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Stadio San Paolo (English: Saint Paul Stadium) is a stadium in the western Fuorigrotta suburb of Naples, Italy, and is the third largest football stadium in Italy[1] — after Milan's San Siro and Rome's Stadio Olimpico. For the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, the stadium hosted the football preliminaries. It is currently used mostly for football matches and is the home stadium of S.S.C. Napoli. Constructed in 1959 and extensively renovationed both in 1989, for the 1990 World Cup and again for the 2018-2019 season. The stadium currently accommodates 55,000 spectators.

San Paolo
Stadio San Paolo Serie A.jpg
Full nameStadio San Paolo
Former namesStadio del Sole
LocationNaples, Campania, Italy
Coordinates40°49′41″N 14°11′35″E / 40.827967°N 14.193008°E / 40.827967; 14.193008Coordinates: 40°49′41″N 14°11′35″E / 40.827967°N 14.193008°E / 40.827967; 14.193008
OwnerComune di Napoli
Executive suites20
Capacity54,726 all seated
Record attendance90,736 (Napoli vs. Juventus, 15 December 1974)
Field size110 m × 68 m (361 ft × 223 ft)
SurfaceGrass
Construction
Broke ground1948
Built1948–1959
Opened6 December 1959 (1959-12-06)
Renovated1989–1990, 2019
ArchitectCarlo Cocchia, Luigi Corradi
Tenants
S.S.C. Napoli (1959–present)
Italy national football team (selected matches)

The stadium is widely known for hosting the 1990 World Cup semi-final between Italy and Argentina. Argentina's superstar Diego Maradona, who played for Naples's Italian 1st division team and was a hero to their supporters, asked Napoli fans to cheer for Argentina. The Napoli tifosi responded by hanging a giant flag in their "curva" of the stadium saying "Maradona, Naples loves you, but Italy is our homeland".[2] Maradona later said he was touched that Napoli was the only stadium during that World Cup where the Argentinian national anthem was not jeered. The match finished 1–1 after extra time. A penalty shootout ensued, with Maradona fittingly scoring the winning penalty for Argentina.

Recent timesEdit

Even with Napoli in Serie C1 during the 2005–06 season, Napoli achieved the feat of having the 3rd highest average home attendance in Italy for the season, with only two Serie A clubs, Milan and Internazionale having higher attendances. Napoli's final game of the season drew a crowd of 51,000 which now stands as a Serie C all-time record.

The San Paolo Stadium also hosted Italy's Euro 2008 Qualifier vs Lithuania on 2 September 2006, with the possibility of other qualifiers to be played there in the future.

RenamingEdit

The Naples city council requested the Italian government's permission to rename the stadium after Diego Maradona, who helped Napoli win Serie A titles in 1987 and 1990 and remains a popular figure in Naples — despite the Italian law prohibiting the naming of a public building after someone dead less than ten years.

1990 FIFA World CupEdit

 
An external view with the covering installed for the 1990 FIFA World Cup.

The stadium was one of the venues of the 1990 FIFA World Cup, and held five matches. The first two were Argentina’s Group B matches: the first was against Soviet Union on June 13 winning 2-0, and the second was against Romania on June 18 ending in a 1-1 draw. The next two were Cameroon matches: the first was a Round of 16 match against Colombia on June 23 winning 2-1 after extra time, and the second was a Quarter-finals match against England on July 1 losing 3-2 after extra time. The fifth and last was the Semi-final between Argentina and hosts Italy on July 3, with Argentina winning 4-3 on penalties after drawing 1-1 in the extra time.

2018–2019 renovationEdit

 
The opening ceremony of the 2019 Summer Universiade.

The stadium was renovated in preparation for the 2019 Summer Universiade, this included replacing metal fencing with glass barriers and replacing seats. This means the stadium's capacity was reduced from 60,240 to 55,000.[3] The stadium hosted the opening ceremony and athletics event.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Some of the world's scariest places to play or watch football". BBC News. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  2. ^ Maradona, Diego (2004). El Diego, pg. 166.
  3. ^ "Naples: The great... no, it's just repairs for San Paolo – StadiumDB.com". stadiumdb.com.

External linksEdit