Mad dash to wire ends, stadiums open for the 2018 FIFA World Cup
From Moscow’s grand Luzhniki Stadium, which also hosted the 1980 Summer Olympics, to the worrisomely late Samara Arena, here is a look at where the football matches will be played during the 2018 FIFA World Cup
Although some pushed it down to the wire, all 12 stadiums have been completed in time for the 14 June to 15 July World Cup in Russia.
From Moscow’s grand Luzhniki Stadium, which also hosted the 1980 Summer Olympics, to the worrisomely late Samara Arena, here is a look at where the football games will be played.
Opening: 1956 (renovated 2017)
Estimated cost: $385 million
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.
Opening: 2014 (renovated 2017)
Estimated cost: $380 million + $65 million for renovation
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 not far from Putin’s vacation home on the Black Sea and surrounded by snow-capped mountains, Fisht Stadium is Russia’s most scenic football venue.
Estimated cost: $260 million
Matches: 18 June - Tunisia vs England; 22 June - Nigeria vs Iceland; 25 June - Saudi Arabia vs Egypt; 28 June - Japan vs Poland
Reminiscent of the “Bird’s Nest” stadium that hosted the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, Volgograd Arena was built on the site of the Battle of Stalingrad. The stadium is now the focal point of a major city renovation project.
Nizhny Novgorod Stadium
Estimated cost: $275 million
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
With elegant, wave-like stands resembling those of Marseille’s Stade Velodrome, the Volga River stadium will be home to a brand-new local team after the World Cup.
Estimated cost: $320 million
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 southern Russia city is just 60km from east Ukraine where a four-year conflict has killed more than 10,000 people. Russia is taking extensive security measures to make sure the fans are safe.
Estimated cost: $230 million
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
Built for the 2013 University Games, Kazan Arena has grand ambitions, with Russian authorities thinking of proposing it as a future Summer Olympics venue.
Estimated cost: $305 million
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 made headlines when Fifa noticed a few months ago that it still had no pitch. The grass was finally delivered from Germany in April, and the stadium is ready for action.
Saint Petersburg Stadium
Estimated cost: $700-775 million
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
Under construction for more than a decade, Russia’s most high-tech arena, with a retractable roof and pitch cost about thrice more than planned.
Estimated cost: $265 million
Matches: 16 June - Peru vs Denmark; 19 June - Colombia vs Japan; 25 June - Iran vs Portugal; 28 June - Panama vs Tunisia
Saransk had a miniature airport and no modern hotels until the World Cup, with the region best known for being a wilderness where Russia put most of its female penal colonies. The city now has a brand-new arena.
Estimated 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
Russia’s most popular team, Spartak Moscow had no place to call home until the red and white arena opened to great fanfare four years ago. Spartak fans also think their stadium has the best atmosphere.
Opening: 1957 (renovated 2018)
Estimated cost: $210 million
Matches: 15 June - Egypt vs Uruguay; 21 June - France vs Peru; 24 June - Japan vs Senegal; 27 June - Mexico vs Sweden
Fans had a good laugh at Yekaterinburg’s expense for building an arena with two vertiginous stands entirely outside the arena. The stands will only seat Russians and be dismantled after the tournament.
Estimated cost: $280 million
Matches: 16 June - Croatia vs Nigeria; 22 June - Serbia vs Switzerland, 25 June - Spain vs Morocco; 28 June - England vs Belgium
The stadium’s construction got off to a shaky start because organizers decided to build it on a swamp. But once the edifice stopped sinking, workers managed to make up for lost time and it opened in April.
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