Stade de France is the national stadium of France, located in Paris and used by both the France national football team and the French rugby union team. Although the local rugby club Stade Français have recently established themselves as a semi-regular tenant, the stadium usually remains empty for the major part of the year.
It has a current capacity of 81,338 spectators, which makes it the largest football stadium in France and the fifth largest structure of its kind in Europe, as well as one of the most modern sports arenas. Designed by architects Michel Macary, Aymeric Zublena, Michel Regembal and Claude Constantini, Stade de France was built during May 1995 and December 1997, being officially inaugurated on January 28, 1998 with a match between France and Spain. 78,368 spectators showed up to view this first game, as the hosts beat Spain, Zinedine Zidane being the only goal scorer of the day. During the autumn of 2006 the stadium was the object of major renovations, which included the development of two new huge screens, which up to date are the largest located in a stadium in Europe and offer a level of realism which had never before been achieved in a sports arena.
In the final part of the 2000 season, Stade de France hosted the decisive match of the 1999–2000 edition of the most important European competition, UEFA Champions League. It was an all-Spanish clash, as favourites Real Madrid defeated fellow Spaniards Valencia 3–0. After another three years, the stadium again hosted a UEFA Champions League final, this time another Spanish club, Barcelona, defeating English Arsenal 2–1.
Being a multi-purpose arena, Stade de France has been frequently used for other important national an international events, such as music concerts or several sporting competitions, always approved by the Consortium Stade de France which is the current owner of France’s national stadium.