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June 2014

5 Largest Association Football Stadiums in the World

Celebrate the World Cup by checking out the world’s five largest football stadiums!

Of all the 2014 FIFA World Cup stadiums in Brazil, the largest is the Estádio do Maracanã, a stadium consisting of 78,838 seats, in Rio de Janeiro. But how does the largest association football stadium in this year’s World Cup compare to the rest? Today we’ll take a look at the world’s five largest association football stadiums.

#5 - Camp Nou - Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona's Camp Nou is the home of Futbol Club Barcelona. Opened on September 24, 1957, the stadium is the largest of all stadiums in Europe and the 11th largest in the world for all sports with its current capacity of 99,354 people. Renovated in 1995 and again in 2008, improvements have made it a five-star-rated association football stadium as determined by UEFA, the European soccer confederation. Capacity will soon be increased to 105,000 people in a third renovation to take place in 2017 with a completion date of 2021. Camp Nou has served as the venue for two UEFA Champions League finals and the 1992 Summer Olympics football competitions.

#4 - Bukit Jalil National Stadium - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Opened on September 11, 1998, the Bukit Jalil National Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium that can seat approximately 100,200 people. Built to host the 1998 Commonwealth Games, Bukit Jalil is the largest stadium in Southeast Asia. It serves as the home of the Malaysian national football team and has hosted large events like the AFC Asian Cup 2007. The venue also acted as a concert stage for notable Asian artists, as well as performances by Western acts like Usher, Linkin Park, Kelly Clarkson and Paramore.

#3 - Estadio Azteca - Mexico City, Mexico

Mexico City's Estadio Azteca is the official home of the Mexican football club América and the Mexico national football team. Opened on May 29, 1966, the stadium houses 105,000 fans. Notable events held here include two FIFA World Cup finals (the first stadium to do so) and the main venue for the 1968 Summer Olympics football matches. Plaques in the stadium highlight big moments that happened within, including the "Game of the Century" match between Italy and West Germany -- where five goals were scored in extra time (the only occurrence of such in any World Cup game) -- and the "Goal of the Century" made by Argentina’s Diego Maradona -- hailed as the greatest individual goal of all time; a 60-metre, 10-second dash that led to a goal against England.

2. Salt Lake Stadium - Kolkata, India

Salt Lake Stadium is the largest stadium in India and the second-largest in the world, in terms of capacity, with enough seating for 120,000 people. The multi-purpose venue was built in January 1984, and serves as the home stadium for local clubs Mohun Bagan AC, East Bengal FC, Mohammedan SC and Prayag United SC, as well as the India national football team. The enormous stadium features impressive amenities like uniformly distributed lighting systems, multiple electronic scoreboards and control rooms, and four underground reservoirs for fighting potential fires.

1. Rungnado May Day Stadium - Pyongyang, North Korea

With its focus on grandeur and appearances, it's no surprise that North Korea's Rungnado May Day Stadium is the largest stadium by capacity in the world. Able to accommodate 150,000 people, the multi-purpose stadium in Pyongyang opened on May 1, 1989 and is used principally for the Arirang Festival (otherwise known as the Mass Games or the Grand Mass Gymnastics and Artistic Performance Arirang, a grand show that celebrates the story of North Korea). The stadium is, of course, used for association football games, as well as other athletic sports. Notable events held here include the meeting between Kim Jong-Il and Madeleine Albright in 2000, as well as Collision in Korea, the largest professional wrestling pay-per-view event in history.

Are you ready for the next round of matches in the World Cup? What is your favorite football stadium in the world? Let us know on our Facebook page and be sure to “like” telc English for more articles about fun cultural facts!