The World Cup this year will have 12 different stadiums spread across an 1800 mile radius. The players will be travelling all across Russia over the four week tournament. A few of the stadiums, including the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, which is where the final will be held, have been purpose built.
Let’s start with the scene of England’s opening game:
Volgograd Arena, Volgograd
Distance from Moscow: 585 Miles
The Volgograd arena is where England will play Tunisia in their first group game on 18th June. It is one of quite a few stadiums that have been purpose-built for the World Cup, and after the World Cup the capacity will be reduced to 35,000 and Russian side FC Rotor Volgograd will make it their new home.
The stadium was built on the site of the old Central Stadium, which was built in 1958. The new stadium is definitely an upgrade as it has a very distinctive lattice-like exterior that FIFA said is “reminiscent of the spokes on a bicycle wheel, it lends the stadium an extra element of airiness”.
Matches: England v Tunisia (18th June), Nigeria v Iceland (22nd June), Saudi Arabia v Egypt (25th June), Japan v Poland (28th June). It will not host any of the knockout round matches.
Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, Nizhny Novgorod
Distance from Moscow: 265 miles
Another purpose-built stadium in Nizhny Novgorod is where England will take on their second group opponents, Panama on the 24th June. The stadium is based in the historic region known as Spit. It is based at the confluence of the two major rivers – The Volga and The Oka. Once the world cup is finished, it is expected that the stadium will be the home ground for Russian Premier League side FC Olympiyets Nizhny Novgorod. As well as this, it will be used for other sports alongside concerts and other major events.
Matches: Sweden v South Korea (18th June), Argentina v Croatia (21st June), England v Panama (24th June), Switzerland v Costa Rica (27th June). The stadium will also host the Round of 16 match between the Group D winners and Group C runners-up as well as one quarter-final game.
Kaliningrad Stadium, Kaliningrad
Distance from Moscow: 770 miles
The replacement for Baltika stadium, Kaliningrad Stadium is based on Oktyabrsky Island in Kaliningrad, Russia. The stadium was purpose-built for the World Cup but once the tournament is finished, it will become the home of FC Baltika Kaliningrad of the Russian National Football League. The stadium design was based off that of The Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany. It has two tiers, seats around 35,000 people and has a state of the art security system. The stadium is based only 45 kilometres from the border with Poland, making it the closest stadium in the tournament to the European Union and Schengen Area. It will also be the host of England’s final group game against Belgium on the 28th June.
Matches: Croatia v Nigeria (16th June), Serbia v Switzerland (22nd June), Spain v Morocco (25th June), England v Belgium (28th June)
Kazan Arena, Kazan
Distance from Moscow: 454 miles
The Kazan Arena is, of course, the home ground of Rubin Kazan but it is also a multi-sport arena, being used by the Summer Universiade (an international university sports and cultural event) in 2013 before being turned over to the football club. The stadium’s designers were also responsible for the design of the new Wembley and Arsenal’s Emirates stadium and can host nearly 45,000 spectators. In 2015, it played host to some of the competitions at the World Aquatics Championships and saw the football pitch replaced by swimming pools!
Matches: France v Australia (16th June), Iran v Spain (20th June), Poland v Colombia (24th June), South Korea v Germany (27th June). The stadium will also host the last 16 fixture between the winner of Group C and the runners-up of Group D and the tournament’s second quarter-final.
Spartak Stadium, Moscow
Distance from Moscow: N/A
The Spartak Stadium is the permanent home ground of Spartak Moscow and it is the first time the historic club have ever had a permanent home rather than playing at numerous different grounds across Moscow. The stadium was built on a former airfield in 2014 and the first game ever played at the Spartak Stadium was a 1-1 draw with Red Star Belgrade. On the stadium’s exterior are hundreds of connected diamonds which are normally the red and white of Spartak Moscow but can be changed depending on the teams that are playing there.
Matches: Argentina v Iceland (16th June), Poland v Senegal (19th June), Belgium v Tunisia (23rd June) and Serbia v Brazil (27th June). The stadium will also host the last 16 fixture between the winners of Group H and the runners-up of Group G.
Fisht Stadium, Sochi
Distance from Moscow: 1,025 miles
The Fisht Stadium is in Sochi and is the most southerly stadium at this year’s World Cup. The stadium was originally built to be the centrepiece venue at the 2014 Winter Olympics which Sochi hosted and it is named after Mount Fisht which, according to FIFA’s website, is “a peak in the Caucasus range of mountains. In the local language, Adygeyan, ‘fisht’ means ‘white head’.” Two ends of the stadium are normally open to allow spectators to have a view of the Krasnaya Polyana mountains but FIFA has required them to be filled with temporary seating to raise the capacity of the stadium.
Matches: Portugal v Spain (15th June), Belgium v Panama (18th June), Germany v Sweden (23th June) and Australia v Peru (26th June). The stadium will also host the last 16 fixture between the winners of Group A and the runners-up of Group B and the third quarter-final.
Rostov Arena, Rostov-on-Don
Distance from Moscow: 670 miles
The Rostov Arena is another new stadium that will be used for the World Cup. The plans to build the stadium first emerged in 2013 but intact shells left over from World War II were found on the planned building site and as a result it has not been finished until just in time for the World Cup. Following the completion of the World Cup, FC Rostov, who recently faced Manchester United in 2017 Europa League Round of 16, will play their home fixtures there after reducing the capacity by over 20,000 to 25,000.
Matches: Brazil v Switzerland (17th June), Uruguay v Saudi Arabia (20th June), South Korea v Mexico (23rd June) and Iceland v Croatia (26th June). The stadium will also host the last 16 fixture between the winners of Group G and the runners-up of Group H
St Petersburg Stadium, St Petersburg, Russia
Distance from Moscow: 425 miles
Also known as Krestovsky Stadium and Zenit Arena, St Petersburg stadium is a retractable roof stadium based in the western portion of Krestovsky Island in St Petersburg. As one of it’s three names might suggest, it is the home of Zenit St Petersburg. The stadium was opened last Summer. However, it took over 8 years to fully construct the stadium. As well as being the home of Zenit, it was the host of the Confederations Cup 2017 final between Germany and Chile. That game set the current attendance record for the stadium of 57,268.
Matches: Morocco v Iran (15th June), Russia v Egypt (19th June), Brazil v Costa Rica (22nd June), Nigeria v Argentina (26th June). The stadium will also host the Round of 16 match between the Winner of Group F and the runners-up of group E. Finally, it will host one of the two semi-final matches and the third place play-off match.
Ekaterinburg Arena, Ekaterinburg
Distance from Moscow: 1,090
Opened: 1953 (Temporary stands and roof added for World Cup)
The Central Stadium, also known as The Ekaterinburg stadium, is based in Yekaterinburg, Russia. The stadium is most eastern stadium in use at the World Cup and is the only stadium based in what is known as ‘Asian Russia’. The stadium was built in 1957, but the territory it is built upon has been used for sporting events since 1900. From 1900 there was a Velodrome there, and from 1928 it was the base of the regional stadium. Nowadays, the stadium is very distinctive because of the large square stand that juts out the back of the oval stadium. That particular stand, along with the roof, are temporary additions to the stadium to make it more hospitable for the World Cup.
Matches: Egypt v Uruguay (15th June), France v Peru (21st June), Japan v Senegal (24th June), Mexico v Sweden (27th June).
Samara Arena, Samara
Distance from Moscow: 655 miles
Situated in the south east of the country at the confluence of the Samara and Volga rivers, the Samara Arena, also known as the Cosmos Arena, is yet another purpose built stadium. It was built with a dome shaped roof, metallic panels and the ability to light up of an evening, it was designed to reflect the regions renowned aerospace sector. Once the World Cup is finished, the stadium will be used as the home for local side FC Krylia Sovetov Samara of the Russian Football National League.
Matches: Costa Rica v Serbia (17th June), Denmark v Australia (21st June), Uruguay v Russia (25th June), Senegal v Colombia (28th June). The stadium will also host the Round of 16 match between the winner of group E and the runners-up of group F as well as one quarter-final.
Mordovia Arena, Saransk
Distance from Moscow: 400 miles
Mordovia Arena is based in Saransk, Mordovia, Russia and is the new home of FC Mordovia Saransk of the Russian Professional football league. Once again, it is another stadium that was built specifically for the World Cup but as previously stated, will have a use once the tournament has concluded. As you can see above, the stadium will have a capacity of 44,442 during the tournament, but this is to be reduced to 28,000 once the World Cup is finished. The plan is to turn the top tier into a walking concourse for fans.
Matches: Peru v Denmark (16th June), Colombia v Japan (19th June), Iran v Portugal (25th June), Panama v Tunisia (28th June).
Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow
Distance from Moscow: N/A
Opened: 1956 (redeveloped for the World Cup in 2018)
The Luzhniki Stadium is the largest stadium in Russia, and is among the largest in Europe. It is the national stadium of Russia and will host the opening game of the tournament today, as well as the final in four weeks time. Manchester United and Chelsea fans will remember this stadium as it was the host of their hotly contested Champions League final in 2008. In the game, we saw Manchester United win on penalties after John Terry slipped when taking the final penalty.
Also built in 1950s, the stadium was constructed in less than 450 days and was originally called the Central Lenin Stadium. It has hosted many sporting events over the decades, and a few of our older readers might remember Alan Wells winning a 100m Gold Medal for Great Britain here at the 1980 Olympic Games.
Matches: Russia v Saudi Arabia (14th June), Germany v Mexico (17th June), Portugal v Morocco (20th June), Denmark v France (26th June). The stadium will host the Round of 16 match between the Group B winners and the Group A runners-up as well as one semi-final and the final of the tournament.