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Saturday, March 24, 2007

Pazzini Wows Wembley

The much anticipated re-opening of the Wembley Stadium took place earlier today. In a "test" match to gauge the security and other operational features, the England U-21 tied the Italian U-21, 3 x 3, in a scintillating game. Giampaolo "Pazzo" Pazzini, who plays his club side soccer for AC Fiorentina, scored three goals. And almost a fourth before he was substituted to an appreciative applause by the English crowd. Pazzini made history today. His first goal was clocked at 28 seconds, which makes it the fastest goal ever scored at the Wembley Stadium.

The last competitive game played at Wembley was between England and Germany in 2000. Both teams will face each other later this year. Many improvement were made to the new Wembley. A retractable roof patterned after the Roman Coliseum, dozens of elevators, along with other cutting-edge architectural improvements. The new seating capacity will be 90,000, which has been reduced from 100,000. For today's match, almost 56,000 were in attendance, which was a historic figure for an Under 21 game. In June, both Italy and England will meet again in group play for the European U-21 Championship. A competition that Italy has won 5 out the last 7 times.

Here are some particulars about the new Wembley Stadium, which was originally built in 1923, and closed in 2000:
  • Estimated cost of US $1.57 billion.
  • Seating capacity of 90,000.
  • Roof height of 177 feet.
  • Arch height of 45 feet.
  • 688 concession stands.
  • 2618 toilets.
  • 36 elevators.
  • 30 escalators.
  • 107 steps to the Royal Box. (1)

(1) Facts, figures about the new Wembley Stadium: Yahoo Sports, 23 March 2007.

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