World Football's Top 10 Stadiums

A football match is not just about the 22 players on the pitch. Spectators play a huge part in the occasion. The design of a stadium and the atmosphere it generates can have an intimidating effect on players and officials which can even influence the result. As new stadiums start to dominate the sporting skyline around the world, this list pays homage to great venues which have stood the test of time.

1. Maracana, Rio De Janeiro

Home to the Brazilian national side and Rio's Vasco De Gama club, the first side back in the 1920's to sign African players. The Maracana was built for the 1950 World Cup Finals and at one time crowds of 200,000 were not unknown. Today capacity has been reduced to 96,000 but the stadium still retains a great aura.

World Football's Top 10 StadiumsMaracana, Rio De Janeiro

2. Nou Camp, Barcelona

Home to FC Barcalona, the Nou Camp has a capacity of just under 100,000 and has hosted many great games, including European finals and World Cup matches. It was completed in 1957 and with various enhancements the tiered structure now reaches to a height of 48 metres in one side of the ground.

3. Santiago Bernabau, Madrid

Built in 1947, the Santiago Bernabau stadium is the home of Real Madrid, one of the world's most famous clubs. It was also the host for the 1982 World Cup Final and various European club finals over the years.

4. Estadio Azteca, Mexico City

The Azteca has played host to two World Cup finals, one of which was the great Brazil v Italy match in 1970. The Mexican national team play here as does the Club America side. It was inaugurated in 1966 and has a capacity of 105,000. An imposing venue, it is known as "Il Coloso de Santa Úrsula" (the Colossus of Saint Úrsula).

5. San Siro, Milan

The Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, commonly known as the San Siro, is home Inter Milan and AC Milan, historically two of Europe's most successful club sides. The stadium has a capacity of 80,000 fans, and is one of the largest stadiums in Italy. A common feature at matches are flares, banners and chanting from the Ultras.

6. Westfalenstadion, Dortmund

The home of Borussia Dortmund, the Westfalenstadion is officially know as Signal Iduna Park, the name of it's sponsor. It is one of Germany's largest sporting venues and has a fanatical support base, regularly selling over 50,000 season tickets. It is famous for it's unique "Südtribüne" (Southern Stand), where 24,000 fans populate Europe's largest standing terrace.

7. La Bombonera, Buenes Aires

Based in the Boca neighbourhood of Buenos Aires, La Bombonera is home to the Boca Juniors, the team that brought us Diego Maradona. Not the prettiest stadium in the world but the steep banking and closeness to the pitch create a very special atmosphere. The local derby against River Plate is not for the faint hearted.

8. Wembley Stadium, London

The fame of Wembley spreads beyond the world of football. Originally built in the 1920's, the reconstructed Wembley opened for business again in 2007 at a cost of £800 million. It has hosted the Olympic Games, a World Cup final and many European club finals. It now has an all seater capacity of 90,000 and features not just football but many other sporting and non sporting events.

World Football's Top 10 StadiumsWembley Stadium, London

9. Azadi Stadium, Tehran

The Azadi Stadium is home to the Iranian national team and has a capacity of 100,000. It is an intimidating venue for visiting teams and is home to Tehran's two major football clubs, Perespolis FC and Esteghlal FC. The atmosphere at games between these two sides at the Azadi (known as the Sorkhabi) rivals anything offered by big city derbies the world over.

10. La Casa Blanca, Quito

Estadio de Liga Deportiva Universitaria, commonly called La Casa Blanca is the home ground of LDU Quito. It's a rogue entry in this top ten list as it was only finished in 1997. With a capacity of 55,400, it is only the second largest stadium in Ecuador but it enters our top ten because at 2800 metres, the altitude confers a significant advantage for the Ecuador national team in international competition.

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