Swiss’s football stadiums out to impress

23rd May 2008, Comments 0 comments

The four Swiss stadiums hosting Euro 2008 are expected to wow spectators from all over.

23 May 2008

GENEVA - This summer's Euro 2008 finals take place in eight venues across Austria and Switzerland, with four stadiums in each country.

The tournament kicks off at St Jakob Park in Basle on 7 June when the Swiss team take on the Czech Republic in the opening match of the tournament.

St Jakob Park, the largest stadium in Switzerland with a capacity of 40,000 and home to FC Basle, will host six games in the tournament in total ¬ the three group matches in which Switzerland play on 7 June (Czech Republic), 11 June (Turkey) and 15 June (Portugal) plus two quarter finals and a semi final on 19, 21 and 25 June respectively.

The vast ultra-modern structure was completed in 2001 by the world-renowned Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron.

The pair are also responsible for converting a former London electricity generating plant in to the Tate Museum of Modern Art and who have been building China's eye-catching 2008 Olympic Stadium.

Known by locals as the Joggeli, the 40,000-seater stadium, costing CHF 220 million has been awarded a four-star rating by UEFA, the highest possible for a stadium of this size. The complex, described as an "experience park" includes a vast commercial centre with more than 30 shops and 107 retirement flats.

But perhaps the most renowned stadium in Switzerland is the Wankdorf in Berne, which provided the setting for a historic footballing moment when West Germany came from two goals down to defeat Hungary 3-2 in the 1954 World Cup final. The event is still remembered today as The Miracle of Berne.

The stadium used for the 1954 tournament has been replaced by the new 32,000-seater multi-purpose Stade de Suisse. Wankdorf will host three matches in the Euro 2008 tournament: Netherlands-Italy on 9 June, Netherlands-France on 13 June and Netherlands-Romania on 17 June.

Geneva will host three Euro 2008 games at the Stade de Geneve. It is the third biggest stadium in Switzerland with 31,000 seats and will be the setting for Turkey-Portugal on 7 June the same day the tournament kicks off earlier in Basel, Czech Republic-Portugal on 11 June and Turkey-Czech Republic on 15 June.

It was completed in 2003 at a cost of CHF 70 million and is a big improvement on the old Stade des Charmilles which held a mere 10,000 fans.

The massive award-winning steel structure of the new Letzigrund Stadium west of Zurich city centre was completed just last August ready for Euro 2008 at a cost of CHF 120 million.

The stadium capacity has been increased from 26,000 to 30,000 capacity specially for Euro 2008 when it will host three matches: Romania-France on 9 June, Italy-Romania, 13 June, and France-Italy 17 June.

The stadium is built in the shape of a mussel and features a covered ramp running around the inside of the stadium leading to a restaurant eight metres above the ground.

[dpa / Expatica]

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