World Cup stadium which hosted England with 44,000 fans now unrecognisable with iconic arch moved eleven miles away | The Sun

A FORMER World Cup stadium has been left unrecognisable after building works saw its arch moved 11 miles away.

Athletic Bilbao's San Mames Stadium was redeveloped in 2013 and a brand new ground was erected next to the old structure.

The old arena, which was dubbed "The Cathedral", had an iconic arch over the main stand.

It was built in two halves in 1953 and it supported a then brand new roof over the stadium.

Incredibly, it was the first arch used over a sports arena and increased the capacity of the ground to 35,000.

Spain hosted the 1982 World Cup and again the old San Mames had construction work done to it prior to the tournament, allowing for 44,172 fans to come through the turnstiles.


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It was the ground used for England's three group stage matches as the Three Lions defeated France, Czechoslovakia and Kuwait.

The likes of Bryan Robson and Trevor Francis scored in the stadium for Ron Greenwood's side.

Athletic Bilbao eventually left the San Mames in 2013 for the adjacent stadium built next door that goes by the same name.

The stunning new version of the ground can fill 53,331 fans and features high-tech lighting and a huge screen on the outside.

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It has hosted concerts, Euro 2020 matches and it will be the location for the 2025 Europa League final.

When Athletic Bilbao knocked down their old stadium they did not want to get rid of their iconic arch.

So it was therefore moved 11 miles down the road to the club's training ground in Lezama.

It has been installed next to pitches where the first-team train and where the club's youth and women's teams play.

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