We have all been enjoying this year’s FIFA World Cup, which is beginning to heat up. Before you all dig into the fated Socceroo and Denmark clash on Thursday, check out the stadiums that have made these notable sporting events possible. Stadiums allow sports to become awe-inspiring spectacles, and in honour of them, we’ve ranked ten stadiums that stand out among the competition due to their strangeness, beauty, size, reputation or a combination of all these factors.
10. Mordovia Arena, RussiaThe Mordovia Arena is hosting World Cup matches this year, having been specifically constructed for the event. Designed by Russian company SaranskGrazhdanProekt, the oval arena is a riot of oranges, reds and yellows, with its tiled design reflecting the distinctive craft culture of the Mordovia region.
9. The Floating Stadium, Singapore
This stadium is the largest floating stadium in the world, built on a platform located on the Marina Reservoir and featuring both football and cultural events. Made entirely of steel, it is able to bear up to 1,070 tonnes the same as the total weight of 9,000 people, 200 tonnes of stage props and three 30-tonne military vehicles. Spectators are firmly on ground, with the 27,000 seating capacity gallery situated along the shoreline.
8. Stadion Gospin Dolac, CroatiaThe home of the NK Imotski football club is breathtakingly unique and dreamlike, built into a natural valley in the inland part of Dalmatia, close to the Bosnian border. The rocky hillside it rests on features the town’s key attraction, the Topana fortress from 10th century. The stadium of capacity of 4,000 for spectators on its small southern terrace.
7. Beijing National Stadium, China
Beijing’s 2008 Olympic Stadium is iconic for its beautiful “bird’s nest” design, with 110,000 tons of curved steel forming its complex exterior. Designed by Herzog & de Meuron, in collaboration with renowned Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, the National Stadium has a seating capacity of 80,000. Additionally, colourful light displays adorn and enliven the façade.
6. Camp Nou, SpainCamp Nou is Spain and Europe’s largest football stadium, with a seating capacity of 98,757, and is home to one of the great football teams, FC Barcelona. It has hosted a large variety of major national and international football events, including two European Cup/Champions League finals, the opening game of the 1982 FIFA World Cup, two out of four matches at the 1964 European Nations’ Cup and the football competition final at the 1992 Summer Olympics. The capacity of the Camp Nou once reached an astronomical 120,000.
5. The Maracanã, BrazilThe Maracanã, situated in Rio de Janeiro, is known for its picturesque locale and enormous crowds. Opened in 1950 to host the FIFA World Cup, the stadium held the decisive match between Brazil and Uruguay. The match ended in Brazil’s bitter defeat, but is a celebrated classic. That event saw a staggering capacity of 199,854, and the stadium has courted crowds of more than 100,000 284 times.
4. Queenstown Event Centre, New Zealand
This multi-purpose cricket venue is one of the most beautiful in the world, known for being framed by an expansive mountain range, ‘The Remarkables.’ The event centre was the site for Black Caps’ Corey Anderson breaking Shahid Afridi’s 17-year record of the fastest One Day International Century with 36 balls.
3. The Allianz Arena, GermanyThe Allianz Arena is home to two famous Munich-based football teams, Bayern Munich and 1860 Munich. Its beautiful design and exterior of inflated ETFE plastic panels allow it to be the first stadium in the world with a full colour changing exterior. It is the second largest arena in Germany with a seating capacity of 75,000.
2. Wembley Stadium, United Kingdom
The Wembley Stadium is one of the greatest football stadiums in the world. Designed by Populous and Foster and partners, the current 2009 stadium replaced the original 1924 Wembley Stadium that was demolished in the early 2000s. The stadium is the second largest in Europe, having a seating capacity of 90,000 and known for its intricate 7,840-ton steel roof structure that nixes the need for pillars and features a famed 436-foot-tall steel arch. It is titanic in both scale and reputation, having hostd major football matches including home matches of the England national football team, and the FA Cup Final.
1. The Colosseum, ItalyOf course no stadium in the world is more widely celebrated and remembered than the Colosseum in Rome, which was easily the largest known amphitheater in its heyday. It was a fully freestanding stadium with a foundation of concrete and stone, capable of seating between 50,000-80,000 visitors. Incredibly, the structure was so advanced and well-engineered that it even hosted aquatic events via purposefully flooding its arena. Used initially for entertainment, most famously gladiator showdowns, the stadium was later adapted for housing, workshops and Christian shrines.