Countdown: Russia 2018 host cities, 12 stadia profiled


With about a month to the 2018 World Cup in Russia, below is the lowdown on every location of the 64-matvh tournament to be held across 11 cities and 12 stadia from June 14 to July 15.

Luzhniki Stadium – Moscow (Capacity: 80,000): The Luzhniki Stadium is home to the first game of the tournament on Thursday June 14 between host nation Russia and Saudi Arabia and will ultimately play host to the final on Sunday July 15. It has the largest capacity of all the World Cup 2018 stadia.

It first opened in 1956 and began refurbishment works to increase its capacity in 2013, with the athletics track removed, stands moved closer to the pitch, and two extra tiers added. The historical outer facade has been kept and incorporated into the new structure.

After the World Cup, the Luzhniki Stadium will continue to be the home ground for all Russia national team games.

What games are being played at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow? Russia vs Saudi Arabia (June 14); Germany vs Mexico (June 17); Portugal vs Morocco (June 20); Denmark vs France (June 26); Round of 16 match 3 (July 1); Semi-final 2 (July 11) and Final (July 15).Spartak Stadium – Moscow (Capacity: 45,000): Built in 2014, the Spartak Stadium is home to Russian Premier League side Spartak Moscow and was one of four stadiums used in the 2017 Confederations Cup, which was won by Germany.

The stadium’s facade is made up of hundreds of small diamonds representing the Spartak logo and can also be changed depending on whichever team is playing. After the 2018 World Cup, the stadium will be the centre of a new residential development that will be built around it.

What games are being played at Spartak Stadium in Moscow? Argentina vs Iceland (June 16); Poland vs Senegal (June 19); Belgium vs Tunisia (June 23); Serbia vs Brazil (June 27) and Round of 16 match 8 (July 3)

St Petersburg Stadium – St Petersburg (Capacity: 67,000): Built on the site of the former Kirov Stadium on Krestovsky Island, the St Petersburg Stadium hosted the opening match and final of the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup.

The seven-storey stadium is one of Russia’s most modern arenas. It includes a retractable roof and sliding pitch to be able to host other sporting events.

Following the World Cup it will continue to be the home of Zenit St Petersburg, as well as hosting concerts and a variety of other sports events. It will also be one of the grounds used in the Euro 2020 finals.

What games are being played at St Petersburg Stadium? Morocco vs Iran (June 15); Russia vs Egypt (June 19); Brazil vs Costa Rica (June 22); Nigeria vs Argentina (June 26); Round of 16 match 7 (July 3); Semi-final 1 (July 10) and Third-place play-off (July 14).

Fisht Stadium – Sochi (Capacity: 48,000): The Fisht Stadium was originally built for the 2014 Winter Olympics as an indoor arena hosting both the opening and closing ceremonies, before being reconstructed specifically for this year’s World Cup.

Named after Mount Fisht, the exterior resembles a snow-capped peak and hosted matches during last summer’s Confederations Cup.

During the 2018 World Cup, Sochi will be the Russia national team’s training camp and where they’ve played some of their competitive and friendly matches.

What games are being played at Fisht Stadium in Sochi? Portugal vs Spain (June 15); Belgium vs Panama (June 18); Germany vs Sweden (June 23); Australia vs Peru (June 26); Round of 16 match 2 (June 30) and Quarter-final 4 (July 7).

Samara Arena – Samara (Capacity: 45,000): Built in 2014 specifically for World Cup 2018, the Samara Arena will play host to one of the quarter-finals and will be known as Cosmos Arena after the tournament.

The theme for the stadium is of space in tribute to the region’s Soviet Union’s space programme and will resemble a glass dome.

During the construction of the stadium a fire caused a delay in its build but it is now fully complete and, after the World Cup, will be the home ground for FC Krylia Sovetov.

What games are being played at Samara Arena? Costa Rica vs Serbia (June 17); Denmark vs Australia (June 21); Uruguay vs Russia (June 25); Senegal vs Colombia (June 28); Round of 16 match 5 (July 2) and Quarter final 3 (July 7).

Kazan Arena – Kazan (Capacity: 45,000): Kazan Arena was initially built for the Summer World University Games in 2013 with a football pitch being installed later once the competition was complete.

Included as part of the 2017 Confederations Cup, the venue was designed by the same architects as both Arsenal’s Emirates and England’s Wembley stadiums. It also has one of the largest external screens in Europe.

After the tournament, the stadium will be home to Rubin Kazan and will also host various concerts, sporting events and cultural events.

What games are being played at Kazan Arena? France vs Australia (June 16); Iran vs Spain (June 20); Poland vs Colombia (June 24); South Korea vs Germany (June 27); Round of 16 match 1 (June 30) and Quarter-final 2 (July 6)

Nizhny Novgorod Stadium – Nizhny Novgorod (Capacity: 45,000): The newly built Nizhny Novgorod Stadium is near to the city’s Kremlin and the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, hosting six games in total across the World Cup. England vs Panama and Argentina vs Croatia will feature, as well as two knockout matches including a quarter-final.

Following the World Cup, the stadium will be the home ground for second-tier Olympiets Nizhny Novgorod. The city has also built new training facilities and practice fields that will be used by local sports teams once the tournament is over.

What games are being played at Nizhny Novgorod Stadium? Sweden vs South Korea (June 18); Argentina vs Croatia (June 21); England vs Panama (June 24); Switzerland vs Costa Rica (June 27) Round of 16 match 4 (July 1) and Quarter-final 1 (July 6).

Rostov Arena – Rostov-on-Don (Capacity: 45,000): The Rostov Arena, in Rostov-on-Don, is brand new for the 2018 World Cup, with a roof design built to replicate the nearby Don River and stands that will allow fans to see both the pitch and river.

After the tournament, 2014 Russian Cup winners FC Rostov will play their home games at the stadium.

What games are being played at Rostov Arena? Brazil vs Switzerland (June 17); Uruguay vs Saudi Arabia (June 20); South Korea vs Mexico (June 23); Iceland vs Croatia (June 26) and Round of 16 match 6 (July 2).

Ekaterinburg Arena – Ekaterinburg (Capacity: 35,000): The Ekaterinburg Arena is home to one of Russia’s oldest football clubs, FC Ural. The stadium was built in 1953 and has been refurbished several times, most recently for World Cup 2018.

Despite the rebuild, the historical facade has remained the same, although one of the stands now rises above the roof of the stadium to increase capacity from its previous 25,000. The arena will host the second game of the tournament when Mohamed Salah and Egypt clash with Luis Suarez and Uruguay.

What games are being played at Ekaterinburg Arena? Egypt vs Uruguay (June 15); France vs Peru (June 21); Japan vs Senegal (June 24) and Mexico vs Sweden (June 27).

Mordovia Arena – Saransk (Capacity: 44,000): Five hundred kilometres south east of Moscow, the Mordovia Arena is part of the Russian Federation and will host four group games in the 2018 FIFA finals.

Built in 2010, the stadium is oval shaped and coloured orange, red and white in honour of Mordovia’s culture. After the tournament, some of the stadium’s structures will be demolished, bringing the capacity down to 25,000, and it will be home to FC Mordovia.

What games are being played at Mordovia Arena in Saransk? Peru vs Denmark (June 16); Colombia vs Japan (June 19); Iran vs Portugal (June 25) and Panama vs Tunisia (June 28).

Kaliningrad Stadium – Kaliningrad (Capacity: 35,000): The Kaliningrad Stadium, located on Oktyabrsky Island, is brand new for the 2018 World Cup and is located outside of mainland Russia, neighbouring Poland south of the Baltic Sea. It will host England’s final group game against Belgium.

Following the tournament, the capacity of the venue will be reduced to 25,000 and will be the new home of FC Baltika Kaliningrad and renamed the Arena Baltika. Additionally, it will become a multi-purpose arena hosting concerts and other sporting events. What games are being played at Kaliningrad Stadium? Croatia vs Nigeria (June 16); Serbia vs Switzerland (June 22); Spain vs Morocco (June 25) and England vs Belgium (June 28).

Volgograd Arena – Volgograd (Capacity: 45,000): Volgograd Arena is a newly-built stadium for the 2018 World Cup and is located on the site of FC Rotor’s old Central Stadium, which was demolished in 2014. England kick off their Gorup G campaign with a match against Tunisia.

The stadium’s facade includes Victory Day firework display designs and boasts a lattice structure. After Russia 2018, the stadium will continue to be the home to FC Rotor.

What games are being played at Volgograd Arena? Tunisia vs England (June 18); Nigeria vs Iceland (June 22); Saudi Arabia vs Egypt (June 25) and Japan vs Poland (June 28).

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