The Allianz Arena in Munich, one of the key venues for the 2006 World Cup, is virtually complete ahead of its opening game on 31 May this year. Resembling a giant pillow, the 66,000-seater stadium is covered in ETFE sheeting that is translucent around the sides and transparent on the roof. The whole structure lights up in a range of vivid colours like a giant beacon. The stadium, claimed to be the most advanced in Europe, was designed by Swiss architect Herzog & de Meuron and was built by the Alpine Bau Deutschland consortium. It is shared by two football clubs, Bayern Munich and TSV 1860.

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