There are several soccer stadiums in the world that are historic and majestic; others are known primarily for their size. While Europe is the bastion of world football, no European football stadium is in the top five. Barcelona’s Camp Nou (capacity 98,772) is the largest European soccer stadium, but comes in at number 7 in the world list. Surprisingly, the largest soccer stadiums in the world exist in Asia.
1. Rungrado May Day Stadium, Pyongyang, North Korea
The North Koreans do not have an illustrious record in soccer as their southern counterparts do, but they have the largest soccer stadium in the world. The May Day Stadium is a multipurpose venue capable of seating 150,000 spectators in the world. This stadium has the distinction of being the largest stadium in the world, excluding those used for Auto Racing.
2. Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata, India
While India is not a soccer-mad nation, it has the second largest soccer stadium in the world. With a capacity of 120,000, Salt Lake Stadium is also a multi-purpose venue that is used for soccer and athletics.
3. Estadio Azteca, Mexico City, Mexico
The famed Azteca Stadium is the largest soccer-only stadium in the world – not just in the Americas. This venue hosted two FIFA World Cup finals – in 1970 (Brazil v Italy) and 1986 (Argentina v West Germany). The Azteca can seat 105,000 spectators and hosts the Mexican national team and Club America. At an altitude of 7,200 feet, Azteca is a difficult venue for visiting teams to negotiate.
4. MCG, Melbourne, Australia
The irony of the Melbourne Cricket Ground is that it is not even a soccer stadium. Instead, it is a cricket stadium that the Australian national soccer team uses. Its capacity of 100,000 earns it fourth place on the world list.
4. Azadi Stadium, Tehran, Iran
Sharing the fourth spot with 100,000 spectators is the Azadi Stadium in Iran. Home of the Iran national team, it is the third largest soccer stadium in Asia.
4. Bukit Jalil National Stadium, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Asia continues to dominate the list with another 100,000-seater stadium in Malaysia. It was constructed with the 1998 Commonwealth Games in mind and could be used for athletics as well.
7. Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain
The famous Camp Nou has the distinction of being the largest soccer stadium in Europe and the second-largest soccer-only stadium in the world, behind the Azteca. It can hold up to 99,354 spectators.
8. Estadio do Maracana, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
With 96,000 seats at the legendary stadium, the Maracana is the largest stadium in South America and the second-largest in the Americas. Before it was converted to an all-seater, it had a world record attendance of over 199,000 fans who witnessed the 1950 World Cup final.
Asia clearly dominates the list of largest soccer stadiums, although only the Azteca and Maracana stadiums have history and prestige on their side. In terms of capacity, England’s Wembley Stadium has a capacity of 90,000, which puts it in 10th place on the world rankings.