The Big Picture: Bafokeng Stadium

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The Independent Football

The Fans

The Royal Bafokeng Stadium is the smallest in the competition. It holds just 42,000 – similar to Villa Park – and England have been officially allocated only 5,040 tickets for tonight's game against the US, who will have a good support of their own with more tickets having been sold in the States than any other country (130,000).

The Pitch

During the Confederations Cup dress rehearsal, the surface acquired a reputation as the best in South Africa. It is inter-seeded with three types of grass, Kikuyu (warm season), Perennial Rye and Kentucky Blue (both cool season).

The Weather

The energy-sapping affects of altitude could play a part – Rustenburg is 1500m above sea level, the highest of the grounds. Today's weather is expected to be cloudy with a temperature of 14°C – conditions that will be far from alien to English players, unlike in previous tournaments, where heat has been a factor.

Athletics Track

This is the only venue with an athletics track, which could work against England, with fans further away from the action than in a Premier League arena.


The stadium is under tight security with roads leading to it closed, steel fencing erected and traffic reduced to two lanes. Police and sniffer dogs will patrol the area whilst there will be vehicle checks within a five-mile radius.