91,000 spectators at women’s soccer and over two hundred thousand at the Maracana. Crazy attendance records
1923. The record of the old Wembley – well over 126,047 spectators
The 1923 FA Cup final drew an incredible crowd to the country’s main stadium. “Bolton were playing against West Ham, and legends say the stadium was packed with about 300,000 people (hence the thousand injured with minor injuries due to crushing). Hardly exactly three hundred thousand, but since everyone was standing, and the extreme fans were pushed onto the field itself by the crowd while the mounted police tried to push them away so the players could play, it is easy to believe that the official maximum attendance at the arena in this case serves only as a tentative mark. “Imperial Stadium,” as it was then called, allowed the crowd to gather on the day of Bolton’s 2-0 victory. The trophy was personally presented to the winners by King George V of Great Britain, grandfather of Elizabeth II. Nowadays, even a game of a successful England team will not gather so many people – there is no such stadium in the country.
1937. Glasgow took the European record of 147,365 spectators at Hampden Park.
More than once the Scots had to prove their right to play the island’s popular sport cool. For example, Liverpool soccer was built on the technique of players from a neighboring country in the United Kingdom. And a couple of decades earlier, Celtic and Aberdeen played in Glasgow in the Scottish Cup final. That match broke the record of Wembley. No one will ever surpass the figure for the national cup final, there are simply no other stadiums with such attendance. It’s still the European attendance record. And to understand how much the Scots love soccer, one fact is enough. Between 1928 and 1973, the average attendance at cup finals was 109,324. Thirty-seven times it drew more than a hundred thousand people.
1950. World record of 199,854 spectators at the Maracana.
According to other sources, 173,830, based on tickets sold, but it doesn’t change the essence. By the way, technically it was not the final of the World Cup as we know it today. It was a decisive group. Brazil needed only a draw and Uruguay needed only to win. The brand new Maracana, built just before the World Cup and named after a tiny river, drew at least 200,000 people. The official figure is given above, but legend has it that some 220,000 people made their way into the stadium. It’s easy to believe, judging by the pictures. You know the story of that match – tragedy for huge Brazil, triumph for tiny Uruguay. Curious fact, in 1950, the hosts watched with interest only matches of their national team. Collected from 138 to 152 thousand at other matches. But when Uruguay and Sweden played, less than eight thousand spectators came. We were madly rooting for the future “chosen ones”, but they lost in what is now the legendary final.
1956. The Santiago Bernabéu receives 129,690 spectators and AC Milan
The return semi-final of the 1956 Champions Cup caught the Spanish attention. It was the first ever draw of the Champions League, and everyone wanted to go to the final. “Reims beat Hibernian twice, but Real Madrid lost 2-1 to the rossoneri in Milan. They had to come back at home, and with the support of almost 130 thousand people they set a record, and at the same time made it to the final – 4:2. “Milan” fought back hard, but Olsen and Di Stefano got them through. A unique match that opened the way for Real Madrid to a series of victories in the Champions Cup. Even the El Clasico had never drawn more than 120,000 spectators. Moreover, the record was also set four years later in the semifinal of the CEP between Real Madrid and Barcelona, and not in the Spanish championship game. The ancestors of today’s fans also loved European Cups.
1987. The Da Luz drew 135,000 people – Lisbon lived for soccer
A Portuguese record that was set thirty years ago. The championship match between Benfica and Porto was attended by 135,000 spectators. “Dragons” in May beat “Bayern” in the final of the Champions Cup, Artur Jorge will win the main trophy of club soccer in Europe, and in early April the “Eagles” beat the competition 3-1, and in the end took the championship cup, beating their longtime enemies by three points. Just think, the end of the eighties, and in Eurpoe gathers 135 thousand spectators, and already after “Eisel”. Now the old Da Luz has been demolished and a new one built for Euro 2004, with only 65,000 spectators.
2014. A friendly match in the U.S. drew 109,318 spectators
In the nineties, India distinguished itself by drawing 134,000 people to the semifinals of the local Fed Cup. Almost three decades later, soccer matches in a vast country do not gather such an audience. In China, too, records are not set, since live soccer is also part of the sports culture. And the champions of its development are the Americans. In Michigan in 2014, a friendly game between Real Madrid and Manchester United drew over 109,000 spectators. Not an incredible audience for a sparring match, but it explains why “soccer” is developing in the United States. They used to have MLS matches with 70, 80 and even more than 90 thousand people in attendance. And before the European game, the record belonged to the 1984 Olympic finals, when France beat Brazil in Los Angeles with a score of 2-0.
2022. The girls drew 91,553 spectators, but there’s a nuance
It is now being written all over the world that this is a new record for women’s soccer. “Barcelona thrashed Real Madrid 5-2 in the return game of the quarterfinals of the Champions League analogue (first leg – 3-1), went on, and watched the winner of the “Golden Ball” Puteljas and her teammates more than 90,000 people. But there is one nuance. Many people do not know about the final of the ’71 Women’s World Cup in Mexico. At the decisive moment, the 15-year-old Dane scored three unanswered goals for the tournament hosts, and the Azteca stadium watched it all from 110 to 115 thousand spectators. Now the arena seats slightly more than 87 thousand people, but before it was bigger.
So El Clasico probably set a European record, not a world record. But a new planetary breakthrough in men’s soccer is excluded because there is no stadium for 200 thousand people. For example, at the Euro the most attended match so far is the 1964 final between Spain and the USSR in Madrid (79,115 thousand spectators). We need to wait for the final of a major tournament at the new Camp Nou to break that record in the future, because Wembley was not scored last year because of the coronavirus. Generally speaking, because of safety standards and maintenance costs, no one will invest billions of euros in a 200,000-seat stadium to break the record of the old Maracana arena.
The girls, on the other hand, will go higher. In 1999, a record was set in California at the World Cup finals between the U.S. and Chinese women’s teams, and now there are Spanish fans and their impressive achievements.