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FIFA World Cup 2030: The road ahead for host nation Spain revealed
Friday, October 20, 2023 @ 9:32 AM

FOOTBALL fans have plenty of time to plan their trip to Spain for the 2030 FIFA men's World Cup, and almost any destination in the country should be within easy travelling distance of a stadium – a shortlist of 15 venues has been put forward, with up to 11 likely to be chosen to host a key match.

Spain celebrates a goal against Japan at the 2022 World Cup. But it was to be their last, as La Roja  crashed out before the quarter-finals. The women's team did better in 2023, though, winning their first World Cup for Spain (photo: EFE)

The successful Spanish bid comes after what has turned out to be a golden year for the sport, with the women's national team winning their first FIFA World Cup in Australia in August following an exceptionally gruelling final against defending UEFA Euros champions, England.

Both the Lionesses and La Roja made each other work extremely hard in a thrilling, fast-moving and suspense-filled match that thrust women's football in both countries into its rightful place: The world's front-page headlines and mainstream TV channels.

And in seven years' time, Spain will share the honour of being the focal point of the planet's most-watched sporting tournament with two of its neighbouring countries – mirroring the format already set for the 2026 men's World Cup where Canada and México will act as back-up for the main host nation, the USA.


Portugal and Morocco join forces with their neighbour

A minimum of 14 venues are required by FIFA for the competition, and Portugal has put forward three – Estádio Alvalade and Estádio da Luz, both in the capital, Lisbon, and Dragão, in Oporto, where Spain's 2010 national team captain Iker Casillas lived and played for five years until summer 2020. Given that all three Portuguese stadia have been used in the recent past to host major international matches, and that they are of very high quality, they will probably all make the final cut.

Oporto's Estádio do Dragão, home of Spain former captain Iker Casillas' old team (photo: FC Porto)

Morocco has offered venues in Rabat, Casablanca, Tangiers, Agadir, Marrakech and Fez, although it is not clear how many will be used in the end; if the minimum of 14 across the three countries are picked, Spain's final 11 will reduce in line with however many are approved in its northern African neighbour.


Minimum requirements for a World Cup host country

Conditions are strict, however: At least seven stadia are required to have been already fully built at the moment the host country makes its successful bid to hold the tournament, and the opening game and the finals must be held at a stadium with capacity for a minimum of 80,000 spectators.

The stadium used for the semi-finals needs to have seating for at least 60,000, and all other venues, a minimum of 40,000.

These requisites mean Real Madrid's Santiago Bernabéu stadium, which has recently undergone a radical renovation, is a strong candidate to host the finals.



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