Great Grounds of Asia: West | Football News |

15:24 | 19/05/2020

Kuala Lumpur: West Asia has some of the finest stadiums in the Continent, with these venues regularly playing host to AFC Asian Cup, AFC Champions League and AFC Cup matches.

Kuala Lumpur: West Asia has some of the finest stadiums in the Continent, with these venues regularly playing host to AFC Asian Cup, AFC Champions League and AFC Cup matches.

Having profiled the iconic stadiums of ASEAN and East previously, this week presents the Great Grounds of Asia: West.

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King Fahd International Stadium (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)

The striking King Fahd International Stadium is a multi-purpose 67,000 capacity venue in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The venue is used by domestic sides Al Shabab, Al Hilal SFC and Al Nassr as well as the Saudi Arabia national team.

The stadium’s roof umbrella is the largest stadium roof in the world despite its large centre opening. The 50000 m² structure contains 24 tent units in a circle with an outer diameter of 288m, with 24 columns arranged in a circle with a 247m diameter providing support.

Completed in 1986 and used for the 1989 FIFA World Youth Championship and the FIFA U-20 World Cup, the King Fahd International Stadium attracted a crowd of 65,000 for the final between Portugal and Nigeria. The venue also hosted all 16 matches during the 1997 FIFA Confederations Cup, as well as the final of the Asian Club Championship in both 1995 and 2000.

In 2014 King Fahd International Stadium hosted the second leg of the AFC Champions League final between Al Hilal and Western Sydney Wanderers, a match which ended in a goalless draw and meant the visitors were crowned Australia’s first Asian club champion.

Al Hilal hosted Urawa Red Diamonds in the first leg of the 2017 AFC Champions League final at the King Fahd International Stadium, with the match ending 1-1. The Japanese side went on to clinch the title after Rafael Silva struck in the second leg for Urawa to seal the title on a 2-1 aggregate score.

Zayed Sports City Stadium (Abu Dhabi, UAE)

Zayed Sports City Stadium is a traditional, open-air stadium that is defined on its exterior by iconic arches. Within the stadium is a full-size football pitch and a wide concrete apron surrounds it.

There are 42,355 general entry seats on two levels plus 1,436 hospitality seats and 277 media seats.

The plans were set in motion for the construction of the Zayed Sports City Stadium in 1974 and, six years later, the venue was inaugurated in January 1980 with 60,000-capacity.

After its opening, Zayed Sport City Stadium would host a series of high profile competitions throughout the next decade including the 1982 Gulf Cup, the 1985 AFC U-19 Championship and Olympic and AFC Asian Cup qualifiers.

Since then, the FIFA U-20 World Cup, FIFA Club World Cup and regional tournaments have all graced the ground before it underwent a major renovation in 2009, reducing its capacity to 43,000, and since 2015 had continued to be upgraded to ensure a more modern and functional facility.

In January 2019, Zayed Sports City Stadium welcomed the top 23 teams from across the Continent for the AFC Asian Cup.

Khalifa International Stadium (Doha, Qatar)

Khalifa International Stadium recently became the first arena that will be used for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 to be completed after undergoing extensive renovations.

The 40,000-capacity sustainable venue, located within the Doha Sports Complex, boasts a brand new roof that covers all seated areas and a sports museum.

One of its key features – and a major drive behind Qatar’s bid for the competition – has been the installation of cooling technology. The pitch-side temperature will thus stay at 26 degrees Celsius, while fans in the stands will also benefit as temperatures will be kept between 24 and 28 degrees.

Originally opened in 1976, Khalifa International Stadium underwent its first major renovation in 2005 ahead of the 2006 Asian Games.

The stadium, which is the home venue for Qatar’s national football team, staged international friendlies between Brazil and England in 2009 and Brazil and Argentina a year later.

It was also the setting for one of Qatar’s biggest footballing achievements when, in 1992, the Gulf Cup of Nations was staged in Doha. Having finished as runners-up in the previous edition in Kuwait, Qatar won their first major international title after coming out on top of the six-team round-robin group.

It continues to stage major athletics events to this day and was host for the 2019 IAAF World Championships, as well as the 2019 FIFA Club World Cup, where Qatari giants Al Sadd made it to the second round before suffering a 3-2 defeat to Mexico's Monterrey.

Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium (Kuwait City, Kuwait)

Located in the heart of the capital city, Jaber Al-Hamad International Stadium has a captivating design that is awed from on ground and above.

With a capacity of 60,000, the stadium has attracted large numbers over the past few years.

Shortly after its opening in June 2010, the stadium was the venue for the 2010 AFC Cup final between Kuwait's Qadsia SC and Al Ittihad of Syria. Close to 60,000 spectators witnessed the match go to penalties after the tie ended 1-1.

While Qadsia's Firas Al Khatib and Fahad Al Ansari missed their shots, Al Ittihad were flawless with their spot-kicks as they emerged 4-2 victors.

As well as being a home ground for the Kuwait national team, the stadium has been a central venue for major football events in the country such as the Kuwait Crown Prince Cup, Kuwait Amir Cup and the 2017 Gulf Cup.

Got a favourite stadium in mind? Pick your top two in this week's selection below! (Poll ends at 1700 (UTC 8) on May 21).

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