The FIFA World Cup 2018 action kick starts at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium on Thursday, June 14, at 8.30 PM India time. The action involving 32 teams, over the course of 64 matches and 33 days, will move across 11 Russian cities and 12 stadiums.
Insidesport.co brings to its readers a brief guide to the 12 stadiums, which will host the FIFA World Cup 2018 games from June 14, 2018, to July 15, 2018. The action will start and culminate at the grand 80,000-capacity Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.
1. Luzhniki Stadium – Moscow
Cost: $385 million / ₹ 2,500 crore.
Matches: 14 June – Russia vs Saudi Arabia; 17 June – Germany vs Mexico; 20 June – Portugal vs Morocco; 26 June – Denmark vs France; 1 July Round of 16; 11 July – Semi-final; 15 July – Final.
Opened first in 1956, the grand Luzhniki Stadium is renovated last year to dress up for the FIFA World Cup 2018 finals. The pivotal FIFA World Cup 2018 venue will play host to the opening ceremony and the grand finale on June 15 among other games.
Matches: 14 June – Russia vs Saudi Arabia; 17 June – Germany vs Mexico; 20 June – Portugal vs Morocco; 26 June – Denmark vs France; 1 July Round of 16; 11 July – Semi-final; 15 July – Final
The historic crucible of Soviet and Russian sport, Luzhniki is the national squad’s home ground and venue for major political events, such as big speeches by President Vladimir Putin. It was gutted and rebuilt for the World Cup, turning it into a football-specific venue. Only its original facade remains.
2. Fisht Stadium – Sochi
Cost: $ 445 million (including $65 million for renovation) / ₹ 2,900 crore
Matches: 15 June – Portugal vs Spain; 18 June – Belgium vs Panama; 23 June – Germany vs Sweden; 26 June – Australia vs Peru; 30 June – Round of 16; 7 July – Quarter-final
Situated close to Putin’s vacation home on the Black Sea, this Stadium in Sochi was completed in 2014 for a cost of $380 million. Another $ 65 million are spent on the stadium upgradation and renovation last year for the FIFA World Cup 2018 finals. Fisht Stadium is considered the most scenic football venue in Russia.
3. Volgograd Arena – Volgograd (formerly Stalingrad)
Cost: $260 million / ₹ 1,700 crore
Matches: 18 June – Tunisia vs England; 22 June – Nigeria vs Iceland; 25 June – Saudi Arabia vs Egypt; 28 June – Japan vs Poland
Built in the Russian Industrial city of Volgograd (Stalingrad until 1961), the arena is reminiscent of the 2008 Beijing Games main stadium Bird’s Nest. The stadium is built afresh, at the site of the Battle of Stalingrad, for the FIFA World Cup 2018. It completed well in time for the mega football show and opened earlier this year.
4. Nizhny Novgorod Stadium – Nizhny Novgorod
Cost: Estimated cost: $275 million / ₹ 1,800 crore
Matches: 18 June – Sweden vs South Korea; 21 June – Argentina vs Croatia; 24 June – England vs Panama; 27 June – Switzerland vs Costa Rica; 1 July Round of 16; 6 July – Quarter-final
Nizhny Novgorod is the administrative center and capital of Volga Federal District and Nizhny Novgorod Oblast in Russia. Known untill 1990 as Gorky, named after noted writer Maxim Gorky, the City will host six World Cup games. The stadium with elegant, wave-like stands resembling those of Marseille’s Stade Velodrome is opened earlier this year for the World Cup.
5. Rostov Arena – Rostov-on-Don
Estimated cost: $320 million / ₹ 2,100 crore.
Matches: 17 June – Brazil vs Switzerland; 20 June – Uruguay vs Saudi Arabia; 23 June – Korea Republic vs Mexico; 26 June – Iceland vs Croatia; 2 July Round of 16
The Rostov-on-Don city in southern Russia, with the population of one million, will play host to five World Cup games. The Stadium, built at approximately $320 million / ₹ 2,100 crore, is opened only this year. Security will be one of the prime concerns at this city, which is neighbouring Ukraine and has seen over a million deaths during the four-year conflict.
6. Kazan Arena – Kazan
Estimated cost: $230 million / ₹ 1,500 crore
Matches: 16 June – France vs Australia; 20 June – Iran vs Spain; 24 June – Poland vs Colombia; 27 June – South Korea vs Germany; 30 June – Round of 16; 6 July – Quarter-final
The Capital City of the Republic of Tatarstan in Russia, Kazan will host the World Cup stadium at its existing facility. The Kazan Arena, built for the 2013 University Games in Russia, is one of the major sports infrastructures in the country with the potential to host the Olympics in future. The football fans visiting Kazan will also have an added attraction to visit the Kazan Kremlin World Heritage Site.
7. Samara Arena – Samara
Cost: $305 million / ₹ 2,000 crore
Matches: 17 June – Costa Rica vs Serbia; 21 June – Denmark vs Australia; 25 June – Uruguay vs Russia; 28 June – Senegal vs Colombia; 2 July Round of 16; 7 July – Quarter-final
Samara, one of the over-delayed FIFA World Cup projects, has somehow been readied and opened in time to hosts its first FIFA World Cup 2018 game on June 17. After FIFA had raised alarm several months, the grass was shipped from Germany in April to make the stadium match-ready. Known as Kuybyshev unitl 1991, Samara is the sixth largest Russian city and now an important and large social, political, economic, industrial and cultural centre in European Russia. The City came into prominence when it hosted the European Union summit in 2007.
8. Saint Petersburg Stadium – Saint Petersburg
Cost: $700-775 million / ₹ 4,500-5,000 crore.
Capacity: 68,000 Opening: 2017
Matches: 15 June – Morocco vs Iran; 19 June – Russia vs Egypt; 22 June – Brazil vs Costa Rica; 26 June – Nigeria vs Argentina; 3 July – Round of 16; 10 July – Semi-final; 14 July – Third Place play-off
The costliest FIFA World Cup 2018 venue has been opened last year after 10 years of construction work. The high-tech arena a retractable roof. The stadium cost is also escalated partially on account of the turn value exceeding by almost 300% than earlier estimates.
Saint Petersburg is the second largest after Moscow and one of the modern cities in Russia. The cultural capital of Russia also houses the Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments, which constitute a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Saint Petersburg is home to the Hermitage, one of the largest art museums in the world. Fans visiting Saint Petersburg will have a lot to capture in their memories beyond the football action.
9. Mordovia Arena – Saransk
Cost: $265 million / ₹ 1,700 crore.
Matches: 16 June – Peru vs Denmark; 19 June – Colombia vs Japan; 25 June – Iran vs Portugal; 28 June – Panama vs Tunisia
It will not be unfair to say that the Capital of the central Russian city of Mordovia is developed for the World Cup. The City did not have a major airport or modern hotels before its development plans to host the World Cup were completed. The arena, opened last year, is the largest sports facility in the city now.
However, Saransk is a major sports center of the Volga region. The city has several large sports facilities, such as the Republican Palace of Sports, Ice Palace, Mordovia Sports Complex, Leonid Arkaev Gymnastics Center, various sports and fitness clubs and gyms.
10. Spartak Stadium (Otkritie Arena) – Moscow.
Cost: $235 million
Matches: 16 June – Argentina vs Iceland, 19 June – Poland vs Senegal; 23 June – Belgium vs Tunisia; 26 June – Serbia vs Brazil; 3 July – Round of 16
The home of Russia’s most popular team Spartak Moscow, opened in 2014, has been the pride of Spartak fans who consider the Red and White arena to have the best atmosphere for spots. Also known as the Otkritie Arena, the 45,000-capacity stadium will be the second venue for the World Cup matches in the Russian Capital city.
11. Ekaterinburg Arena (The Central Stadium) – Yekaterinburg
Cost: $210 million / ₹ 1,350 crore
Matches: 15 June – Egypt vs Uruguay; 21 June – France vs Peru; 24 June – Japan vs Senegal; 27 June – Mexico vs Sweden
One of the oldest sports facilities in Russia, the 1957-Ekaterinburg arena is opened earlier this year after being renovated to host the FIFA World Cup 2018. The 35,000 city stadium will go down the FIFA World history as the first stadium to have two two vertiginous stands entirely outside the arena. The stands, reserved for only Russians, will be dismantled after the tournament.
Yekaterinburg is one of the most important economic centers in Russia, and the city had experienced economic and population growth recently. Some of the tallest buildings in Russia are located in the city.
12. Kaliningrad Stadium
Cost: $280 million / ₹ 1,800 crore
Matches: 16 June – Croatia vs Nigeria; 22 June – Serbia vs Switzerland, 25 June – Spain vs Morocco; 28 June – England vs Belgium
The 35,000-capacity stadium in one of the smallest Russian cities is opened only in April. The completion was delayed as the engineers had to deal with a shaky start on a swamp. However, once the construction heads managed to get hold of the base, the stadium was completed in time to meet the April deadline for the World Cup venue completion.