The 12 most beautiful football stadiums in the world
Svangaskard Stadium, Faroes
A list of Richard Keys’ most dunderheaded moments would essentially be Richard Keys’ life story, and the hirsute anchorman even found time to disrespect the innocent little Faroe Islands before his banter juggernaut jackknifed horribly into the central reservation. “Daft little ground, silly game, f**k off,” he opined about the Svangaskard in 2008, prior to a Scotland Euro 2008 qualifier – but he’d missed the point.
Located in the village of Toftir (population 832), this is a cold but comforting spot, so close to the ocean that a man in a boat is employed to collect all the balls that Frooi Benjaminsen and his friends hoof into the water. Wrap up warm.
Estadi Comunal d'Andorra la Vella, Andorra
Just plain lovely: trapped betwixt snow-capped Pyrenean mountains in the tiny principality’s capital, Andorra la Vella, the Estadi plays host to many of the matches in the country’s top two league tiers.
The stadium itself is much like an English non-league set up – one main stand and a couple of terraces accommodate just 1,300 spectators – and the quality of play isn’t stellar, but who cares when you can be on the slopes or a dog-pulled sled half an hour later? Mush!
Estádio Municipal de Aveiro, Portugal
Adult life can grind you down – setting up Council Tax direct debits, attending prostate examinations, the confusing world of Scart cables – so it’s no wonder that most architects, who have to train for seven years, end up as bleak, grim-faced individuals in rimless specs who worship Bauhaus and concrete.
Simple childish pleasures have been drummed out of most of ‘em, so kudos to Portuguese design guru Tomas Taveira, who presumably was mainlining Haribo and wearing a romper suit as he imagineered the Aveiro, a Lego-like structure that simply screams fun. Wonderful.
Floating Stadium, Singapore
Billed as ‘the largest floating stadium in the world’ (all those other floating stadiums must be gently hopping with envy), this is one of those essentially pointless things that happens when someone has too much money, but we’re glad exists, anyway.
The bill for lost balls must be astounding, but it isn’t wayward Mitres that have truly blighted this pleasing-but-daft arena: a proposed Singapore Cup final here was cancelled because its metal beams cast off-putting shadows across the pitch. The football equivalent of Mötley Crüe buying a shark tank for their limo.
Much like Andorra’s Estadi, the Hasteinsvollur is a football field and little else, but makes our list for its breathtaking setting. Its tenants are the impossible-to-chant Íþróttabandalag Vestmannaeyja, three-time Icelandic champs, but for us it’d be hard to concentrate on the action when there’s a whacking great volcano looming over you, adding a frisson of impending death to any Úrvalsdeild league clash.
Stadion Gospin Dolac, Croatia
Croatia has become a favourite destination for middle-class Brits to head to and bang through a couple of Grishams and a mountain of olives every summer, and the Stadion Gospin Dolac looks like it’s straight out of a Sunday broadsheet travel supplement: wonderful architecture set on a luminous, gorgeous lake. It’s situated in Imotski – hometown of Croatian playmaking ledge Zvonimir Boban – and the arena boasts neat stands, a 4,000 capacity, and a 500m plunge into the water below if you’re feeling like a daring Dalmatian Tom Daley.