – How do the 2026 hosts fit on the list?
Location – Mexico City, Mexico
Capacity – 87,523
Home to – Club America and the Mexican National Team
I cheat technically because Estadio Azteca is a multipurpose stadium. However, the primary function is football. The stadium hosted the 1970 and 1986 World Cup finals and is home to the national team of Club America. The infamous ‘Hand of God’ goal scored by Maradona against England was scored at the stadium located in the nation’s capital. Mexico City is 2215 meters above sea level, which makes the environment in which players play very foreign to many.
The stadium built in 1966 could originally accommodate 105,000 supporters but has been reduced to ensure the safety of the passionate supporters. As football grows in popularity in the United States and Canada, we can expect to see purpose-built stadiums, as the current arrangement involves shared stadiums in coliseums such as the Rose Bowl. The quality of football venues on the continent bodes well for the 2026 World Cup hosted by the 3 nations.
South America – Iconic stadiums and the most passionate fans
Location – Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
Capacity – 78,838
Welcome to – Fluminense and Flamengo
The Maracana was opened in June 1950. This was just in time to host the 1950 FIFA World Cup. It is estimated that when it first opened it could hold between 155,000 and 200,000 people. Modern safety standards now prevent such ridiculous spectator numbers, but that hasn’t relegated the stature of the stadium. The 2014 World Cup final was played at the Maracanã. 74,738 fans watched Mario Götze score the winner in extra time. Brazil did not have a good tournament, losing to eventual winners Germany 7-1, but the World Cup itself delivered to the max and the booming Maracana was symbolic of the general positive mood of the tournament.
Location – Lima, Peru
Capacity – 85,000
Welcome to – Club Universitario de Deportes
The Estadio Monumental is the largest soccer stadium in South America and one of the largest stadiums in the world. The national team Club Universitario de Deportes occasionally uses the stadium, as does the Peruvian national team. the 85,000-seat seat was selected to host the 2019 Copa Libertadores final between Flamengo and River Plate. The stadium took 9 years to build and it was officially opened on July 2, 2000. Outside the stadium is a statue of Teodoro Fernández. A legendary Peruvian striker who played for Club Universitario de Deportes.
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