Top Five World Cup Final Attendances

The World Cup Final is one of the biggest sports events and there have been some huge attendances for the football showpiece down the years.

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The official attendance for the 2022 World Cup final was 88,966 when Lionel Messi inspired Argentina to their third global triumph, but that crowd at Lusail Stadium in Qatar was not enough to get into the top five World Cup final attendances.

Here is the list of those crowds who top the list.

1. Uruguay 2 Brazil 1, 1950 Maracana Stadium, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – 173,850

There is some contention about this as the crowd was also announced as 199,854, but it still remains by a considerable margin the biggest to have ever assembled for a football match.

An additional issue is that, technically, it wasn’t a final as the 1950 tournament was settled by a final group stage. It just so happened that Uruguay and Brazil went into their final game with the winner set to take all.

Brazil were the hot favourites but succumbed to a 2-1 defeat and had to wait another eight years for the first of their five World Cup triumphs. 

The stadium underwent a facelift and hosted the 2014 final between Germany and Argentina, but the attendance was just over 73,000, more than 100,000 fewer than had been present 64 years earlier.

2. Argentina 3 West Germany 2, 1986 Estadio Azteca, Mexico City, Mexico – 114,600

The top stadium in Mexico is the only other ground to have hosted the World Cup final twice and it was the second of those matches that generated the biggest attendance.

And those who assembled witnessed a cracking match as Argentina, inspired by the player of the tournament Diego Maradona, took a two-goal lead through Jose-Luis Brown and Jorge Valdano either side of half-time.

West Germany pulled level with goals from Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Rudi Voller, but Jorge Burrachaga was on hand to crown Argentina world champions for the second time with a winner six minutes from time.

3. Brazil 4 Italy 1, 1970, Estadio Azteca, Mexico City, Mexico – 107,412

If the Azteca saw Maradona’s crowning glory then 16 years earlier it bore witness to the coronation of Pele as the World’s greatest player, even if there were 7,000 fewer fans present that would be at the same venue four World Cups later.

The Brazil legend headed his team in front and while Italy grabbed an equaliser from a defensive error, they had no answer to the Samba Stars in the second half as goals from Gerson and Jairzinho put them firmly in control.

The crowd then saw arguably the greatest goal scored in a World Cup final as Brazil skipper Carlos Alberto smashed the ball into the corner from the edge of the box after a flowing move that presented Brazilian football in all its glory.

4. England 4 West Germany 2, 1966, Wembley Stadium, London – 96,924

England’s victory in the 1966 World Cup final remains the most celebrated British sporting team triumph and a crowd pushing six figures was there to watch it all happen.

A home win looked unlikely when Helmut Haller gave West Germany the lead, but it was not long before Geoff Hurst headed home an equaliser.

Martin Peters looked to have given England the trophy before Wolfgang Weber scored a dramatic leveller, but the celebrations started after two more goals from Hurst, the first of which was highly controversial.

Not that many of the crowd cared.

5. Brazil 0 Italy 0, 1994, Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California, USA – 94,194

The fifth biggest crowd in World Cup finals history did not see a goal in open play as Brazil and Italy were locked in a goalless 120 minutes before a penalty shootout in California.

The star of the tournament, Italy’s Roberto Baggio, was the unfortunate player who blasted his kick over the bar and handed Brazil their fourth triumph.

The crowd was 12,000 short of the stadium record, which was the 106,869 who watched the college American football game between the USC Trojans and the Ohio State Buckeyes in January 1973.

A sports journalist for over 15 years, Aidan has been part of written and audio coverage on a wide-ranging number of events. Having played and coached at amateur level, he offers in-depth insight and opinion into the world of football in particular.
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