- Associated Press - Monday, June 6, 2016

PARIS (AP) - France has revamped its stadiums for the biggest-ever European Championship, which begins Friday when the host nation takes on Romania at the Stade de France in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis.

France’s national stadium, which was built for the 1998 World Cup, will also host the final on July 10. It’s the only one of the 10 venues being used that hasn’t either been built for the soccer tournament, which now features 24 teams, or been upgraded in recent years.

The stadiums being used stretch from Lille in the north to Marseille in the south and from Bordeaux in the west to Nice in the east.

Some of the stadiums being used have been renovated. The Stade Velodrome in Marseille now has a roof. Other venues are new, including the Stade de Lyon, which was the most expensive to build and only opened at the start of the year. The Stade Pierre Mauroy in Lille, which opened in 2012, is one of the most dramatic new stadiums with its retractable roof.

Getting France’s stadiums ready to host Euro 2016 hasn’t been cheap. About 2 billion euros ($2.3 billion) is said to have been spent, most of it by the clubs whose stadiums are involved and the cities. The French government and UEFA also helped out, in the latter case indirectly through funding to the cities.

Attached are photographs of the venues that will host Euro 2016 matches.


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