The Spanish national team will run out at the Estadio Benito Villamarín for the first time since 1995 when they face England on Monday night. Like Germany, Spain opt to tour the country when on international duty, allowing fans from right across the peninsula to see their nation up close.
The stadium, situated in Seville, was built in 1929 for the Ibero-American Exposition that was hosted in Seville that year. The first football match actually played at the stadium was in fact an international fixture between Spain and Portugal in March 1929 with the hosts coming away as 5-0 winners.
Originally known as the Estadio de Heliópolis, the ground had a maximum capacity of just 18,000 and hosted a number of Real Betis home games between 1930 and 1961. The club finally bought the stadium in 1961 after redevelopments had patched up the damages of the 1948 floods. Having been expanded to 47,500 seats for the 1982 World Cup in Spain, the stadium hosted two group stage games; both featuring Brazil.Embed from Getty Images
The Spanish team returned to the stadium two years later when Spain thumped Malta 12-1 in Euro 84 qualifying and visited the Benito Villamarín much more frequently in the years that followed. Including the 1929 friendly against Portugal, Spain went on a nine-match winning run at the stadium including wins over Wales and the Republic of Ireland.
Their first defeat there came in 1991 when goals from Luis Fernandez and Jean-Pierre Papin earned France a 2-1 victory over Javier Clemente’s Spain. Another winning streak of four consecutive games followed against lesser opponents like Lithuania and Northern Ireland before a 1-0 win over Armenia marked a temporary end to international action at the stadium.
Spain’s caretaker boss at the 2018 World Cup, Fernando Hierro, netted the only goal of the game form the penalty spot in a line-up that included current manager Luis Enrique. Spain’s Nations League face-off with England is arguably the most prestigious international fixture to be played at the Villamarín and is the first since its expansion and redevelopment to a 58,000 capacity.Embed from Getty Images
Overall, Spain have played 14 times at the Estadio Benito Villamarín, winning 13 and losing just once. Gareth Southgate and England have their work cut out if they’re going to change history and deal Spain their first defeat under Luis Enrique.