Playing football or ready for the biggest tournament of the year? All you need is a ball, a few players and — a pitch.
Around the world and whatever the landscape, football grounds abound — and are as varied and diverse as the people who play on them. Take a look at 11 of the weird and wonderful pitches across the world.
An aerial view of a football pitch in Shenyang in China’s northeastern Liaoning province. Photo credit: AFP / OSPORTS / – / China OUT
Perched on top of a Japanese department store, lost on a dusty mountain trail in Nepal or nestled at the foot of an ancient aqueduct in Rome.
A futsal pitch on the rooftop of a department store next to the Shibuya crossing in Tokyo. Photo credit: AFP / Toru YAMANAKA
Where there is a love of football, there will always be a pitch.
Nepali school students play football in a ground at Bahuneypati, Sindhupalchok some 70 kilometres northeast of Kathmandu. Photo credit: AFP / PRAKASH MATHEMA
In Brazil, pitches are crammed between crowded neighbourhoods in big cities like Sao Paolo or swallowed in Rio’s Tavares Bastos favela by buildings piled up like a house of unsteady cards.
Residents play football in a field with the image of Brazilian football player Gabriel Jesus in the background, painted on the walls of houses in the Perus neighbourhood, were he lived during his childhood in the outskirts of Sao Paulo, Brazil. Photo credit: AFP / NELSON ALMEIDA
In Nigeria, pitches are made out of roads between neighbourhoods and with car tyres as posts.
Street Football. Photo credit: Soccer Nation Nigeria
In New York‘s Brooklyn, footballers play by the waterside with the Statue of Liberty for backdrop.
People play a soccer match during sunset at Brooklyn Bridge Park in New York City, against the background of the Statue of Liberty. Photo credit: AFP / HECTOR RETAMAL
Seoul‘s nightlife includes a pitch ablaze with light on a rooftop above a shopping centre.
Futsal fields on the rooftop of a shopping mall in Seoul. Photo credit: AFP / JUNG Yeon-Je
In Switzerland, players drink in the beauty of mountains and valleys with Lac Leman in the distance.
The Mont de Gourze in Riez, western Switzerland, shows a football pitch illuminated with floodlights at sunset above the Lake Geneva. Photo credit: AFP / Fabrice COFFRINI
The Arctic circle boasts Henninsvaer FC’s ground, whose green synthetic turf is squeezed between Norway’s snow-capped mountains and icy seas.
A general view of the football stadium of Henninsvaer FC in Henningsvaer, northern Norway, Lofoten islands, within the Arctic Circle. Photo credit: AFP / Olivier MORIN
In Turin, a local pitch nestles atop a building among church spires and reddish-brown rooftops while in Rugeley, central England, teams play beneath the massive cooling towers of a huge coal-fired power station.
Schoolboys play football on a pitch situated on the rooftop of the San Giuseppe College in Turin. Photo credit: AFP PHOTO / Marco BERTORELLO
Shipston Excelsior FC (black and white) play Burnwood Town FC at Brereton Town FC’s ground in front of the coal-fired Rugeley Power Station, near Rugeley, central England. Photo credit: AFP / OLI SCARFF