Brighton & Hove Community Stadium
Tournament capacity: 30,300
Euro 2022 fixtures, Group A:
England v Norway, 11 July, 8pm
Austria v Norway, 15 July, 8pm
Quarter-final, 20 July, 8pm
Nestled on the edge of the South Downs just outside Brighton, the Amex ranks among one of England’s most scenically situated grounds. The spectacular steel arch roof – complete with Toblerone-style trusses – was designed to mirror the undulations of the Downs and features pleasing curve and tilt. The stadium’s construction involved the excavation of 138,000 cubic metres of chalk as the site morphed into a hard-won home for the localfootball team, now established in the Premier League, who had endured years of ground-sharing and renting before planning permission was finally granted.
Visiting fans will doubtless be pleased to learn their sandwiches are safe – hawks are released in the ground at set times to deter seagulls swooping in from the nearby Channel beaches. Trains from Falmer station, adjacent to the ground, link with the main line at Brighton.
Opened: 2007 (the new Wembley)
Tournament capacity: 87,200
Euro 2022 fixture:
The final, 31 July, 5pm
Opened in 2007 on the site of the former, demolished Wembley, this remains the largest stadium in England and the second largest in Europe (only Barcelona’s 99,000-plus capacity Camp Nou is bigger). Now the stage for a series of major football and other sporting finals in addition to major pop concerts, Wembley’s rebuilding cost £798m and, at peak times, necessitated the employment of 3,500 construction workers.
It contains more than 2,618 toilets, more than any other comparable venue in the world. Wembley’s signature feature is its eye-catching, iconic and widely visible circular lattice arch, which is the world’s longest unsupported roof structure. With strict parking restrictions in operation on match days this is an arena best visited via public transport and can be easily accessed by tube, overground train and bus.
Brentford Community Stadium
Tournament capacity: 17,600
Euro 2022 Fixtures, Group B:
Germany v Denmark, 8 July, 8pm
Germany v Spain, 12 July, 8pm
Denmark v Spain, 16 July, 8pm
Quarter-final, 21 July, 8pm
Home to Premier League Brentford and London Irish Premiership rugby union club, the stadium is close to Kew Bridge and less than a mile from the football club’s former home at Griffin Park. Situated between a triangle of railway lines, the ground has a distinctive triangular design theme, particularly notable in the architecture of the roof, floodlights and hospitality lounges. Handily placed for, among several other attractions, Kew Gardens and the magnificent Syon House and Park – London’s last Ducal home, which serves as the Duke of Northumberland’s residence in the capital – it is within a 20-minute walk of eight underground and overground stations.
Less than two miles away sits Boston Manor, home to both one of England’s great Jacobean houses and increasingly rare cedar of Lebanon trees. Although very few English football fans cycle to football matches, the habit is slowly starting to form in parts of London and Brentford has 300 spaces for parking bikes.
Manchester City Academy Stadium
Tournament capacity: 4,700
Euro 2022 fixtures, Group D:
Belgium v Iceland, 10 July, 5pm
Italy v Iceland, 14 July, 5pm
Italy v Belgium, 18 July, 8pm
Connected to Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium via a footbridge and part of an international class training facility featuring 14 full-size practice pitches otherwise known as the Etihad Campus, the modern, compact and often unexpectedly atmospheric Academy Stadium hosts all Manchester City women’s home games and has staged women’s Champions League semi-finals.
Despite being accessible by public transport from Manchester city centre it nonetheless remains a controversial choice for a major tournament. Part of the problem is that the two ends are standing terraces, something not permitted in Uefa competitions dictating that the capacity has been reduced from the usual 7,000. Sara Björk Gunnarsdóttir, the Iceland midfielder, queried why two of her country’s group games are at such a relatively modest venue. “It’s shocking,” she said. “We have a training ground for Manchester City [men]. It’s just embarrassing.”
Stadium MK, Milton Keynes
Tournament capacity: 28,600
Euro 2022 fixtures, Group B:
Spain v Finland, 8 July, 5pm
Denmark v Finland, 12 July, 5pm
Finland v Germany, 16 July, 8pm
Semi-final, 27 July, 8pm
Opened by the Queen in 2007, Stadium MK offers excellent, fairly upmarket fan infrastructure. There is a Hilton hotel built into the ground’s surrounds with some rooms offering pitch-facing views while food is available at an on-site Marco Pierre White restaurant and a retail and leisure park sit a mere goal-kick away. All this is situated 10 minutes drive from the centre of England’s biggest, and arguably most successful, postwar new town. Big on green space and green technology, the Buckinghamshire home of League One MK Dons also offers excellent transport links.
Close to the M1 motorway, 30 minutes from London (and Eurostar links) by train and within easy reach of Heathrow, Luton, Birmingham and Stansted airports it is easy to see why an arena offering abundant parking – not to mention being the first modern English stadium to feature a top-loaded 360-degree open concourse – has been selected to host a semi-final. Visiting fans with an interest in the famous second world war code-breakers can take a trip to their nearby Bletchley Park base.
New York Stadium, Rotherham
Tournament capacity: 11,000
Euro 2022 fixtures, Group D:
France v Italy, 10 July, 8pm
France v Belgium, 14 July, 8pm
Iceland v France, 18 July, 8pm
Quarter-final, 23 July 8pm
The home of Championship Rotherham United, it replaced Millmoor a decade ago and sits on the former site of the Guest and Chrimes Foundry. Given that Guest and Chrimes once made the fire hydrants that supplied New York City and the slice of land on which the stadium was constructed has long been known locally as “New York” it was no surprise that the £17m stadium was given that name. Some fans though would have preferred it to have been called “The Foundry” or “The Waterfront”, due to its position beside the river Don.
Centrally positioned close to the heart of Rotherham and handy for the M1 motorway it looks larger than its 12,000 capacity. A fusion of traditional and modern architecture, the ground’s lower-level perimeter is studded with brickwork from the original Guest and Chrimes foundry while the coffered roof is made partly of polycarbonate sheets. These allow natural light to penetrate the stands while also helping defrost the pitch in winter. An acoustician has ensured that fan noise is contained within the stadium with maximum amplification achieved on the pitch.
Bramall Lane, Sheffield
Tournament capacity: 30,400
Euro 2022 fixtures, Group C:
Netherlands v Sweden, 9 July, 8pm
Sweden v Switzerland, 13 July, 5pm
Switzerland v Netherlands, 17 July, 5pm
Semi-final, 26 July, 8pm
Sheffield United’s stadium was originally a cricket ground. Football was first played at “The Lane” in 1862 with the inaugural match featuring two of the world’s oldest clubs: Sheffield FC and Hallam FC. A venue once very much at the vanguard of innovation, it was also the scene of the first floodlit football match in 1878. Within walking distance of both Sheffield mainline railway station and the city centre, Bramall Lane is a short drive from the M1 motorway and accessible from Doncaster-Sheffield, East Midlands, Leeds-Bradford and Manchester airports. Pub quiz aficionados may know that it and the Oval are the only two grounds to have staged a cricket Test match, an England football international and an FA Cup final.
Bramall Lane’s Test match was in 1902, England against Australia, there were five England football internationals before 1930 and the FA Cup final involved the replay between Barnsley and West Brom in 1912. A city built on seven hills, Sheffield offers easy access to the nearby Peak District National Park.
St Mary’s, Southampton
Tournament capacity: 31,600
Euro 2022 fixtures, Group A
Norway v Northern Ireland, 7 July, 8pm
Austria v Northern Ireland, 11 July, 5pm
Northern Ireland v England, 15 July, 8pm
Named in honour of the nearby St Mary’s Church whose members founded Southampton FC, this Premier League ground is no stranger to women’s football, having hosted a 2018 World Cup qualifier between England and Wales watched by a crowd of 25,000. When, at the start of the 2001–02 season, Southampton failed to win any of their first five games at their new home after relocating from the Dell, a local white witch suggested it was due to the £32m stadium being sited on a Saxon burial site and duly advised the performance of a pagan ritual in order to placate spirits unsettled by the football being played overhead. A Celtic “goddess”, Ceridwen Dragonoak, was drafted in to conduct a special Pagan ceremony in Welsh that involved the sprinkling of holy water across the pitch.
Sure enough, Gordon Strachan’s then side proceeded to finally win a game at St Mary’s at the sixth attempt, beating Charlton 1-0 in November 2001. London grounds excepted, Southampton’s home is the largest football ground in southern England and is walkable from the city centre, railway station and cruise ship terminal.
Leigh Sports Village, Leigh
Tournament capacity: 8,100
Euro 2022 fixtures, Group C:
Portugal v Switzerland, 9 July, 5pm
Netherlands v Portugal, 13 July, 8pm
Sweden v Portugal, 17 July, 5pm
Quarter-final, 22 July, 8pm
The home of Manchester United women, Manchester United men’s under-23s and the Leigh Centurions Rugby league team is part of a much larger multi-faceted, multi-use facility. An £83m sports, retail, housing and educational development in Greater Manchester intended to drive local regeneration, the village was formally opened by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh in 2009. It now houses, among other things, a Holiday Inn Express hotel, a Morrisons supermarket, a pub and an indoor swimming pool and constitutes part of the Wigan and Leigh sixth form college campus.
Its choice as a Euro 2022 venue was contentious, partly as one end is standing room only and capacity will need to be reduced during the tournament. Although public transport is available, regular visitors find the ground much easier, and faster, to access by car. Fortunately the parking is excellent. The Village was originally set to host matches involving Russia but they have now been replaced by Portugal.
Old Trafford, Manchester
Tournament capacity: 73,200
Euro 2022 fixture, Group A
Opening match – England v Austria, 6 July, 8pm
Dubbed the Theatre of Dreams by Sir Bobby Charlton, the UK’s biggest club football stadium – and the 11th largest in Europe – will be forever synonymous with Manchester United. It remains a place where evocative memories – of the Busby Babes, Sir Alex Ferguson’s 1999 Treble-winning side, Eric Cantona’s audacity, Roy Keane’s tackles, Cristiano Ronaldo’s goals and so much more – linger.
Although the stadium is starting to show its age a little these days it seems a fitting venue for the Euro 2022 curtain-raiser between England and Austria. Accessible on public transport (trams are the most convenient option) from Manchester city centre and close to both the motorway network and Manchester airport, Old Trafford is no stranger to hosting major events. Designed by the Scottish architect Archibald Leitch, it sits only 800 metres away from Old Trafford cricket ground, the home of Lancashire County Cricket Club.