FIFA World Cups are special occasions on the footballing calendar that come around once every four years. Ever since the first World Cup final in Uruguay to the last in South Africa, the title match has been staged in various historic arenas which have since been part of the World Cup folklore. SportzWiki takes a trip down memory lane and here is a compilation of the stadiums that hosted the final in the past 19 editions.
1930 FIFA World Cup Final: Estadio Centenario, Montevideo
Uruguay’s home stadium, The Centenario, has the unique distinction of hosting the first ever final of the FIFA World Cup. Hosts Uruguay beat Argentina on that red-lettered day, by a 4-2 scoreline thus becoming the first nation ever to lift the Jules Rimet trophy. The majestic stadium with a capacity of 65,235 at the heart of Uruguay’s capital Montevideo is home to the Uruguayan national team as well the two giants of Uruguayan football, Penarol and Nacional. The stadium is listed by FIFA as one of world football’s classic stadiums.
1934 FIFA World Cup Final: Stadio Nazionale del PNF, Rome
Italy hosted the second edition of the FIFA World Cup and the Italian capital of Rome provided the setting for the final. Italy defeated Czechoslovakia 2-1 in Rome’s Stadio Nazionale del PNF, a stadium of the National Fascist Party in vogue in the country at the time. Both the Roman clubs, AS Roma and SS Lazio, remained tenants of the 50,000-capacity stadium before it was demolished in 1957 and the two clubs moved to Stadio Olimpico.
1938 FIFA World Cup Final: Stade Olympique de Colombes, Paris
Italy defended their 1934 triumph in Paris’ Stade Olympique de Colombes or simply Colombes as they defeated Hungary 4-2. It was the last World Cup before the Second World War broke out, as 45,000 fans flocked the stadium that had athletics tracks on its periphery. The stadium is no longer used for football; it is used for rugby and is currently the home of Paris-based rugby club Racing Metro 92. The stadium is still in popular culture as it was portrayed in the movie Escape to Victory starring Sylvester Stallone and Michael Caine.
1950 FIFA World Cup Final: Estadio do Maracana, Rio de Janeiro
The FIFA World Cup returned after a 12 year hiatus and Rio’s Maracana Stadium was the perfect setting for the final between hosts Brazil and former champions Uruguay; the latter running away 2-1 winners in a match which went on to be known as the Maracanazo. The Maracana, which is set to host the final of the 2014 World Cup even, was filled to the brim with a huge 173,850 people. Its current capacity is a little less than 80,000 and is home to the Brazil national team as well as Rio-based clubs Flamengo and Fluminense.
1954 FIFA World Cup Final: Wankdorf Stadion, Bern
The 1954 World Cup final between West Germany and the mighty Hungary was held at Switzerland’s Wankdorf Stadium in Bern. The final itself has been etched into folklore as ‘The Miracle of Bern’ as the underdogs West Germany lifted their first ever World Cup beating the more-fancied Hungarians 3-2 in front of a capacity crowd of 64,000. The Wankdorf Stadium served as the home ground of Swiss club BSC Young Boys but has long been demolished, in 2001 to be precise. The Stade de Suisse stands in its place now.
1958 FIFA World Cup Final: Rasunda Stadium, Solna
The famous Rasunda hosted the 1958 final between hosts Sweden and the exciting South Americans Brazil. A Pele-inspired Brazil won 5-2 in front of a capacity crowd of 51,800 and heralded a new dawn in world football in the form of Brazil. The Rasunda was the home of the Swedish national team until it was closed down in 2012 and demolished in 2013. It was owned by the Swedish FA and was also the home of Swedish club AIK.
Part II coming soon….