Spain-Portugal played in front of COVID record crowd

Spain has set a new national attendance record for a sporting event held in the COVID-19 era after nearly 15,000 fans turned out for the international football friendly against Portugal.

Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano, which has a capacity of 68,000, hosted the pre-Euro 2020 friendly on Friday night. The official attendance for the match, which finished 0-0, was 14,743.

Two top-tier LaLiga clubs, Valencia and Villarreal, welcomed 3,000 and 5,000 fans for the final home matches of their league campaigns last month, but Friday’s fixture at the Metropolitano was by some distance the largest COVID-19 era crowd in Spain so far.

It also marked the first time that fans had been at the Metropolitano, home of newly-crowned LaLiga champion Atlético de Madrid, since March 2020.

The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) had been granted approval for up to 22,590 spectators to attend the match, but ultimately the attendance was just shy of 15,000.

The match went ahead with a number of COVID-19 safety regulations in place, such as staggered time slots for the arrival of fans and the mandatory wearing of face masks in the stands.

The Estadio La Cartuja in the Spanish city of Seville will be one of 11 host venues at Euro 2020, which gets underway on Friday. Bilbao had initially been due to host Spain’s matches and a Round of 16 fixture but it was replaced by Seville amid doubts over the former’s ability to welcome fans.

The Estadio La Cartuja holds around 60,000 fans and is set to open at 30% capacity for the four matches.

Image: Fernandopascullo/CC BY-SA 4.0/Edited for size