Remember That Time The Pontiac Silverdome Hosted the 1994 World Cup?
With the 2022 FIFA World Cup underway, soccer fans across the globe have turned their attention to the action in Qatar.
Although Team USA was eliminated over the weekend in a tough loss against the Netherlands, there's still plenty of fierce competition ahead to see who will make it to the World Cup finals scheduled for December 18, 2022.
Believe it or not, there was actually a time when all eyes were on Michigan as we hosted several World Cup matches in 1994. Do you remember when the greater Detroit area hosted the biggest sports competition in the world?
In 1994 nine cities across the U.S. were chosen to host World Cup matches which included: Pasadena, Chicago, Dallas, Orlando, San Francisco, Boston, Washington D.C., East Rutherford, New Jersey-- and Pontiac, Michigan for some reason.
Four first-round matches were played at the Pontiac Silverdome, which drew crowds in numbers upwards of 77,000 spectators to the former home of the Detroit Lions.
First Indoor Match
The matches played at the Silverdome were notable because they were the first-ever World Cup match to be played indoors. However, that proved to be an issue!
According to several sources, the venue became overly hot and humid. The event's Wikipedia entry states,
In an exhibition game between Germany and England...English coach Graham Taylor criticized the indoor venue's lack of weather as removing an unpredictability factor from soccer. The lack of air conditioning contributed to extreme heat and humidity, an advantage to the Germans playing on Italian clubs.
Similarly, after Team USA tied Switzerland 1-1 on June 18, Swiss coach Roy Hodgson admitted the team had not prepared for the extreme heat and humidity within the Silverdome.
Although Team USA tied Switzerland, the Americans ended up moving to the second stage of the competition but eventually lost to would-be World Cup '94 champions, Brazil.
Soccer has certainly grown exponentially in popularity since 1994. Do you think we'll ever host the World Cup in Michigan again?