It is a matter of weeks now until the eyes of world football turn to Russia for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
The finishing touches are being applied to the various new stadia throughout the country, as the country gears up to host one of the world’s biggest sporting events for the first time. The Russian people have worked hard to ensure that the infrastructure is in place to welcome supporters from all four corners of the globe to watch the elite of the game to battle for the World Cup Trophy.
Whether you’re planning on traveling to Russia to watch some of the action or you’re a stadium-buff, this article will provide you with all the information you need on some of the most interesting newly built football stadiums in Russia. The Russian stadia stretches from as far east as the Ekaterinburg Stadium to the west with the Kaliningrad Stadium, spanning more than 1,800 miles.
- Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow – 81,000 capacity.
The Luzhniki Stadium is not a newly built from scratch 2018 World Cup stadia as it was built a while ago in 1956. It has played host to over 3,000 professional football games at the club and international level. For a while, it was a home arena for the most popular football club in Russia – Spartak Moscow (before they moved to their new Otkritie Arena in 2014).
Following a $400 million renovation for this summer, the Luzhniki has returned to its best just in time to be the backdrop for the 2018 World Cup final on July 15th. The Luzhniki now look better than ever before!
- Saint-Petersburg Stadium, Saint Petersburg – 67,000 capacity.
Completed last year, the Saint-Petersburg Stadium overlooks the Neva River and is the most northern tournament venue. The building of this stadium has been somewhat protracted, having lost significant funding from Russian gas company Gazprom. The city’s government eventually helped to complete the project in time for last year’s Confederation Cup.
It is the second biggest 2018 World Cup stadium behind Luzhniki and the most expensive one built at a cost of around $700 million.
Make sure to check out my St. Petersburg World Cup guide.
- Fisht Olympic Stadium, Sochi – 48,000 capacity.
Sochi’s Fisht Olympic Stadium has one of the coolest designs among the stadiums that are hosting the World Cup in Russia. It’s been open since 2013 and its 47,000-seater stadium has been penciled in to play host to one knock-out game in both the last 16 and quarterfinal stages as well as four matches of the group stage.
Sochi is no stranger to hosting main events, having had the Winter Olympics in 2014. The city also plays host to one of the largest poker tournament events on Russian soil.
- Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, Nizhny Novgorod – 45,000 capacity.
It’s taken two and a half years to finish this stunning 45,000-seater stadium in Nizhny Novgorod. Overlooking the confluence of the River Volga and Oka, the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium boasts impressive pillars around the outside structure of the ground.
It’s a shame this magnificent structure will only play host to around 1,000 spectators after the World Cup when Russian second-tier outfit, a team called “Olimpiyets Nizhny Novgorod” will call the stadium their new home.
- Volgograd Stadium, Volgograd – 45,000 capacity.
The former home of FC Rotor Volgograd and their infamous UEFA Cup success over Manchester United has undergone a $280 million facelift for this summer’s World Cup. This is another new stadium with impressive exterior architecture built to resemble traditional Russian basketwork.
FC Rotor Volgograd will use the new arena as their home for next season, but their position at the foot of Russia’s second division would suggest crowds won’t be flocking to domestic games too quickly.
- Kaliningrad Stadium, Kaliningrad – 35,212 capacity.
Designed loosely based on Munich’s Allianz Arena, the Kaliningrad Stadium will be the smallest new stadium at this summer’s tournament. Built on Oktyabrsky Island, it’s in a picturesque location and the ground’s exterior shell is also a sight for sore eyes. It’s less imaginative on the inside, giving way to bowl-shaped, functional seating.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup will begin on June 14th at the Luzhniki Stadium and concludes at the same venue 31 days later. It is an opportunity for Russia to show off its beautiful architecture and newly built stadiums. Ensuring the safety of supporters from around the world will be paramount so that the 2018 World Cup is remembered for all the right reasons.
Which one of these venues is your favorite? Your opinion is always welcomed in the comments!