FIFA World Cup 2018 : The spectacular stadiums that will welcome fans in Russia

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Kaliningrad Stadium

 

City: Kaliningrad      

Capacity: 35,000

Russia’s western exclave of Kaliningrad lies between Poland and Lithuania on the Baltic coast. Formerly known as Konigsberg, the city changed hands from Germany after World War Two. Kaliningrad Stadium stands on Oktyabrsky Island near the center of the city, and will be at the heart of a major development of the area once the World Cup has ended. The exterior design appears basic during the day, but the stadium façade is illuminated at night to provide a stunning spectacle.

The venue is the new home of Russian second-tier club FK Baltika Kaliningrad, and held its first test game on April 11, when the team faced Krylia Sovetov.

The original plan was for the stadium to hold 45,000 – in line with FIFA minimum requirements – but that was reduced to 35,000 after design changes and FIFA made an exception. After the World Cup, the capacity will be further reduced to around 25,000. 

It will host four group-stage games at the World Cup, including the eagerly-awaited England-Belgium clash on June 28.  

Games: Croatia v Nigeria, June 16; Serbia v Switzerland, June 22; Spain v Morocco, June 25; England v Belgium, June 28.

Volgograd Arena

City: Volgograd

Capacity: 45,000

The hand of history rest heavy in Volgograd, which was formerly known as Stalingrad and was the scene of one of the most decisive – and brutal – battles of the Second World War. That history is evident in the location of the Volgograd Arena, which stands at the foot of the Mamayev Kurgan war memorial, which includes the giant ‘Motherland Calling’ statue.

It was built on the site of the former central stadium and the façade has a lattice design reminiscent of the Bird’s Nest Olympic stadium in Beijing.

It will be home to Russian lower-league team FC Rotor after the World Cup. It hosted its first test match on April 21, when Rotor met Luch-Energiya of Vladivostok.

It will be the venue for the Russian cup final on May 9, Victory Day, and will host four group-stage games at the World Cup. After the tournament, the capacity will be reduced to around 35,000.

Games: Tunisia v England, June 18; Nigeria v Iceland, June 22; Saudi Arabia v Egypt, June 25; Japan v Poland, June 28.

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