Here we would delve into some of the most intriguing top facts about Estadio Azteca, the beholder of The Hand of God Goal, which is the largest stadium in Mexico.
Estadio Azteca which is also known as The Temple OfMexican
Football is widely revered as one of the most iconic football stadiums in the world.
The official stadium of football club Club América, as well as the Mexico national football team, is situated in Mexico City, being used for multiple purposes of soccer, American football and many more events as the likes of great concerts.
While the games of Cruz Azul are temporarily held at this arena, in each season one game of The National Football League (NFL), which is part of their International Series, takes place at Estadio Azteca.
Two of the most momentous events of FIFA World Cup Finals occurred at this stadium in that Brazil beat Italy 4–1 in the 1970 World Cup Final andArgentina
gained a 3–2 triumph over West Germany in the 1986 World Cup finals.
The most spectacular of all in regard to the
top facts about Estadio Azteca
is that the stadium is set to host games in the 2026 FIFA World Cup too, leading it to be among few stadiums that were the host of multiple world cups, while it was also the main venue of the 1968 Summer Olympics in addition to 1971 Women's World Cup.
To shed more light on this, since the 2026 FIFA World Cup is planned to occur in the United States, Canada, and Mexico, there is not a shadow of a doubt the Estadio Azteca would be an outstanding venue for this competition.
However, it seems that playing at Estadio Azteca is a herculean task in as much as it is situated somewhere at an altitude of 2,200 meters (7,200 feet) above sea level.
After the 2016 final renovation, the capacity of the stadium decreased drastically and its current official capacity is 87,523, yet it has turned into a modern football temple boasting a great number of suites as well as all the conveniences required to enjoy a remarkable game.
The mythical stadium is the only football stadium in the world where two legendary football players of all time, i.e. Pelé and Maradona lifted their final world cup trophies in 1970 and 1986 respectively.
One of the most impressive
top facts about Estadio Azteca
is that it is the place where greatMaradona
made history with his breathtaking performance at the 1986 quarter-final match between Argentina and England.
Precisely speaking, Maradona scored a goal that is highly revered as “The Hand of God Goal,” in the light of the fact that it was crystal clear that the late Diego Maradona made the goal with his hand instead of his head.
Astonishingly this was not all the awe of that jaw-dropping match, in as much as The Golden Boy went on to score another memorable goal, being widely dubbed as the “Goal of the Century” since following that he started from his own half, he incredibly went on dribbling past through allEngland
Having in mind the intriguing aforementioned top facts about Estadio Azteca, you might have been in urgent need to quell your great curiosity about this legendary stadium. So buckle up for the long ride ahead.
The architects who designed and broke the ground of Estadio Azteca in 1961 were Pedro Ramírez Vázquez and Rafael Mijares Alcérreca. On 29 May 1966, the stadium opened with a match between Club América and Torino F.C. While it had a capacity for around 107,494 spectators.
Arlindo dos Santos put away the first goal and the Brazilian José Alves made the second one; yet after that, the Italians leveled the game, with the results of a 2–2 draw. The initial kick was made by the high-ranked officials of the Mexican government i.e. President Gustavo Díaz Ordaz along with FIFA president sir Stich Rous.
As a modern illumination system was applied on 5 June 1966, the first night game was organized between the Spanish side Valencia and Necaxa while Honduran José Cardona was the first goal scorer for Valencia. Then Roberto Martínez and aka Caña Brava, turned out to be the first Mexican who could score a goal in the stadium, while the results ended in a 3–1 victory for Valencia.
While some football legends as the likes ofPelé
and Diego Maradona made history at The Estadio Azteca at the time of the 1970 and 1986 FIFA World Cup by lifting The Jules Rimet Trophy and the current FIFA World Cup Trophy respectively for the last time, some mythical artists like Michael Jackson (5 sold-out shows in 1993), U2 (in 2006 and 2011), Luis Miguel (in 2002), Paul McCartney (in 2012 and 2017), Elton John, Maná, Juan Gabriel, Gloria Estefan, Jaguares, Lenny Kravitz, Hanson, Ana Gabriel, and The Three Tenors all have made their own jaw-dropping mark at the idyllic arena.
Likewise, a number of political events, like Mexican president Felipe Calderón's campaign closure in 2006, coupled with several religious events, including Jehovah's Witnesses conventions, and the appearance of Pope John Paul II in 1999 are some of the other historical events that took place at the stadium.
Moreover, in April 2017, it was revealed that from July 2018, Cruz Azul is set to temporarily relocate to the Azteca because of the upcoming demolition of the Estadio Azul, and as per the club owner Guillermo Álvarez, they intend to build a new private stadium, that would be prepared for about three-to-four years later.
As one of the top facts about Estadio Azteca one should notify you that the stadium is among some of the other stadiums in the United States, Mexico, and Canada that would be the host of the 2026 FIFA World Cup games, and after that it had already hosted World Cup games in 1970 and 1986, it is currently competing withSoFi Stadium
in Los Angeles which is another probable venue for the inaugural game.
Due to some gradual development and renovations, the seating within the stadium has been replaced and electronic advertising boards were installed. In addition in May 2015 at the north and south ends of the stadium, modern Panasonic LED panels were replaced by the phosphorous panels established in 1998.
In February 2015, a huge renovation plan was applied in light of the project completion coincidence
with the stadium's 50th anniversary, coupled with the Club América's centenary in 2016, and the construction completion of a commercial hub outside the stadium approximately in 2019.
It is to be said that Grupo Televisa, who are the owners of the stadium, signed a joint-venture bid from private development firms IQ Real Estate and Alhel. As a result a hub, called "Foro Azteca", was created being composed of a mall, office spaces, two hotels, new leisure spaces, as well as parking spaces for 2,500 cars.
The renovations plans of the stadium had two stages: the first phase was the replacement of the restaurant and seating at the lower east stand with a new hospitality area with dining and banqueting spaces, and the second one was establishing new media boxes and private skyboxes at the upper west stand.
All of the stadium's renovations were finished in November 2016, while on the account of these adjustments, the seating capacity was eventually curtailed to the number of 87,000.
As part of the top facts about Estadio Azteca, it is interesting to suggest that the stadium earned its name "Azteca" in honour of the Aztec legacy of Mexico City.
At the same time, the name might allude to the stadium current owner that is Mexican multimedia conglomerate Televisa, which has a fierce media rivalry with the similarly named TV Azteca.
Even if there had been almost not any kind of ambiguity and confusion between the stadium and television network that had only come into the limelight four years prior to 1993, Televisa tried to officially change the stadium's name to Estadio Guillermo Cañedo on 20 January 1997, in respect to Guillermo Cañedo de la Bárcena, who was a top network executive, former Mexican Football Federation president, as well as an outstanding figure of the FIFA executive committee who had passed away that day.
But just like the defunct Candlestick Park in San Francisco of the United States and its sponsored names, outside of Televisa not many people neither accepted nor recognized the new name, while a vast majority of the general public most likely had not a single idea about the stadium's ownership (at least much less the Televisa/Azteca rivalry) and still went on to call the Estadio Azteca by its original (and current) name.
Especially when two of Cañedo's sons took a business interest in TV Azteca in 1998, Televisa gradually came back to be called only Estadio Azteca.
Moreover, the stadium is colloquially recognized by the nickname of "Coloso de Santa Úrsula (Colossus of Saint Ursula), owing to its large structure while Santa Úrsula also refers to the suburb where the stadium is situated.
It would be regarded as one of the top facts about Estadio Azteca that it is very convenient due to the Azteca station on the Xochimilco Light Rail line. This line that begins at Metro Tasqueña station and ends in the Xochimilco Light Rail Station, is an extended line of the Mexico City metro system.
Thereby in order to get to Estadio Azteca which is situated in the south of Mexico City, about 15 kilometres from the historic city centre, first you should take metro line 2 (which crosses the city’s historic centre) to its final stop Tasqueña, and then move to the light rail (tren ligero), which its appearance is just the same as the metro, yet you would need a separate ticket for it and then step down at stop Estadio Azteca.
In case you prefer to arrive by car, the stadium is reachable after that you drive all the way south over the large Avenida Tlalpan originating in the historic centre. If you stay on the right side of the metro and light rail tracks, then the stadium would be easily apparent on your right.
As an alternative, you can reach the stadium from the Anillo Pereférico ring road, passing just south of the stadium. After that you would take exit Estadio Azteca, you would find a lot of parking at the stadium, had you have not got stuck in traffic.
The exact address is Calzada de Tlalpan 3465, Col. Santa Úrsula Coapa, Distrito Federal 04650.
Because Estadio Azteca is situated in a mostly residential area, there is not much entertainment around. While the area north of the stadium is somehow seedy, it is better not to venture there. Yet don't miss the opportunity of getting a quesadilla (a kind of Mexican dish) outside the stadium at one of the several stalls before the start of the match.
Hotel La Luna and Hotel Real Azteca are among the closest option to the stadium, suitable for those who just need something that is much close to travel in and out.
Just a bit further away, still within walking distance, even if you might prefer a taxi, the Fiesta Inn is an excellent choice, especially since it is situated beside Gran Sur shopping centre. Moreover, The Holiday Inn Medica Sur is another perfect option at the same distance.
Of course, there is a raft of hotels in Mexico City’s historic centre, from where you can catch metro line 2 quite easily.
A bit more upscale are the regions around the Avenida Reforma, including the lively Condesa, Polanco, and Roma areas with their nightlife, which are also filled with hotels. But an extra metro change is needed to get onto line 2.
In order to get Tickets for Club América matches you could buy them online via Ticketmaster, at the ticket windows (taquillas) at the stadium, or even through one of the Ticketmaster sales outlets.
Moreover, the Tickets are also available until kick-off times at the gates of the stadium on the day of the match, in light of the fact that owing to the massive size of the stadium, the Tickets rarely sells out.
The prices of the tickets vary according to different matches, for example, if it is for high-profile matches, it would be more expensive than those for a typical league match upper tier and lower tier seats.
As far as the capacity of the stadium is concerned, it has been suggested in the previous section that the stadium currently has 87,523 seats, including 856 executive suites. This makes it the largest stadium in Mexico and probably the 21st-largest stadium in the world.
But it is to be said that it previously held a lot more people, and following numerous renovation stages, the previous number changed considerably. Precisely as saying, in the first game of the stadium, the number of 107,494 spectators attended the arena.
In regard to the
top facts about Estadio Azteca
, it is notable to indicate that the record attendance at the stadium was at the time of a match between Mexico andBrazil
on July 7, 1968, as 119,853 audiences behold the match live at the stadium.
As it was suggested earlier in the history section, you might have got the hint that numerous memorable events took place at the stadium. Some of the most significant football spectacles that were held at the stadium are 1968 Summer Olympics, 1970 FIFA World Cup, 1971Women's World Cup
, 1975 Pan American Games, 1983 FIFA World Youth Championship, 1985 Mexico City Cup / Azteca 2000, 1986 FIFA World Cup, 1993 CONCACAF Gold Cup, 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup, 2003 CONCACAF Gold Cup and 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup.
While there is the commemorative bronze plaque for the "Game of the Century" and Diego Maradona's "Goal of the Century", as well as plaques for the names of the first goalscorer in the inaugural match and in the first match, played at night, even Christian events took place at the stadium too.
Not to mention that a public funeral service for famous Mexican comedian Roberto Gomez "Chespirito" Bolaños took place at Azteca on 30 November 2014, when 40,000 spectators attended especially while Chespirito had been a hardcore fan of Club América. In what follows, there are some of the other unforgettable events that happened at the stadium.
On 15 August 1994, Estadio Azteca was the host of a preseason American Bowl game between the Houston Oilers and Dallas Cowboys, setting the record for the highest attendance at an NFL game, with 112,376 in attendance, while the Houston Oilers won the game 6–0.
Likewise, on 2 October 2005, the first international regular-season game in the history of the NFL was held at the stadium between the San Francisco 49ers and the Arizona Cardinals in which Cardinals grabbed a 31–14 triumph, which the game established the record for the largest crowd attended a regular-season NFL game with 103,467 spectators, yet it was smashed in 2009.
On 21 November 2016, the first Monday Night Football game played outside the United States at the Estadio Azteca, when the Oakland Raiders became the host of a home game alongside the Houston Texans as part of the NFL International Series in the first game being recognized as NFL Mexico Game. This game that played in a renovated Estadio Azteca saw a sell-out crowd of 76,743.
On 12 March 1983, more than 100,000 people attended to see the performance of Menudo who was the first band selling out a solo concert at the stadium.
On 29, 31 October and 7, 9 and 11 November 1993, King of the pop, Michael Jackson completed the Dangerous World Tour with five sold-out concerts at this stadium, while totally the number of 500,000 people joined to see his performance.
Even, Los Temerarios delivered a performance at the Estadio Azteca for the first time in their career, in a sold-out concert with the ultimate highest capacity of more than 100,000 audiences as the film of the concert was captured live.
Lastly on 11 and 12 October 2018,Shakira
put on a show performance that saw about 200,000 fans attend the stadium for her El Dorado World Tour. These were just a few outstanding concerts that happened at the vast iconic stadium.
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