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

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Samara Arena

 

City: Samara

Capacity: 45,000

The most problem-hit of all Russia’s World Cup stadiums, construction in Samara has seen beset by delays which have meant the pitch was only recently laid. The arena will finally hold its first test match only on April 28, when new tenants Krylia Sovetov take on Fakel in the Russian second tier.

The stadium design is, however, spectacular, and incorporates the theme of space in honor of the region’s role a key Russian aerospace center. The dome-shaped design extends 65 meters up, and is illuminated at night to provide spectacular show.

Samara itself is a lively city of 1.1 million, and stands at the confluence of the Samara and Volga rivers. Its riverside promenades will be a particular draw for visiting football fans.

Samara Arena will host six World Cup games, including Russia against Uruguay in the group stage, and one quarter-final. 

Games: Costa Rica v Serbia, June 17; Denmark v Australia, June 21; Uruguay v Russia, June 25; Senegal v Colombia, June 28; Round of 16, July 2; Quarter-final, July 7.

Mordovia Arena

City: Saransk

Capacity: 44,000

Of all of Russia’s World Cup host cities, perhaps the least is known about Saransk, even among Russians themselves. The city has a population of just 300,000, and is the capital of the Mordovia Region – after which the new stadium is named.

The stadium’s exterior is a fiery mix of orange, red and white, in keeping with “the distinctive color palette of Mordovia’s arts and crafts,” according to the FIFA website.

After the World Cup it will be home to lower league local club Mordovia, and the capacity will be reduced to a more realistic 25,000 given the size of the new inhabitants.

The arena stands on the banks of the Insar river, and city authorities have described the new venue as “a new center of gravity” for the city.

It held its first test match on April 21, and will host four group stage games at the World Cup. 

Games: Peru v Denmark, June 16; Colombia v Japan, June 19; Iran v Portugal, June 25; Panama v Tunisia, June 28.

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