The northernmost city to hold a World Cup Final is Stockholm (Sweden) - 59°22'N The northernmost city to hold a World Cup match is Sandviken (Sweden) - 60°37'N The southernmost city to hold a World Cup Final is Montevideo (Uruguay) - 34°54'S The southernmost city to hold a World Cup match is Mar del Plata (Argentina) - 38°01'S The westernmost city to hold a World Cup Final is Pasadena (Greater Los Angeles, USA) - 118°08'W The westernmost city to hold a World Cup match is Palo Alto (San Francisco Bay Area, USA)- 122°10'W The easternmost city to hold a World Cup Final is Yokohama (Greater Tokyo, Japan) - 139°36'E The easternmost city to hold a World Cup match is Sapporo (Japan) - 141°25'E The most likely direction of World Cup's further geographical expansion seems to be eastward and to a lesser degree southward. If Australia will win the hosting rights, the easternmost location for a World Cup Final will be most likely Sydney (151°04'E), the city that hosted the 2000 Olympic Games. Brisbane (153°02'E) will become the easternmost location for a World Cup match. In the less likely event when the venue for the WC Final will be chosen Melbourne (37°49'S, 144°59'E), the city that hosted the 1956 Olympics, it will become both the southernmost and the easternmost location of the WC Final although not the extreme southern location for a WC match. Only if Tasmanian capital Hobart (42°53'S) will be chosen as one of the WC venues (although rather unlikely), it will be the southernmost location of a WC match. In the extremely unlikely event when New Zealand will be allowed to host some of the WC matches, it will provide further eastward and southward expansion of the locations to hold a World Cup match. In this case, Wellington (41°17'S, 174°47'E) will be both the extreme southern and the extreme eastern location, with further possibilities of Christchurch (43°32'S) / Dunedin (45°52'S) in the south and Napier (176°55'E) in the east. Another southward expansion is theoretically possible if Argentina or Chile will win the hosting rights, but neither country seems to have proper stadiums south of Bahia Blanca (38°45'S), the city doubtful in itself as a possible WC venue. A slight westward move is possible if Canada will win the hosting rights. In that case, Vancouver (123°07'W) will definitely become the westernmost location for a WC match, although it's nearly impossible for it to become the venue for a WC Final. And of course, if USA will host another WC tournament, they can move the westernmost location farther west to Seattle (122°19'W) or even Portland (122°41'W) unless they decide to stage some WC matches in Anchorage, Alaska (149°54'W) or Honolulu, Hawaii (157°50'W); however, it is highly unlikely that the Final venue will be chosen somewhere west of Los Angeles. And lastly, the northward expansion seems to end in 1958 in Sweden. Neither Norway nor Finland look like possible candidates to host the World Cup, although Helsinki (60°11'N) hosted the 1952 Olympic Games. Only if either country will co-host the WC tournament with Sweden (rather academic assumption), the World Cup may advance farther north to Tampere, Finland (61°30'N) or Trondheim, Norway (63°23'N). The northernmost city to hold a World Cup qualifying match is Reykjavik (Iceland) - 64°09'N The southernmost city to hold a World Cup qualifying match is Christchurch (New Zealand) - 43°32'S The westernmost city to hold a World Cup qualifying match is Vancouver (Canada) - 123°07'W Nuku'alofa (Tonga) - 175°12'W (*) The easternmost city to hold a World Cup qualifying match is Suva (Fiji) - 178°44'E Papeete (Tahiti) - 149°34'W Note: the westernmost and the easternmost cities were determined both in a strictly geographical sense (i.e., the closest point to the 180° longitude) and a geopolitical sense (i.e., including Oceania in the eastern part of the world). (*) According to the path of the International Date Line, Nuku'alofa would become the easternmost city while Apia (Samoa) located at 171°50'W will become the westernmost city to hold a World Cup qualifying match. Other locations used in past by national teams for international matches: The northernmost location: Bodo (Norway) - 67°18'N / Uummannaq (Greenland) - 70°41'N The southernmost location: Dunedin (New Zealand) - 45°52'S / Stanley (Falkland Islands) - 51°45'S The westernmost location: Victoria (Canada) - 123°21'W Mata-Utu (Wallis and Futuna Territory) - 176°08'W The easternmost location: Funafuti (Tuvalu) - 179°13'E Note: Tuvalu is an associate member of OFC but not a FIFA member. Greenland is a full member of the NF-Board but is not affiliated to FIFA or any continental confederation. Falkland Islands and Wallis and Futuna Territory teams represent overseas dependencies. Because of their current status, these nations and territories are ineligible to enter the FIFA World Cup and their matches are not recognized as official. Finally, the following locations, although never used for international matches before, may extend the extreme points in future: To the north: Tromso (Norway) - 69°40'N / Longyearbyen (Svalbard, Norway) - 78°13'N To the south: Punta Arenas (Chile) - 53°10'S / Ushuaia (Argentina) - 54°48'S To the west: Anchorage (USA) - 149°54'W / Honolulu (USA) - 157°50'W To the east: Labasa (Fiji) - 179°22'E Adamstown (Pitcairn Islands) - 130°06'W World Cup locations closest to the equator in northern hemisphere. World Cup Final venue: Mexico City (Mexico) - 19°18'N World Cup match venue: Puebla (Mexico) - 19°05'N World Cup qualifying match venue: Kampala (Uganda) - 0°19'N World Cup locations closest to the equator in southern hemisphere. World Cup Final venue: Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) - 22°55'S World Cup match venue: Recife (Brazil) - 8°06'S World Cup qualifying match venue: Quito (Ecuador) - 0°15'S The 2014 WC is scheduled to take place in South America. If Brazil will receive hosting rights as expected, WC matches may be held as close to the equator as Belem (1°27'S). As for the Final match, unless held (in the unlikely event) in the federal capital Brasilia (15°46'S), the venue won't be chosen north from Rio. And apart from Brazil, there is no other chance for World Cup to get closer to the equator from the south – Peru, DR of Congo (Zaire), and Indonesia are unlikely candidates to host the World Cup any time soon. If, however, the preference will be given to another strong candidate - Colombia, World Cup will get much closer to the equator from the northern direction. The Final match will be held either in Barranquilla (10°56'N) where the official stadium of Colombian national team is located or the national capital Bogota (4°38'N), and the southernmost location of a WC match will be definitely Cali (3°24'N). Other than Colombia, theoretical possibilities may include Venezuela, Nigeria, South-East Asia, and perhaps India. As for the qualifying match venues, there are no national capitals located closer to the equator. So, unless matches will be held in places like Entebbe (former capital of Uganda) or Mbandaka (formerly known as Coquilhatville, DR of Congo/Zaire), both located at 0°04'N, Macapa (capital of the state of Amapa, Brazil) located at 0°02'N, or Pontianak (capital of the province of West Kalimantan, Indonesia) located precisely on the equator (0°0'N), there will be no further movement. World Cup locations closest to the Prime Meridian. Obviously, Wembley Stadium in London, England (0°17'W) is the closest World Cup Final venue. But amazingly, the closest World Cup match venue isn't in London or even England for that matter - it's Le Havre, France (0°12'E) where one match of the 1938 WC was played. Next comes White City Stadium in London (0°13'W) which hosted one match in 1966. Arsenal Stadium (popularly known as Highbury) in London, located at 0°06'W, is the closest qualifying match venue. World Cup locations closest from the east: Final venue – Paris, France (2°15'E), and qualifying match venue – Lome, Togo (1°13'E). World Cup locations closest from the west (other than in London): Final venue – Madrid, Spain (3°41'W), WC match venue – Valencia, Spain (0°22'W), and qualifying match venue – Accra, Ghana (0°12'W). There is one possibility for the World Cup Final venue to get even closer to the Prime Meridian on the eastern side - if Barcelona (Spain) located at 2°07'E, host city of the 1992 Olympic Games, will ever be chosen to hold a World Cup Final. And theoretically, two stadiums in London – White Hart Lane (the home ground of Tottenham Hotspur FC) located at 0°04'W and the Boleyn Ground (commonly known as Upton Park, the home ground of West Ham United FC) located at 0°02'E, may bring qualifying venues even closer to Greenwich Meridian.
Prepared and maintained by Andre Rosso for the Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation
Author: Andre Rosso
Last updated: 31 Jan 2007
(C) Copyright Andre Rosso and RSSSF 2007
You are free to copy this document in whole or part provided that proper acknowledgement is given to the author. All rights reserved.