EURO 2008 STADIUM GUIDE

By Phil Esposito, PA Sport   Last updated: 7th May 2008   Subscribe to RSS Feed

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Austria and Switzerland will co-host this summer's European Championships, the second time two countries have jointly staged the event after Holland and Belgium did the honours eight years ago.

Here PA Sport takes a look at the stadia where the action from the 13th finals will unfold this June.

AUSTRIA

VIENNA - ERNST HAPPEL STADION

The venue for the final, this is the only stadium in either host country which has been awarded five stars by UEFA -

meaning it has world-class facilities and has the infrastructure capable of holding the final of the third-largest sports tournament in the world.

As well as the final on Sunday, June 29, the stadium will host all Austria's Group B games, two quarter-finals and the second semi-final.

The national stadium hosts club sides FK Austria and Rapid Vienna's European games, and has been given a 37 million euro (29million) facelift, including the installation of extra stands on the athletics track taking the capacity to over 51,000 seats for Euro 2008, and under-soil heating - which should not be necessary in the mild Austrian summer.

It was built between 1929 and 1931 by the Viennese Socialist government for the second Workers' Olympiad, an alternative Olympic Games for 100,000 amateur athletes from 26 countries.

The ground staged the 1964, 1987, 1990 and 1995 European Cup finals, and was renamed in the 1990s after legendary Vienna-born international player Ernst Happel, who also coached many European clubs to titles and took Holland to the 1978 World Cup final. Happel died in 1992.

It is the only stadium used for Euro 2008 which was not inaugurated this century.

A metro line connects with the city centre of 1.7 million people six miles away, where authorities have taken the lead from German World Cup organisers in 2006 to set-up a 'fan mile' with free viewing for up to 70,000 spectators.

KLAGENFURT - WORTHERSEESTADION

The new municipal 32,000-seater stadium will host the three Group B games between Germany, Croatia and Poland.

It was built in 20 months at a cost of 50million, but will have only a brief life before being partly deconstructed.

This will cost a further 5million, reducing stadium capacity to 12,000 in a re-focus to athletics and a new Olympics training centre. The stands will be reused in other stadiums across Austria.

Nicknamed the 'UFO' by locals, the home stadium of SK Austria Karnten is set in mountainous countryside three miles from the centre of the sunniest city in Austria, home to 91,000, and close to the borders with Italy, Slovenia and Croatia.

The stadium complex, completed in 2007, has a hotel, shopping and commercial centre.

SALZBURG - STADION SALZBURG WALS-SIEZENHEIM

The newly-redeveloped 30,500-seater stadium will host all of holders' Greece's games in Group D.

Built in 2003 at a cost of 45 million euros (35.5million), a new top-tier has increased the capacity from 18,200 at the home of Red Bull Salzburg, who are Republic of Ireland coach-elect Giovanni Trapattoni's current team.

Located six miles from the centre of the 'city of Mozart,' the stadium has great transport links with its own stop on the Salzburg-Munich railway line, a direct link to the motorway and the adjacent Salzburg airport.

With a 'Sound of Music' backdrop, the stadium site of 15 hectares includes a park, playgrounds and restaurants.

The pitch is the only one in the Austrian Bundesliga which uses artificial turf. Their 'Polytan Ligaturf' has FIFA's highest synthetic turf rating, but Euro 2008 matches will take place on relaid natural grass to comply with competition rules.

INNSBRUCK - STADION TIVOLI NEU

Thirty thousand spectators will be able to see the Group D games between Spain, Russia and Sweden after the Tivoli NEU was recently expanded from its original capacity of 17,400, when it was built eight years ago.

Fewer than two miles from the compact city centre, the stadium - home to FC Wacker Tirol - lies in the heart of the Tirol mountains, with its unpredictable summer weather.

The old stadium was host to the 1964 and 1976 Olympic Winter Games, and the new stadium is part of The 'Olympiaworld Innsbruck complex,' which also includes sports halls and ice rinks.

The stadium opened with a 3-2 friendly win for Austria against Ivory Coast in October 2007.

SWITZERLAND

ZURICH - LETZIGRUND STADION

The newly-remodelled 30,000-seater was the last stadium chosen by the organisers.

The Hardturm, host venue for the 1954 World Cup, was the expected venue but the renovation plans ran into legal challenges. Instead, striking changes to the Letzigrund, originally built in 1929, were put forward and approved by UEFA in January 2005.

It will host the three Group C games between Romania, Italy and France after being built in just 12 months at a cost of 50million, rising to 53million with extra seating for Euro 2008.

Athletics fans will hope the running track offers the similar level of performance as its predecessor, since it was a competitors' favourite with numerous world records having been set in the old stadium including Sebastian Coe's famous mile run in 1981 - the Weltklasse Zurich, part of the IAAF Golden League, takes place at the venue.

The stadium is home to FC Zurich, and lies two-and-a-half miles from the largest city in Switzerland.

BASLE - ST JAKOB-PARK

Seating 42,200 spectators this venue is Switzerland's largest, and will host two quarter-finals and one semi-final as well as all Switzerland's home matches - including the tournament opener against the Czech Republic on June 7.

The original 1954 'Joggeli' stadium, which hosted five games in the 1954 World Cup, was replaced at a cost of 120million in 2001. Remodelling was done by local architects Herzog & De Meuron - who are also responsible for London's Tate Modern art gallery, the new Olympic Stadium in Beijing, and the Allianz Arena in Munich. Like the Bavarian venue, exterior panels can be lit to provide an outstanding atmospheric backdrop, and the stadium is partially-powered by solar panels on the roof.

Home to FC Basle, the average attendance was 20,000 last season, though this was lower than normal due to the repercussions of a hooligan incident in May 2006.

On the last day of the 2005-06 Swiss Super League season, Basle fans stormed the pitch after title rivals FC Zurich grabbed a last-minute winner to take the title, Basle's first home defeat in three and a half years. Goalscorer Iulian Filipescu was attacked, and Zurich fans also illegally came onto the pitch in celebration. Battles between hooligans and police outside of the stadium raged late into the night, and as a consequence Basle received a heavy fine and had to play five matches of the new season with reduced capacity.

The UEFA 4-star stadium, which is less than two miles from the city of 160,000, has a shopping centre and 107-room old people's home in the annex.

BERNE - STADE DE SUISSE WANKDORF

Switzerland's capital city will host all of Holland's Group C games in Young Boys Berne's rebuilt 32,000-seater stadium.

The old Wankdorf stadium was the venue of West Germany's 1954

World Cup final success against Hungary's long-unbeaten 'Mighty Magyars,' known as the 'Miracle of Bern.'

That stadium was demolished in 2001, and 130million has paid for a shopping centre, restaurants, offices, apartments, and a public school. The roof is the largest solar power plant in Switzerland, with over 6,000 square metres of panels producing 700,000 kilowatt hours of energy per year, enough to power around 250 homes, which is marketed to households, companies and authorities at break-even price.

Two miles outside the home of confectioners Toblerone, Young Boys normally play on an artificial surface but like Salzburg, this will be replaced for Euro 2008 because UEFA rules prevent tournaments from using a mixture of playing surfaces.

The grandstand has a solitary red seat amongst all the other black and yellow ones. This was the first installed at the stadium, in January 2005, and is not used except by a local guest of honour.

GENEVA - STADE DE GENEVE

Portugal, Turkey and the Czech Republic will play their Group A games against each other at the five-year-old 30,000-seater stadium, two miles south of the watch-making capital of Switzerland.

It is home to Servette, currently in the second tier of Swiss football, and has hosted many international friendlies: the first a 2-1 loss to Italy on opening day. It has since seen Argentina lose 3-2 to England in November 2005, and Brazil beat New Zealand 4-0 in June 2006.

It has also been used for rugby union, with a 2006-07 Heineken Cup clash between Bourgoin and Munster being moved from Bourgoin's home ground.

The Stade de Geneve cost 35million to construct over three years, replacing the Charmilles Stadium which hosted five games in the World Cup 54 years ago. The new stadium includes an integrated shopping and leisure complex, a hotel and restaurants, and has its own railway station.

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