2018 World Cup stadium guide
The countdown to the World Cup is already well under way as fans gear up for arguably the most eagerly anticipated month in the whole of sport. The World Cup brings people together, creates memories that will last for a lifetime and provides players with the opportunity to become legends in their own country.
Given that, it’s easy to see why everything connected with the tournament becomes so important to everyone. Whether it’s the ball that will be used, the new kits that are released or the special boots star individuals wear, the World Cup will get everyone talking. And, one other intriguing and exciting aspect that fans want to know about are the stadiums that will be used at the tournament.
They add to the magic of each tournament and become a key part of the process. For England fans Wembley will be synonymous with Bobby Moore lifting the Jules Rimet trophy whilst Germany sealed the World Cup last time out at the iconic Maracanã that just made success even sweeter.
Therefore, you can’t underestimate the importance playing in these high quality arenas and fortunately that’s what will be the case at Russia this summer. Here at Open Odds we are committed to bringing you everything you need to know about all the World Cup venues 2018 and we will start with the biggest in Russia, which will host the first game and the final.
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The Luzhniki Stadium is iconic in Russia and was first opened in 1956 after a successful 1952 Olympics for the Soviet team meant that a new sports complex was required. The record attendance for the Luzhniki is an astonishing 102,538, when fans packed in to watch the Soviet Union take on Italy in 1963. It has had various renovations since which has ensured it remains a top stadium in world football.
That was demonstrated by the fact it was the venue for the 1999 UEFA Cup final and the 2008 Champions League final that Manchester United fans will remember fondly after they beat Chelsea on penalties to lift the famous trophy. As mentioned, this is one of the key FIFA World Cup stadiums 2018 as it will host the opening game, three other group games, a round 16 game, the semi-final and the final.
Location: St. Petersburg
The Zenit Arena, also known as Krestovsky Stadium was only completed last year at an estimated cost of $1bn, specifically for the World Cup. As you will tell from the name, it is the home of Russian giants Zenit St. Petersburg and they opened the stadium in April ’17 with the first goal scored by former Chelsea man Branislav Ivanovic. It will host four group games, including Russia’s clash with Egypt, a last 16 game, a semi-final and also the third and fourth place play-off.
Fisht Olympic Stadium
This stadium, located at the Sochi Olympic Park was built for the 2014 Winter Olympics and will also be used for the World Cup. As with many of the World Cup stadiums 2018 it is a very modern design as it only opened in 2013 and was one of four stadiums used in the Confederations Cup last season. It will host four group games, a last 16 tie and a quarter-final. That includes the huge Group B clash between Portugal and Spain.
Another newly built stadium, on the site of the demolished Central Stadium near the Volga River, this new stadium was opened in time for the World Cup. It will host just four group games, the first of which will be England’s clash against Tunisia.
Nizhny Novgorod Stadium
Location: Nizhny Novgorod
This is yet another purpose built stadium for the World Cup which will be used by FC Olimpiyets Nizhny Novgorod who play in the second tier in Russian football. It has been built in a picturesque part of the area where the rivers Oka and Volga join. It opened in 2017 and is another that will host an England game with the Three Lions set to play Panama at this venue. All in all, it will host four group games, a last 16 tie and a quarter-final.
Another purpose built stadium, construction began in 2014 on this stadium and has comfortably been built in time for the World Cup. It will be host to FC Rostov who play in the Russian Premier League and may be known to football fans after playing in Europe in recent years.
The irregular shape of the roof and stands are distinctive in the ground and the capacity is set to be reduced after the tournament. As well as that, after the World Cup is over plans are in place to transform the area around the stadium into a sports and health centre. This will host four group games and a last 16 tie.
The Kazan Arena is home to Russian top-flight side Rubin Kazan and has actually been open since 2013 where it hosted the 2013 Summer Universiade opening and closing ceremonies. It was also prominent in the Confederations Cup last year that saw several key footballing nations play in Russia. This stadium cost $450m to build and will be regularly used throughout the upcoming World Cup. Interestingly, it has the largest outdoor screen in Europe at the ground. Altogether it will host four group games, a round of 16 tie and a quarter-final.
The Samara Arena will be known as the Cosmos Arena after the World Cup and will be the home of Russian second tier side FC Krylia Sovetov Samara. It’s another ground that has been specifically built for this major tournament and was only opened in April this year at the estimated cost of $320m. The construction for this stadium caused a lot of controversy after initial plans were submitted to FIFA for the ground to be built in a southern part of the city where the infrastructure is very, very poor. That quickly changed to a relocation point in the northern part which took little consideration of local residents who weren’t consulted. It’s up and ready now though and will host four group games, a round of 16 tie and a quarter-final.
Location: Saransk, Mordovia
This $300m stadium is another that has gone up specifically for the World Cup and work started on the ground way back in 2010. Its design was actually based on the Soccer City Stadium in South Africa which was a key stadium for the 2010 World Cup. This stadium will be home to FC Mordovia Saransk who play in the third tier of Russian football. After the World Cup has finished the capacity will be reduced from the 44,442 to 28,000 with the upper tiers set to be removed. This ground will only be used for four group games.
The Spartak Arena, also known as Otkritie Arena opened back in September 2014 and is the home to Russian giants Spartak Moscow. They opened the stadium four years ago with a game against Red Star Belgrade from Serbia. As it has been open for years now, it was one of four stadiums to be used for the Confederations Cup last year, including hosting the third and fourth place match.
The stadium cost $430m to build and was behind schedule after initial designs were said to be too ordinary. However, it has been a regular fixture for big European games in recent years, with Spartak hosting Liverpool in the Champions League earlier this season. The ground will host four group games, including fixtures that involve Argentina, Brazil and Belgium as well as a last 16 tie.
The Central Stadium in Ekaterinburg is the joint-smallest ground that will be used at the World Cup. This is one of only two stadiums used out of the 12, along with the Luzhniki, that hasn’t been built from scratch ahead of the tournament. It was originally built in 1957 and was a key sports facility in the area. Reconstruction has been done on the ground twice, with the latest in 2014 to ensure it would be fit to host the World Cup games.
The capacity of 35,000 that will be available during the competition won’t last, with plans to remove a section of the seating which will mean it can hold 23,000 set to happen after the World Cup. It is also home to FC Ural who play in the Russian Premier League. This ground will be used for four group games with France the most high-profile nation to play there.
The Kaliningrad Stadium is the other joint-smallest stadium in comparison to the others, with just over 35,000 fans able to watch the games at the World Cup. This is another that has been specifically built for the World Cup with construction starting two years ago and the stadium opening earlier this year at a cost of $257m. Once the competition is over the ground will be used by local side FC Baltika who play in the second tier of Russian football and narrowly missed out on a chance for promotion to the top-flight this season. The seats in the ground are blue and white based on the colours of their local team.
This will host just four group games but it will be of interest to England fans as it is where the Three Lions will play their final Group G match – the huge clash against Belgium that could be pivotal to see who tops the group.
What can we expect from the 2018 World Cup?
As you can see, a lot of work has gone in to making sure Russia have the very best venues for World Cup 2018. A lot of money has been invested and each ground is now perfectly capable and ready of hosting fixtures at such a prestigious tournament.
They will also benefit Russian football in general with a lot of sides set to benefit from the improved facilities including a lot of sides who aren’t even in the top-flight or some of the bigger names.
It’s also good to see that the games will be spread around the country with two venues in Moscow but all the others in different cities which ensures the World Cup will be felt by locals all across Russia. The stadiums are state of the art and will provide the perfect place for the world’s biggest stars to showcase their talent.