Tom Oldfield

This summer sees the FIFA Confederations Cup 2009, which runs from 14th June to the 28th, taking place. Eight teams will collide in South Africa, including the hosts, and the tournament should give some clues as to the potential winners of the World Cup a year later. Brazil, Italy and Spain are the three biggest guns involved and all of them have aspirations of glory in 2010. This is their chance to sample the conditions in South Africa and continue their preparations.

It promises to be an action-packed few weeks, littered with sensational attacking play, as South Africa gears up for a hectic 12 months. But the Confederations Cup is not simply about the eight teams being put through their paces. It is also a chance to test out four stadiums ahead of the World Cup. There has been plenty of building work undertaken since the successful 2010 bid and the Confederations Cup will showcase four impressive venues.

With the countdown to 2010 well and truly on, feast your eyes on these stadiums and get familiar with them ahead of the big one next year.


Capacity: approx. 65,000

Rebuilt in 1982 with rugby in mind, Ellis Park was the scene of South Africa’s glorious 15-12 triumph over New Zealand in the 1995 Rugby World Cup. But the stadium will have football on the agenda for 2010 and an extra 5,000 seats will make it a cauldron of noise.

It is the home ground of Orlando Pirates and is due to host seven World Cup fixtures. Preparation was completed comfortably ahead of schedule in mid-2008 and players can look forward to sampling the stylish new changing rooms. Italy against Egypt looks to be the most intriguing Confederations Cup clash to be played here.

Group matches to be played there:

South Africa v Iraq, 14th June

Italy v Egypt, 18th June

Iraq v New Zealand, 20th June


Capacity: approx. 52,000

Named after Robert Owen Loftus Versfeld, a prominent figure in setting up sport in Pretoria, this stadium is one of the country’s oldest. First used for sport back in 1906, more recently it was also the venue for South Africa’s first ever victory over European opposition – a 1-0 win against Sweden.

With the floodlights and the roof among the areas improved ahead of the World Cup, the stadium is ready to host some of the planet’s top talent. Expect the mouth-watering Italy-Brazil clash to get the locals pouring in.

Group matches to be played there:

USA v Italy, 15th June

USA v Brazil, 17th June

Italy v Brazil, 21st June


Capacity: approx. 48,000

Almost 12,000 seats have been added to this stadium in advance of the World Cup, making it one of the bigger renovation jobs for the South Africans. And the new second tier is expected to be packed as European Championship winners Spain play twice, including a clash against the hosts, and the always-popular Brazilians appear once.

The work kicked off in 2007 and the stadium, which hosts both rugby union and football, can now reap the rewards of improved media areas and new turnstiles, among other upgrades.

Group matches to be played there:

Brazil v Egypt, 15th June

Spain v Iraq, 17th June

South Africa v Spain, 20th June


Capacity: approx. 42,000

This is one of the newer grounds on the block. It was built in 1999 and is named after the Bafokeng people who live in the area. Spain’s opening fixture ought to be the stand-out match played at the stadium during the group stage but any game involving South Africa will be a noisy affair.

Six matches beckon for this ground at the World Cup and, though construction only finished earlier this year, there are now around 4,000 more seats along with electronic scoreboards and higher quality floodlights to be tested out over the coming weeks.

Group matches to be played there:

New Zealand v Spain, 14th June

South Africa v New Zealand, 17th June

USA v Egypt, 21st June

Sit back, relax and enjoy the show!

Read more: